Scouting second round playoff games, Northwest
No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1) at No. 20 Barrington (7-3)When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last week's results: H-F beat No. 29 Fremd 21-0; Barrington beat No. 13 Oswego East 23-14
Outlook: This is the sixth consecutive year that Barrington has advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Broncos, who are playing their best football of the season right now, will now seek to become the first Barrington team to move on to the quarterfinals since 2014. H-F has advanced through to the second round for the fifth straight year and the Vikings have not advanced to the quarterfinals in three years. Offensively, everything is clicking for the Broncos thanks to a revamped offensive line and the play of Tommy Fitzpatrick and Michael Curran. Barrington's defense has also been sound, led by Mark Di Iorio and Lucas Van ness. Barrington has received tremendous kicking from William Hutchinson, who blasted a school-record 54-yard field goal last week. H-F likes to run the ball behind its monster offensive line with running back Leon Tanna, who rushed for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns against Fremd. H-F defensive end Isaiah Coe has multiple D-1 offers.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of No. 5 Marist vs. No. 21 Naperville Central
No. 12 Maine West (9-1) at No. 5 Willowbrook (10-0)When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last week's results: Maine West beat No. 21 Benet 20-18; Willowbrook beat No. 28 Lincoln Park 35-0
Outlook: Maine West won the first playoff game in school history last week. Now the Warriors look to advance to the quarterfinals with a road win this week. Maine West showed it isn't just a team that can run the football. With Benet focusing on stopping Jake Bellizzi, quarterback Danny Kentgen stepped up and threw for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. Krystian Garbicz kicked 2 field goals in a game for the first time in his career. Willowbrook is making its fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs and has won 10 games in the last three seasons. Willowbrook is led by the Tumulty brothers. Sam plays quarterback and threw for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns while his brother Scott caught 3 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown last week. Willowbrook will be down 2 players who were ejected last week.
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of No. 4 Batavia vs. No. 13 Moline
No. 9 Hersey (9-1) at No. 8 Nazareth Academy (9-1) When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last week's results: Hersey beat No. 24 Lincoln-Way Central 52-13; Nazareth beat No. 25 Andrew 42-11.
Outlook: Hersey advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year before being eliminated. Now the Huskies look to become the first Hersey team to advance to the quarterfinals since 1987. Hersey showed off all of its offensive explosiveness when the Huskies rained downed 52 points last week. Hersey, which is averaging nearly 46 points per game, had five different players score touchdowns. Ryan Justice continues to look superb at quarterback with Jordan Hansen, Vince Carso, Kacper "Ghost" Rutkiewicz and Nick Steger providing plenty of offensive spark for Hersey. The key for the Huskies is how its defense can stop Nazareth's sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy, who is already considered one of the top quarterbacks in the state. Expect Hersey defensive coordinator Mike Donatucci to dial up a few special twists for the young signal caller.
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of No. 1 Simeon vs. No. 17 Lincoln-Way West
No. 6 Rolling Meadows (10-0) at No. 22 St. Charles North (7-3)When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last year's results: Rolling Meadows beat No. 27 Alton 29-27; St. Charles North beat No. 11 Normal 44-29.
Outlook: Rolling Meadows is coming off a huge scare last week against Alton. The Mustangs had to rally twice and then successfully defend a 2-point conversion play to come away with the win. The 29 points scored by Meadows was its lowest offensive output for the season but the Mustangs are still averaging nearly 46 points per game. Their 1-2 punch at running back with Jace O'Hara and Tim Szylak will look to continue to shine behind Joe Boyer, Tommy Schell, Josh De Luca, Andrew Baroota and John Carlstrom. St. Charles North's 3 losses have all come to playoff teams. The North Stars also feature a strong running attack led by sophomore Nick DeMarco, who is coming off a 293-yard performance last week. St. Charles North will also test it in the air with quarterback Kyler Brown and Minnesota-recruit Tyler Nubin.
Advancement: Winner plays winner of No. 3 Rockton Hononegah vs. No. 14 Wheaton Warrenville South.