Class 8A quarterfinal: Scouting Naperville Central at Maine South
No. 13 Naperville Central (9-2) at No. 5 Maine South (10-1)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Naperville Central 31, No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor 28; Maine South 47, No. 21 Warren 13.
Outlook: In their 63rd combined playoff appearance these state powers finally meet for the first time. Naperville Central survived last week's test, but defending Class 8A champion Maine South presents a much more diverse offense. It starts with running back Fotis Kokosioulis, a Northern Illinois recruit who's rushed for 1,500 yards and 22 touchdowns, and quarterback John O'Sullivan, who's thrown for 1,900 yards. With Redhawks defensive back Braden Lindmark out last week due to injury, receiver Jayden Reed played both ways and came up with a pick six. Expect to see him on defense again, and expect to see lineman Lavar Archibald putting pressure on O'Sullivan. Naperville Central's offense continues to thrive despite the continued injury absence of receiver Tommy Coyne. Quarterback Payton Thorne and Reed have combined for 55 catches, 1,113 yards and 12 touchdowns. The best strategy to contain Maine South's offense is to keep it off the field with sustained drives behind Redhawks running back A.J. Deinhart.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 8A semifinals against the winner between No. 1 Lincoln-Way East and No. 9 Oswego.