Scouting second-round football playoff games in the Northwest suburbs
No. 11 Hoffman Estates (8-2) at No. 6 Wheaton North (9-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: Hoffman Estates beat TF South 34-26; Wheaton North beat Larkin 42-0
Advancement: Winner meats the winner of No. 5 Moline at No. 21 Willowbrook. Hoffman would travel to Moline and host Willowbrook.
Outlook: Hoffman Estates started slow last week but the Hawks picked things up and moved into the second round of the playoffs.
"I like where we are at right now offensively and defensively," Hoffman Estates coach Tim Heyse said. "Last week we established our running game again, in large part to Yashua Pettis-Taylor being fully healthy again. Defensively we are flying around and the secondary has played very well for the past several weeks."
The Hawks' offense has been the thing that has flown well all season. Hoffman Estates has amassed over 4,000 yards of total offense and is averaging nearly 37 points per game.
Pettis-Taylor gets better each week. The senior has rushed for 1,252 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has also caught 13 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Aidan Cyr has thrown for nearly 2,500 yards and 32 touchdowns. Jashawn Johnson has also been nearly unstoppable. Johnson has scored at least 2 touchdowns in 9 of his team's 10 games. Stephon Sellers has 727 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wheaton North has allowed just 89 points this season and the Falcons have shut out three of their opponents. Their lone loss of the season came to 7A top seed Batavia 23-20 in Week 3.
"Wheaton North is a big physical football team, Heyse said. "They resemble what a Big Ten football team is like. They will pound the ball with the ability to play action pass for big plays and play fast discipline defense. In order for us to beat Wheaton North, we must cut down on our penalties offensively and tackle on defense."
No. 11 Plainfield North (8-2) at No. 6 Maine South (9-1)When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last Week: Plainfield North beat Evanston 23-13; Maine South beat New Trier 51-7
Last meeting: In 2015, Maine South beat Plainfield North 35-20
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of No. 3 Neuqua Valley at No. 19 Palatine. Maine South would be on the road regardless of opponent.
Outlook: Maine South will get a new opponent after two consecutive weeks of playing New Trier. Maine South coach Dave Inserra is looking forward to the new challenge.
"We had two games in a row against the same opponent so that is not always an indication of our play," Inserra said. "We are healthy and playing better ball as we enter round two. But we need to continue to step up each week. The competition gets tougher, we must get better. We have the ability to make big plays, but we cannot live on that. We have to shore things up in the red zone. We have to compete on every play and all phases."
The Hawks are piling up points thanks to the explosive running of Mike Sajenko, who scored 6 of his 17 rushing touchdowns last week. Rowan Keefe continues to do a masterful job of running offensive coordinator Charlie Bliss' offense, passing for 17 touchdowns this season.
Defensively, Maine South is having one of its best seasons. Teddy Gianaris, Tony Valdez, Tommy Locascio, Jimmy Brander and Connor Wolf lead a defense that has allowed 156 points this season.
Plainfield North likes to run the football and control the clock. The Tigers have averaged just 20 points in their last five games. However, their defense has allowed just under 11 points per game.
"Plainfield North plays disciplined, hard-nosed football," Inserra said. "They are big up front on offense and have a tenacious duo at QB and RB. They play with energy. Our defenses are similar in size and speed. Both play hard."
No. 3 Neuqua Valley (9-1) at No. 19 Palatine (7-3)When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Last Week: Neuqua Valley beat Bartlett 60-7; Palatine beat Taft 35-17
Advancement: Winner plays winner of No. 11 Plainfield North at No. 6 Maine South. Palatine would host regardless of opponent.
Outlook: Palatine began the season 1-2. But the Pirates have won 6 of their last 7 and are playing their best football of the season.
"The offense is playing with a lot of confidence," Palatine coach Corey Olson said. "And the defense has been playing fast. "
That has been the key to the Palatine's play the last few weeks.
Offensively, Palatine has leaned heavily on speedy sophomore Dominick Ball, who is coming off a 166-yard performance last week and has 983 yards on the season. Quarterback Grant Dersnah threw just 9 times last week but has thrown for 1,602 yards this season.
Thomas Coroneous has been the main go-to guy for the Pirates and has 54 receptions for 675 yards. The good news for Palatine is that Iowa-commit Jake Bostick has been cleared to play. He has been sidelined since Week 4 when he was injured against Evanston.
Palatine's defense continues to make big plays when they need them. The Pirates forced 3 turnovers last week including a pick-6 by Kam Lewis. Bobby Widlowski, Mitch Larkin, Anthony Westfall, Jhermari Mabry and Joe Wagner also key the defense.
If it comes down to the kicking game, Widlowski has been one of the best in the area all season.
Neuqua Valley bounced back in a big way last week, after losing the DuPage Valley Conference title game in Week 9. The Wildcats are averaging 31.5 points per game and have allowed just 13 per game.
"They have only lost one game in the last two seasons," Olson said. "Their quarterback is the best one we've seen all year and their running back is a load. They have a ton of skill on both sides of the ball. They are a solid team from top to bottom."