Week 2 playoffs, West Suburban: Playoff powers meet in Glen Ellyn
No. 16 Mt. Carmel (8-2) at No. 1 Glenbard West (10-0)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Glenbard West beat No. 32 Moline 49-10; Mt. Carmel beat No. 17 Glenbard North 42-15.
Outlook: Football fans -- especially historians -- are in for a treat with this one. In 58 combined playoff appearances dating back to Mt. Carmel's first trip in 1980, this is the first time the perennials powers have met. It's a shame it's only the second round, but here we are. The Caravan rolled up 300 rushing yards last week with A.J. Lewis and Mike Kennedy both running for more than 100 yards. Out of the option the Caravan have run for twice as many yards as they've passed. Great news for the Hilltoppers' defense is the return from injury of safety Danny Riley. A critical part of defending the run, Riley and speedy linebackers Nico Gagliano and Ross Andreasik will be tasked with slowing down the Caravan. The Hilltoppers also lean on the ground game with Vanderbilt-bound Sam Brodner, who last week broke a Class 7A playoff record with 6 touchdowns, and Isaiah Skinner. But they'll flash offensive diversity with quarterback Brian Cochrane and receiver Chrystian Maciorowski.
Advancement: The winner advances to a Class 7A quarterfinal game against the winner between No. 8 Reavis (9-1) and No. 9 Rockford Auburn (9-1).
No. 13 Palatine (8-2) at No. 4 Oak Park (9-1)
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Previous playoff meeting: None
Outlook: For the second year in a row, Palatine meets a team that has beaten crosstown rival Fremd. Last year, Palatine played Glenbard West and lost in the second round. This year the Pirates looked to turn the tables against an Oak Park team that beat Fremd 26-17 in Week 1 of the postseason. Palatine needed everything it had to get to this point after prevailing over Sandburg 20-19 in a thrilling overtime victory. Palatine's defense was as flexible as a rubber band, allowing Sandburg to control the ball on the ground. But that same Pirates defense, led by Elvin Lama Sosa, who had the key tackle in overtime, along with Mike Williams, Dillon McHugh, Dylan Tapia, Ethan Senner, Brody Muck, Anthony Portera, Jake Garcia, Majetete Balanganayi, Ethan Lloyd and Ben Riddle, snapped back into place when the Pirates needed it most. "It was a great game and it was fun," Palatine coach Rick Splitt said. "We had to respond and we did. I though we matched them well. We contained their running back and although their quarterback gained some yerads, we made big plays when we had to." Big plays are exactly what Oak Park did in its win over Fremd. The Huskies relied on running back Jamarri Watson and tight end Eddie Gorens to combine for 5 plays with gains over 30 yards. "They are very talented," Splitt said. "They have a couple of kids who can really hurt you. Our focus will be just like last week and that is not to give up big plays." The Pirates are still a bit banged up on the offensive side of the ball. Jovone Stricker is nursing an ankle injury while running back Nick Sabado is sidelined. But quarterback Zach Oles is still very healthy. Sandburg keyed on Oles to limit his running ability last week, but the junior still was able to connect with Josh Turner on a long screen pass for a touchdown and found his favorite receiver, Matt Lamm, for a touchdown in overtime. "Offensively, we are going to keep doing the things we have been doing all year," Splitt said. "We run and pass the ball very well." Splitt said his team is eager to play at Oak Park. "It should be a nice day. The kids are excited about going down there to play football in that old stadium of theirs." Should Palatine advance, it would play the winner of South Elgin and Brother Rice.
No. 5 Oak Forest (9-1) at No. 13 Hinsdale South (7-3)
Game time: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Oak Forest 51, No. 12 Quincy 14; Hinsdale South 34, No. 4 Thornton 23.
Outlook: With a second straight berth in the quarterfinals on the line, the Hornets face an Oak Forest team that beat them 29-0 in the opening round three years ago. The Bengals' "Navy style" offense will look familiar with a run-dominant unit leaning on quarterback Zach Russell, who last week rushed for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns before leaving in the first half with an injury, and running back Jaron Johnson. The Bengals also turn to do-it-all athlete Nick Czeszewski, who contributes in the secondary and on special teams. Hinsdale South's defense starts up front with Michigan State recruit Josh King, but the Hornets will use every level of their defense to stop the run with standouts like safety Robert Hall. Hinsdale South's offense thrives on balance but running back Marcus Curry carried the load in last week's win by rushing for 223 yards and 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Sean McCormack looks to build on the multiple program passing records he's broken this season.
Advancement: The winner advances to a Class 6A quarterfinal game against the winner between No. 1 Lincoln-Way North (10-0) and No. 9 Richards (7-3).