Playoffs Week 1: Scouting the Mid-Suburban West
CLASS 8A#31 Glenbrook South (5-4) at #2 Barrington (9-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Previous result: Barrington 45, Glenbrook South 24
Outlook: This is a rematch of a Week 4 contest in which the Broncos rolled past the Titans. Barrington is playing solid football headed into the playoffs. The Broncos qualified to the postseason for the fifth consecutive year and the seventh time in the last eight years. Barrington has been nearly impossible to stop thanks to the play of quarterback Ray "Nitro" Niro, who has rushed for 25 touchdowns. Niro, who was injured in last year's playoffs, has the Broncos averaging 40 points after the regular season. Michael Curran, Johnny Gagne and Alec Andrea have also been threats for the high-powered Broncos. Glenbrook South has lost its last three games. The Titans have also defeated just one team this season with a record better than .500.
#23 Palatine (6-3) vs. #10 South Elgin (8-1) at Millennium Field, StreamwoodWhen: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Previous result: 1st meeting
Outlook: Palatine is playing its best football at just the right time. The Pirates are firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively. DJ Angelaccio is coming off another great effort where he threw for 232 yards while rushing for 4 touchdowns. Johnny O'Shea, Jack Orlando and Marcus Stoudemire have been factors in the offense as well. But it has been the Palatine defense that has really come on in the past few weeks, thanks to the return of NIU-bound Cortez Hogans. Jake Moertl, O'Shea, Bryant Smith and Josh Danielson have been getting after their opponents all year. They will look to slow down elusive South Elgin quarterback Nate Gomez. The Storm is back in the playoffs after a one-year absence.
Upstate Eight Valley champion South Elgin draws a tough first-round opponent. Palatine advanced to a Class 8A semifinal last season before losing 28-14 to eventual champion Maine South. The Pirates' 3 setbacks this season were against three of the state's top 8A programs. They lost the season opener 14-7 to Stevenson (6-3), dropped a 17-14 decision to Maine South (8-1) and lost 26-24 to undefeated Barrington. These teams run similar offenses. Both like to spread the field, run from power formations and utilize counters. Palatine senior quarterback Angelaccio has completed 108 of 176 passes for 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. His big-play receiver is the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior O'Shea. His 43 catches translate to 561 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. Angelaccio is also Palatine's leader in carries (78), rushing yards (359) and rushing touchdowns (8), followed by seniors Stoudemire (52-329-3), Moertl (59-322-7) and Jack Orlando (51-308-1). South Elgin counters with a defense that limits opponents to 13.4 ppg, led by linebackers senior Kyle Viverito and Colt Doherty and senior nose guard Dalton Doherty (6-0, 202). Viverito returned an interception for a touchdown last week against East Aurora. Palatine's defense holds teams to 15 ppg. "They have a very aggressive defense," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "Their defensive coaches have done a great job to this point of finding ways to play quarters coverage and they really stay true to that. They have a lot of length. In some ways they remind us of Batavia in how aggressive their safeties are and how aggressive they are up front. But we feel like we've put in the time to this point to prepare our kids properly so we understand what they are trying to do with their scheme."
Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 26 Edwardsville (6-3) at No. 7 Huntley (8-1).
#30 Schaumburg (5-4) at #3 Lake Zurich (9-0)When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Previous meeting: 1st meeting
Outlook: The Saxons are back in the playoffs. They also welcomed back Deontae Arnold from an injury he suffered earlier this season. Arnold, who played quarterback, has moved to wide receiver, where he caught 7 passes, including one for a touchdown. That has opened up the Saxons offense for Jordan Salgado, who is coming off his best game of the season (he gained 138 yards) and Heze Trotter, who has been a huge weapon all year. Schaumburg, which is scoring about 24 points per game, will need all the offense it can garner against a Lake Zurich team that has allowed under 9 points per game. Lake Zurich has qualified for the playoffs for the second year in a row and is the top-ranked Class 7A team in the state.
Lake Zurich ripped through its schedule with an average margin of victory of 25.3 points per game. The Bears averaged 34.1 points per game and their traditionally tough defense yielded only 8.8 points per game. Lake Zurich gave up double-digits points to only three opponents this season while pitching 3 shutouts ... Against Mundelein last week, running back Joey Stutzman rushed for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries. He also hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Lewandowski, who completed 12-of-16 passes for 292 yards. Stutzman caught 4 passes for 86 yards. Matthijs Enters caught 3 passes for 79 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass ... Schaumburg needed to win its regular season finale in order to have a chance to qualify for the playoffs on points with five wins. The Saxons, who won two of their final three games, did just that with last week's win over Fremd. ... Schaumburg averaged 23.8 points per game and allowed 24.6 points per game this season.
Winner gets: Winner of No. 19 Andrew (6-3) at No. 14 Plainfield North (7-2).
CLASS 6A#10 De La Salle (6-3) at #7 Hoffman Estates (7-2)When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Previous meeting: 1st meeting
Outlook: The sky could be the limit for the highflying Hawks -- and that may be helpful as they try to dodge the Meteors. Hoffman Estates has played a schedule that had just two 6A teams on it. And the Hawks responded with their best record since 1993. Their reward is the first home playoff game since that year. Hoffman Estates is led by quarterback Austin Coalson and Purdue-bound Jaylan Alexander along with Jayvon Blisset and Will Nunne. That quartet is the backbone of an offense that has averaged 32 points against 6A and 7A opponents. Hoffman Estates is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs if it can get by De La Salle. Playing in the Chicago Catholic League, the Meteors have played a similar schedule to Hoffman. Included in De La Salle's 6 wins this season is one against perennial state power Mt. Carmel.