Scouting this weekend's DuPage County playoff football games
Class 7A (bracket order)
No. 5 Willowbrook (10-1) at No. 20 Lake Zurich (8-3)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Willowbrook 33, No. 12 Yorkville 24; Lake Zurich 14, No. 4 Hersey 7.
Outlook: A critical moment for Willowbrook, which in its fourth straight quarterfinal appearance aims to reach the semifinals for the first time since its playoff debut in 1974. As always, Lake Zurich has its traditionally stout defense with a familiar last name leading the way in junior linebacker Bryan Sanborn. The Bears haven't allowed more than 7 points in the last four weeks. That'll obviously be put to the test with potent Willowbrook, led by senior quarterback Sam Tumilty and his 2,364 passing yards, 1,286 rushing yards and 40 total touchdowns. Deandre Holliday and Everett Stubblefield have combined for 92 catches. The Warriors' defense must slow gritty quarterback Jack Moses, who's thrown for 1,301 yards and rushed for 972.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 7A semifinals to face the winner between No. 8 Phillips at No. 1 Mt. Carmel.
No. 3 Rolling Meadows (11-0) at No. 22 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-3)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Rolling Meadows 26, No. 14 Prospect 14; WW South 28, No. 27 Downers Grove North 7.
Outlook: WW South is coming off two of its best three-phase games. Unlike the opening round of the playoffs when the Tigers faced a pass-heavy team, or last week when they faced a run-heavy team, the Mustangs are balanced with quarterback Carson Schiller, who's thrown for 2,073 yards, and running back Chris Divito, who last week rushed for more than 100 yards. Tigers backs Jake Arthurs and Prince Lankah, who have combined for 1,428 rushing yards, continue to run behind an improving offensive line. Last week quarterback Parker Brown enjoyed one of his better games passing and running the ball. Michigan State-bound kicker Jack Olsen remains a game-changer.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 7A semifinals to face the winner between No. 7 Batavia at No. 2 Nazareth.
Class 4A (bracket order)
No. 4 St. Francis (10-1) at No. 1 Coal City (11-0)
Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: St. Francis 21, No. 5 Genoa-Kingston 12; Coal City 25, No. 8 Kewanee 0.
Outlook: In its first quarterfinal game since 2014, St. Francis seeks a fast start and clean game against Class 4A's top-ranked team. Spartans quarterback Michael Baffa, who ran for 2 touchdowns and passed to Jackson Gerard for a third against Genoa-Kingston, helms a diverse spread set geared to put Coal City off balance. Spartans linemen such as T.J. McMillen, Joey Mayor, Connor Schmidt and Luke Meyer, with Michael Bumpus flowing between line and linebacker, can dominate up front -- like Coal City. Dan Jezik, an Oklahoma State wrestling commit, has bull-rushed for 2,005 yards and 22 touchdowns. Then, from play-action, three-year starting quarterback Payton Hutchings has thrown for 793 yards, 17 touchdowns, just 1 interception.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 4A semifinals to face the winner between No. 3 IC Catholic at No. 2 Richmond-Burton.
No. No. 3 IC Catholic (10-1) at No. 2 Richmond-Burton (11-0)
Game time: 3 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: IC Catholic 35, No. 6 Stillman Valley 14; Richmond-Burton 49, No. 7 Marengo 7.
Outlook: Richmond-Burton undoubtedly recalls allowing 28 unanswered points in IC Catholic's 28-9 semifinal win last season. Knights back Kyle Franklin comes off a 207-yard, 4-touchdown game to battle Rockets linebacker brothers Dalton and Brock Wood -- and muddy turf that could affect timing between quarterback Danny Cronin and receivers Chauncey Lee, Anthony Parille, Rashad Sbeih and Ryan Vezza. Lineman Kevin Akins, who helped limit Stillman Valley to 130 yards of offense, now targets the Rockets' double-wing scheme. Dalton Wood has run for 1,324 yards, 29 touchdowns. Quarterback Jacob Huber adds balance passing to Logan Hutson and Jacob Petersen.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 4A semifinals to face the winner between No. 4 St. Francis at No. 1 Coal City.