Undefeated Batavia, Cary-Grove highlight Fox Valley playoff field
The Illinois High School Association revealed pairings for 256 playoff football teams in eight classes on Saturday.
Here's a look at the first-round matchups involving the 12 Fox Valley area teams included in the field.
No. 18 Glenbard West (7-2) vs. No. 15 Bartlett (7-2)
A magical season continues for Bartlett. In a year when the school unveiled a new, on-campus stadium, the football program returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, directed by new coach Matt Erlenbaugh.
Glenbard West finished in a three-way tie for first place in the West suburban Silver with Hinsdale Central and Oak Park-River Forest.
The winner of this game faces a second-round date against either St. Charles East or defending Class 8A champion Lincoln-Way East.
No. 26 South Elgin (6-3) at No. 7 West Aurora (8-1)
Scouting won't be an issue for these Upstate Eight Conference rivals. West Aurora defeated South Elgin 48-10 in the regular-season finale in Aurora on Friday.
Coach Nate Eimer's Blackhawks extend a school record for consecutive playoff appearances to four. The Storm make the fifth playoff appearance in the program's 13-year history, their second straight and first under new coach Dragan Teonic.
No. 27 Huntley (6-3) at No. 6 Maine South (8-1)
Huntley is playoff bound for a fifth straight year on the heels of Friday's 55-12 clinching victory over Dundee-Crown. The Red Raiders rebounded from consecutive midseason losses to Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake South to win 3 of their last 4 games.
Huntley draws a road game against traditional state power Maine South, which entered Week 9 ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 8A poll. The Hawks' only loss was a 26-23 setback against Barrington on Sept. 7. Otherwise, they defeated playoff teams Glenbard West, Mt. Carmel, Conant, Evanston and New Trier.
No. 31 St. Charles East (5-4) at No. 2 Lincoln-Way East (9-0)
It's a playoff rematch. The Saints and Griffins slugged it out in the mud in a second-round game last fall before eventual Class 8A state champion Lincoln-Way East prevailed 15-14. It was the final game played on natural grass at Norris Stadium.
Fourth-year coach Bryce Farquhar and staff have the Saints in the playoffs for a third straight year, the longest streak since the program made five straight appearances between 2005-2009.
No. 29 Granite City (5-4) at No. 4 Batavia (9-0)
Defending Class 7A champion Batavia draws the fourth seed in a statewide bracket seeded 1-32 behind No. 1 Simeon, No. 2 Glenbard East and No. 3 Hononegah.
If seeds hold, the DuKane Conference champion Bulldogs would face No. 13 Moline in the second round, No. 5 Willowbrook in a quarterfinal and Simeon in a semifinal.
No. 22 St. Charles North (6-3) at No. 11 Normal Community (8-1)
Gas up the bus. The North Stars travel 115 miles to face a perennial playoff team. The Ironmen have reached the postseason for the 23rd straight season and make their 33rd playoff appearance overall. Normal's only stumble was a 36-35 home loss to Neuqua Valley on Sept. 14.
The North Stars make their fifth straight playoff appearance under sixth-year coach Rob Pomazak. Their 3 losses came by a combined total of 15 points against playoff teams Bolingbrook (7-2), Batavia (9-0) and Wheaton Warrenville South (8-1).
The winner draws a second-round matchup against No. 27 Alton (5-4) or Mid-Suburban League East champion Rolling Meadows (9-0).
No. 16 Wauconda (5-4) at No. 1 Cary-Grove (9-0)
Fox Valley Conference champion Cary-Grove gains the top seed in the north bracket of Class 6A as expected. The Trojans have won a first-round playoff game every year since 2004.
If seeds hold, Cary-Grove would face No. 8 Kaneland in the second round. A quarterfinal date could await against either defending Class 5A champion Phillips or defending Class 6A champion Prairie Ridge.
No. 9 Von Steuben (6-3) at No. 8 Kaneland (6-3)
Kaneland is bumped up to Class 6A for the second time in four years. The Knights competed in Class 5A last year.
The Northern Illinois Big 12 East tri-champions entered the final weekend of the regular season ranked 10th in the Class 5A poll. Their likely second-round opponent would be top seed Cary-Grove, the top-ranked team in Class 6A.
Von Steuben makes the first playoff appearance in school history. The Panthers qualified in unique fashion on Friday when Chicago Public League opponent Chicago Urban Prep/West forfeited.
No. 14 Crystal Lake South (5-4) at No. 3 Chicago Kenwood (8-1)
Each team returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Gators make their 20th playoff appearance. The postseason berth is the third for the Panthers.
CL South is a dangerous team. Three of the Gators' four losses came against playoff teams with a combined 24-3 record. They defeated 8A playoff qualifier Huntley 48-7. On Friday they dropped a 28-21 decision to two-time defending Class 6A champion Prairie Ridge.
Kenwood opened the season with a 20-9 victory over Fenwick (3-6) on Aug. 24. The Broncos thumped their opponents by a 42-9 average score. The winner advances to face the winner between No. 6 Notre Dame (9-0) and No. 11 St. Ignatius (6-3).
No. 13 St. Edward (5-4) at No. 4 Chicago Urban Prep/Bronzeville (8-1)
Led by five seniors on the roster, the young Green Wave return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 as Metro Suburban Red outright champs.
UP/Bronzeville makes its second straight playoff appearance and third overall. The Lions' only loss came against Aurora Christian (34-14) on Aug. 31.
UP/Bronzeville won its division of the Chicago Public League for the second straight season. The Lions were 7-0 in division play last year, but they lost a first-round playoff game to visiting Richmond-Burton 21-6.
No. 9 Aurora Christian (6-3) at No. 8 Annawan-Wethersfield Coop (6-3)
The Eagles are in the playoffs for the second straight season and 15th time overall. They compete in Class 1A for the first time since 2005. Aurora Christian's path to Champaign goes through the Lincoln Trail Conference. First-round opponent Annawan-Wethersfield finished second in that league.
If the Eagles advance to the second round, they would likely host top bracket seed Princeville, the unbeaten LTC regular-season champion.