Playoffs Week 1: Scouting the Northern Lake
CLASS 5ANo. 14 Marian Central Hurricanes (5-4) at No. 3 Antioch Sequoits (9-0)When: 7 p.m., Friday
Last week: Marian Central def. St. Patrick, 44-21; Antioch def. Grayslake North, 14-7.
Playoff history: Marian Central is making its 27th playoff appearance and its ninth straight. The Hurricanes have won four state championships (1983, 1986, 1987, 1989) and have placed second twice (1985, 2006). Last year, the Hurricanes lost in the Class 5A quarterfinals to Vernon Hills, 17-0. Antioch is making its 18th playoff appearance and its fourth in five years. Last year, the Sequoits lost in the Class 6A second round to DeKalb, 36-3.
Skinny: This might not be your typical 5-4 vs. 9-0 game. Antioch coach Brian Glashagel is expecting a Marian Central team that is much better than its 5-4 record. That's because the Hurricanes lost four straight games while their starting quarterback (Gavin Scott) and their best running back (Brian Niemaszek) were out with knee injuries. But both are back now, and they helped Marian Central defeat a Notre Dame team in Week 8 that was ranked in Class 8A at the time, as well as St. Patrick last week by 23 points ... Antioch, which won the Northern Lake County Conference for the second straight year after posting its second straight undefeated season, has had three straight close games. The Sequoits defeated Lakes 34-31 in Week 7, defeated North Chicago 21-20 in Week 8 and defeated Grayslake North 14-7 in Week 9. Against Grayslake North, running back Hunter Price had a big game with 131 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. The Sequoits were plagued by 10 penalties, but the defense was tough, limiting Grayslake North to just 6 first downs and 84 total yards. Antioch had the stingiest defense in the Northern Lake County Conference this season, allowing 12.3 points per game.
Winner gets: Winner of No. 11 Glenbard South (5-4) vs. No. 6 Chicago Payton (8-1).
No. 12 Chicago Westinghouse Warriors (5-4) at No. 5 Lakes Eagles (8-1)When: 5 p.m., Saturday
Last week: Westinghouse lost to Chicago Hubbard, 30-12; Lakes def. North Chicago, 33-19.
Playoff history: Westinghouse is making its seventh playoff appearance and its third in four year. Last year, Westinghouse lost in the Class 5A first round to Sterling, 45-6. Lakes is making its tenth playoff appearance and its ninth straight. Last year, Lakes lost in the Class 6A first round to Grayslake North, 42-28.
Skinny: Westinghouse hasn't been playing well lately, losing its last two games and three of its last four. Over those three losses, Westinghouse averaged only 6 points per game. And Chicago Raby shut out Westinghouse in Week 8, 40-0. The end of the season was much different for Westinghouse than the beginning. The Warriors started out the season winning three straight games and four of their first five. Westinghouse, a member of the Chicago Public League Illini Land of Lincoln, averaged just 18.2 points per game this season while allowing 20 points per game on defense ... Lakes, meanwhile, has been very good at putting points on the board this season. The Eagles led the Northern Lake County Conference in scoring with 34.2 points per game. They have allowed 14 points per game, third-fewest in the conference ... Lakes opened the season with 6 straight wins before losing to rival Antioch in Week 7 (34-31). Last week against North Chicago, Lakes was led by running back Ethan Greenfield, who rolled up 162 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries.
Winner gets: Winner of No. 13 Woodstock North (5-4) at No. 4 Lemont (8-1).
CLASS 6ANo. 11 Grayslake North Knights (6-3) vs. No. 6 Chicago Mather Rangers (7-2)Location: Chicago Lane Stadium
When: noon, Saturday
Last week: Grayslake North lost to Antioch, 14-7; Chicago Mather lost to Chicago Lincoln Park, 31-8.
Playoff history: Grayslake North is making its sixth playoff appearance and also its sixth straight. Last year, the Knights lost in the Class 6A second round to Cary-Grove, 56-7. Chicago Mather is making its 16th playoff appearance and its first since 2009. In 2009, Mather lost in the Class 6A first round to Highland Park, 39-7.
Skinny: After a hard-fought 8-7 loss to Westinghouse in Week 2, Chicago Mather went on a nice run and won six straight games. The Rangers had six other games (7 total on the season) in which their opponent was held to single-digit points. They boasted the second-stingiest defense in the Chicago Public League Big Shoulders with 9.7 points per game. Meanwhile, Mather, which finished in second place in its conference, averaged 27.7 points per game ... Grayslake North, had won five games in a row before losing its season finale last week to Antioch, 14-7. The Knights are averaging 21.7 points per game and are allowing 18.2 points per game. Against Antioch, offense was a problem for the Knights, who managed just 6 first downs and 84 total yards. The Sequoits also picked off two Grayslake North passes. Speaking of interceptions, Grayslake North scored its only points last week off a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown by junior linebacker Zach Carter.
Winner gets: Winner of No. 14 Belvidere North (5-4) at No. 3 Rockford Auburn (8-1).