Scouting second round playoff games in Lake County
No. 9 Hinsdale Central Red Devils (8-2) at No. 8 Warren Blue Devils (9-1)When: 7 p.m., Saturday
Last week: Hinsdale Central defeated Conant, 28-14; Warren defeated Neuqua Valley, 14-3.
Coaches: Dan Hartman, Hinsdale Central; Bryan McNulty, Warren
Playoff history: Hinsdale Central is making its 18th playoff appearance in the last 20 years, with the only misses in 2000 and 2010. The Red Devils' best playoff showing was a state runner-up finish in 2008 under former Lake Zurich coach Mike DiMatteo. That year, Hinsdale Central lost in the Class 8A state championship game to Maine South, 41-21. Last year, the Red Devils lost in the second round to Loyola, 28-7. Warren is making its 13th playoff appearance in the last 16 years. The Blue Devils have twice advanced as far as the quarterfinals, in 1991 and 2001. Last year, Warren lost in the second round to Maine South, 47-13.
Skinny: Warren's offense was a little sluggish in last week's win over Neuqua Valley, not scoring until the second half. But, as has been the case all season, the defense, which has posted a total of 5 shutouts, was primed, and that made up for any offensive shortcomings. The Blue Devils, who are allowing just 2.9 points per game since a Week 1 loss to Barrington and 5.7 points per game overall on the season, kept Neuqua Valley out of the end zone and limited its rushing game to 61 yards on the game. After halftime, Warren got going on offense, thanks to the running of Martin Walker Jr., who rolled up 158 rushing yards and scored both of the team's touchdowns. Normally, the Blue Devils are scoring around 29 points per game. Warren, the North Suburban Conference champion, is trying to advance further in the playoffs than last season, which yielded a second-round loss and a 7-4 final record. Hinsdale Central tied for first place in the West Suburban Silver Conference with Oak Park-River Forest and Glenbard West. Each team finished with 5-1 records in league play. The Red Devils entered the playoffs having won three straight games and seven of their last eight with the only loss in that stretch coming to Glenbard West in Week 7, 21-7. Hinsdale Central's other loss this season was to Willowbrook in Week 2. The Red Devils are averaging 28.1 points per game and are allowing 13.5 points per game. They used three big plays (a 29-yard touchdown run, a 51-yard touchdown pass, and a 50-yard touchdown run) to take out Mid-Suburban League West co-champion Conant last week. Matthew Bobak scored both touchdown runs. He finished with 193 yards on 23 carries.
Next: Winner advances to the quarterfinals to face the winner of No. 16 Oak Park-River Forest (8-2) at No. 1 Brother Rice (10-0), 6 p.m. Saturday
No. 7 Mt. Carmel Caravan (9-1) at No. 23 Lake Zurich Bears (7-3)When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Last week: Mt. Carmel defeated Thornton Fractional South, 38-0; Lake Zurich defeated DeKalb, 17-0.
Coaches: Jordan Lynch, Mt. Carmel; Luke Mertens, Lake Zurich
Playoff history: One of the most successful football programs in IHSA history, Mt. Carmel has won 12 state championships since 1980, including a string of four straight titles from 1988 to 1991. The Caravan has also finished as state runner-up five times since 1986, which adds up to 17 state championship game appearances in school history. All but one of the first and second place finishes in school history came under legendary head coach Frank Lenti, who left his post at the end of last season. Overall, Mt. Carmel is making its 31st playoff appearance in the last 32 years, with the only miss coming in 2016. In 34 total playoff appearances by the program, the Caravan has advanced to at least the quarterfinals 28 times. Lake Zurich is making its 16th playoff appearance in the last 17 years, with the only miss in 2015. Lake Zurich won the 2007 Class 7A state championship, defeating Wheaton Warrenville South, 7-3. The Bears have also finished as the Class 7A state runners-up four times, in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2017. Last year, the Bears lost in the state championship game to Batavia, 21-14.
Skinny: Mt. Carmel is considered by many to be the gold standard of long-term high school football excellence in the state of Illinois. Under legendary coach Frank Lenti, the Caravan won 11 state championships in 32 years, and was a constant presence each season deep into the playoffs. Big headlines were made at the end of last season when it was announced that Lenti was losing his position. Big headlines were then also made when it was announced that one of his former players, and a local college football star, would be his replacement. Jordan Lynch, a quarterback and running back who starred at Mt. Carmel before leading Northern Illinois as its starting quarterback to the 2012 Mid-American Conference championship game, is now in his first year as head coach at Mt. Carmel. Lynch was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy while at NIU. He has kept the excellence at Mt. Carmel going. The Caravan, which won the Chicago Catholic Green, has been dominant this season and boasts one of the stingiest defenses in the state, allowing just 5.4 points per game with 5 shutouts. Mt. Carmel has allowed just 7 points over the last five weeks. The Caravan's only loss came in Week 2 to Maine South, 21-13. Last week in the first round, Kieran Conjar ran for 2 touchdowns and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rad Premovic. Just like Mt. Carmel, Lake Zurich is coming off a first-round playoff shutout. Against DeKalb, the Bears set the tone early, holding the Barbs to just 39 total yards and 1 first down in the first half. They also made several key stops in the second half to thwart DeKalb drives. Meanwhile, the Lake Zurich offense clung to a 10-0 lead for nearly the entire game until running back Jason Sayre put the final nail in the coffin when he busted out a 63-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left. Sayre has been battling various injuries over his career and is trying to gain some traction at running back.
Next: Winner advances to the quarterfinals and will face the winner of No. 15 East St. Louis (8-2) at No. 2 Glenbard East (10-0), 2 p.m. Saturday
No. 7 Lakes Eagles (8-2) at No. 2 Antioch Sequoits (10-0)When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Last week: Lakes defeated Belvidere North, 35-17; Antioch defeated Reavis, 49-0.
Coaches: Jordan Eder, Lakes; Brian Glashagel, Antioch
Playoff history: Lakes is making its 10th straight playoff appearance, dating back to 2009. The Eagles' furthest advancement came in 2011 when they lost to Batavia in the Class 6A quarterfinals, 42-0. Last year, Lakes lost in the second round to Lemont, 42-6. Antioch is making its eighth playoff appearance in the last 11 years. The Sequoits' best run came in 2008 when they advanced all the way to the Class 6A state semifinals before losing to Lemont, 38-14. Last year, Antioch lost in the first round to Marian Central, 31-9.
Skinny: They're baaaaaack! Yes, it's the second rendition of the sister school/rivalry game that always jacks up the Antioch/Lake Villa area each fall. Antioch and Lakes, high schools in the same district and the two most successful teams in the Northern Lake County Conference in recent years, are taking their series to a new level, facing each other in the state playoffs for the first time. During the regular season this fall, Antioch won a thriller in the annual rivalry grudge match in which Lakes boasted a 24-7 lead in the second quarter. But the Sequoits rallied to stage a dramatic comeback and keep their undefeated season going. Antioch, which won the Northern Lake County Conference by dumping Lakes in Week 8, notched its third straight undefeated season and is trying to show some teeth in the playoffs. The Sequoits were sent packing early last year after a loss in the first round. Antioch is leading the NLCC this season in both points per game (45.5 ppg) and points allowed (8.5 ppg). Lakes ranks second on offense with 37.2 points per game but allows 23.5 points per game. Antioch's defense was on point last week in the first round against Reavis. Not only did the Sequoits get the shutout, they also forced 4 turnovers, 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles. The Lakes defense came up with a big play of its own last week against Belvidere North. Dylan DeAngelo recovered a fumble in the second quarter that led to an Eagles touchdown. Meanwhile, running back D'Lo Hardy again put up big numbers, as he has all season. He scored the touchdown on the drive after the DeAngelo fumble recovery. It was one of 3 touchdowns on the day for Hardy, who finished with 147 rushing yards on 10 carries.
Next: Winner advances to the quarterfinals and will face the winner of No. 6 Notre Dame (8-2) at No. 14 Crystal Lake South (6-4), 7 p.m., Saturday