Scouting Warren vs. Brother Rice and Antioch vs. Notre Dame
No. 8 Warren Blue Devils (10-1) at No. 1 Brother Rice Crusaders (11-0)When: 6 p.m., Saturday
Coaches: Bryan McNulty, Warren; Brian Badke, Brother Rice
Road to the quarterfinals: Warren defeated Neuqua Valley in the first round, 14-3 and Hinsdale Central in the second round, 17-14. Brother Rice defeated Zion-Benton in the first round, 49-0 and Oak Park-River Forest in the second round, 27-17.
Playoff history: 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. Brother Rice is making its 14th playoff appearance in the last 17 years with 21 appearances overall. The Crusaders have won one state title, defeating Reavis in the 1981 Class 6A state title game, 14-0. Brother Rice finished as the state runner-up in 1985, losing to East St. Louis in the championship game, 46-0. Last year, the Crusaders missed the playoffs with a 2-7 record.
Skinny: Warren could make history with a win in this game. The Blue Devils have never advanced into the semifinals in school history. In fact, this is only the third time Warren has made it to the quarterfinals, with the other appearances coming in 1991 (lost to Rockford Boylan 35-32) and in 2001 (lost to Wheaton North 61-6). In last week's second round victory over Hinsdale Central, Warren was solid defensively but gave up the most points to an opponent this season other than in its 31-14 loss to Barrington in the season opener. Since then, the Blue Devils, who won the North Suburban Conference championship for the first time since 2008, have been allowing just 4 points per game over the last 10 weeks. And they are averaging about 5 sacks per game. Offensively, Warren got its usual numbers out of running back Martin Walker Jr. last week: 151 yards on 31 carries. The Blue Devils got touchdowns from Malachi McNeal (5-yard run) and Juan DelaCruz (11-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Phil Hird). Kicker Adam Saul, who handles all the kicking duties for Warren (including punting) was the difference maker with his 29-yard field goal. Brother Rice features strong chemistry between quarterback John Bean and wide receiver Dylan Summers, a Cornell commit. Bean and Summers connected for 2 touchdowns last week against Oak Park-River Forest, including a 48-yarder. Bean completed 8-of-17 passes for 113 yards and also ran for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brother Rice won the Chicago Catholic Blue Conference with a 4-0 record. The Crusaders lead the league in scoring at 34.5 points per game and also boast the stingiest defense, allowing 6.3 points per game. Brother Rice posted 5 shutouts this season, including a string of four straight from Week 7 through the first round of the playoffs.
Next: Winner advances to Class 8A semifinals to face the winner of No. 5 Marist (10-1) at No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor.
No. 2 Antioch Sequoits (11-0) at No. 6 Notre Dame Dons (9-2)When: 4 p.m., Saturday
Coaches: Brian Glashagel, Antioch; Michael Hennessey, Notre Dame
Road to quarterfinals: Antioch defeated Reavis in the first round, 49-0 and Lakes in the second round, 17-16. Notre Dame defeated St. Ignatius in the first round, 14-7 and Crystal Lake South in the second round, 17-7.
Playoff history: 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. Notre Dame is making its 11 playoff appearance in the last 12 years with the only miss coming in 2014. The Dons' best finish was in 1989 when they lost to Mt. Carmel in the Class 5A state championship game, 32-0. Last year, Notre Dame lost to Minooka in the first round, 22-19.
Skinny: Antioch has advanced to the quarterfinals five times in school history but is looking to make only its second trip to the state semifinals. The Sequoits, who made the semifinals in 2008, endured an emotional test last week, edging Northern Lake County Conference rival and sister school Lakes, which missed a field goal to win the game on the final play. It was another dramatic finish in the storied rivalry and another Antioch win. The Sequoits also defeated Lakes during the regular season to win the Northern Lake County Conference title for the third straight year with a perfect record. Like earlier this season, Antioch got off to a slow start against Lakes, managing just 3 first downs and 7 points in trailing 16-7 at halftime. But the Sequoits bounced back just as they did the first time when they trailed 24-7 in the second quarter before rallying to win it. Sophomore quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis completed 7-of-10 passes for 133 yards and rushed for 67 yards on 15 carries. Antioch leads the Northern Lake County Conference in scoring at 42.9 points per game and allows 9.2 points per game, also best in the league. The Sequoits have recorded 3 shutouts this season. Notre Dame quarterback Anthony Sayles threw 2 touchdowns last week, one of which came after a costly Crystal Lake South turnover. Notre Dame benefited from 13 Crystal Lake South penalties that totaled 100 yards. Ty Gavin rushed for 82 yards on 25 carries for the Dons. Notre Dame averages 29.2 points per game and allows 11.1 points per game. The Dons' only losses this season were to Marist (28-21) and to Joliet Catholic (33-17).
Next: Winner advances to Class 6A semifinals to face the winner of No. 4 Phillips (9-2) at No. 1 Cary-Grove (11-0).