Scouting DuPage County playoff pairings
Times and days of first-round games to be announced at 3 p.m. Monday at ihsa.org and football.dailyherald.com.
No. 13 Hinsdale Central (5-4) at No. 4 Oswego (7-2)
The skinny: Hinsdale Central has been beset by injuries, but it did well enough in the tough West Suburban Silver to make the playoffs. That perseverance will help.
Intangibles: The Red Devils played five playoff teams this season.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 12 Naperville North or No. 5 Waubonsie Valley
No. 12 Naperville North (5-4) at No. 5 Waubonsie Valley (7-2)
The skinny: The Huskies are the playoff survivor that took the brunt of the tough DuPage Valley Conference schedule, placing fifth. Will that help them or are they just happy to be here? Waubonsie Valley also is well-tested, owning a decisive Week 2 win over Oswego.
Intangibles: Waubonsie Valley's only two losses are to the other Naperville teams, playoff teams Naperville Central and Neuqua Valley.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 13 Hinsdale Central or No. 4 Oswego
No. 10 Downers Grove South (6-3) at No. 7 Naperville Central (6-3)
The skinny: Naperville Central bounced back from a three-game losing streak with a solid victory over rival Naperville North on Friday. Downers South is on a three-game win streak and went undefeated through the West Suburban Gold.
Intangibles: Injuries have worn at the Redhawks' depth and could be a factor in Week 10.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 15 Sandburg or No. 2 Homewood-Flossmoor
No. 14 O'Fallon (5-4) at No. 3 Neuqua Valley (8-1)
The skinny: Surely the legend of Mikey Dudek has reached downstate O'Fallon, but Neuqua has other offensive talent also for O'Fallon to worry about. O'Fallon is averaging more than 27 points a game offensively.
Intangibles: O'Fallon, located near St. Louis, faces a long road trip to reach Naperville.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 11 Lyons Twp. or No. 6 Simeon
No. 14 New Trier (5-4) at No. 3 Glenbard North (8-1)
The skinny: Knowing how to defend Glenbard North is simple. Actually doing so is not, as long as the Panthers have running back Justin Jackson making 300-yard games look routine.
Intangibles: The Glenbard North defense is allowing just more than 18 points a game.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 11 St. Charles East or No. 6 Stevenson
No. 8 Downers Grove North (5-4) at No. 1 Whitney Young (9-0)
The skinny: The vaunted Trojans running game will try to grind out a victory. Whitney Young is a typical city team, trying to use its speed to burn Downers Grove North.
Intangibles: Whitney Young allowed just 18 points this season. The Dolphins scored 343.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 5 WW South or No. 4 Dunbar.
No. 5 WW South (7-2) at No. 4 Dunbar (8-1)
The skinny: After a one-year hiatus the Tigers are back in the playoffs headed to play a Chicago Public League power. The Tigers have played six playoff teams, Dunbar just three.
Intangibles: The Tigers rested tailbacks Zach Moberg and Isaiah Campos on Friday night to prepare for the playoffs.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 8 Downers Grove North or No. 1 Whitney Young.
No. 12 Glenbrook North (6-3) at No. 5 Wheaton North (7-2)
The skinny: With Northwestern-bound quarterback Clayton Thorson running the show, Wheaton North has the type of player who can carry a battle-tested DuPage Valley team to a deep playoff run. Central Suburban League North champion Glenbrook North has a new life after qualifying Friday night with a crazy win over Highland Park.
Intangibles: Glenbrook North's made it out of the first round just once in its last five appearances.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 13 Hersey or No. 4 Fenwick
No. 14 Harlem (6-3) at No. 3 Glenbard West (8-1)
The skinny: Glenbard West is known as a running team, but quarterback Drew Vogg and the passing game don't get enough credit. Harlem will get a taste of that by the shores of Lake Ellyn on Saturday afternoon. The Hilltoppers defense has been downright stingy. So has Harlem's, which allowed just 4.4 points a game this year.
Intangibles: The defending Class 7A champion has experience and a hunger for more titles.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 11 Conant or No. 6 Jacobs
No. 7 Benet (6-3) at No. 2 Mt. Carmel (8-1)
The skinny: It's hard to imagine a tougher matchup for a struggling Benet team. Mt. Carmel has outscored opponents 328-68 this season and has a long history of state championships. Benet lost its last three games of the season, with turnovers a big problem.
Intangibles: Benet reached the Class 7A semifinals last year.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 6 Willowbrook or No. 3 St. Rita
No. 6 Willowbrook (7-2) at No. 3 St. Rita (8-1)
The skinny: Willowbrook caught no breaks being paired with this Chicago Catholic League power. The Warriors will have to play their best to get a victory. St. Rita already has two state championship trophies.
Intangibles: Much has been made of the Willowbrook passing attack, which has helped the Warriors average 37.1 points a game.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 7 Benet or No. 2 Mt. Carmel
No. 12 Fenton (6-3) at No. 5 Marmion (7-2)
The skinny: Marmion will have to keep an eye on Alex Cowan, who does a little bit of everything for the Bison. He occasionally takes over for QB Willie Wassmann to run the Wildcat offensively. Marmion is well-tested, however, having played in the Suburban Christian Blue.
Intangibles: Fenton will try to improve on its 2-11 all-time playoff record.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 13 Prairie Ridge or No. 4 Lakes
No. 16 Morgan Park (5-4) at No. 1 Montini (9-0)
The skinny: Morgan Park is one of the top programs in the Chicago Public League despite this season's low seed. Look for Montini to try to overpower the Mustangs. The Broncos' defense allows 10.1 points a game, pacing their first unbeaten regular season since 2008.
Intangibles: Montini has won four consecutive state championships in Class 5A plus the 2004 4A title.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 9 Marian Central or No. 8 Bremen.
No. 14 St. Francis (5-4) at No. 3 Glenbard South (9-0)
The skinny: The St. Francis offense seems to have hit its stride lately, putting up more than 50 points in each of its last two games, doing well through the air despite running a double wing. Glenbard South hasn't allowed more than 22 points in a game, and it has plenty of offensive talent also in QB Alex Jeske, RB Zach Smith and Co.
Intangibles: While Glenbard South was enjoying its first undefeated regular season, St. Francis endured a four-game losing streak in the middle of its season.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 11 UP/Bronzeville or No. 6 Lincoln-Way West.
No. 10 Aurora Christian (6-3) at No. 7 IC Catholic Prep (6-3)
The skinny: Both schools are accustomed to winning. ICCP won the Suburban Christian Gold and won Class 2A in 2008. Aurora Christian was fourth in the Suburban Christian Blue and is the two-time defending state champion in Class 3A.
Intangibles: ICCP defeated Aurora Christian 48-6 in Week 7, but the injury-plagued Eagles expect to be healthier for the rematch.
Looking ahead: Winner plays either No. 15 Oregon or No. 2 Wilmington.
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