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128 down. 128 still alive. Who will advance to Illinois' version of the final 64?
Comcast SportsNet will have a camera at every high school football game in the Chicagoland area Friday night in week two of the IHSA playoffs. Many sports fans didn't figure Downers Grove North would make it to the second round. Can they pull off another stunner in Harvey? It's a border war in the southwest suburbs as Bolingbrook takes on their Naperville rivals, Neuqua Valley. And we'll profile another revenge game on the north shore. Lake Forest took down Lakes by a touchdown in the regular season. Who wins the Lake battle this time around?
Here is a snapshot of each game we will profile on Friday’s edition of High School Lites. The rankings reflect the class seeds in the IHSA playoffs:
No. 1 Neuqua Valley (10-0) at No. 9 Bolingbrook (8-2), 7:00 p.m.
Storylines abound in this 8A thriller: Border war between Naperville and Bolingbrook. Will Bolingbrook QB Aaron Bailey’s be 100% after knee injury in week six? Can Joey Rhattigan and the Neuqua offense be stopped? Does Neuqua know that a potential rematch with Waubonsie could be in the cards next week? Whatever angle you pick, this game should be one of the best second round matchups. Bolingbrook took down Sandburg 39-7 last week; Neuqua beat Naperville North 56-20.
No. 3 Mount Carmel (9-1) vs. No. 6 Simeon (8-1), 7:00 p.m. at Gately Stadium
Mount Carmel and Simeon have become quite familiar with one another over the years. They met twice last year; Mount Carmel has won four of the last five in the series. If Simeon is to defeat the Caravan, they are going to have to shut down option attack led by quarterback Don Butkus and running backs Matt Domer and Draco Smith. Simeon defeated Bloom last week 13-10. Quarterback Elcee Burke and Sharoid Roach, two of the heroes in that win, look to lead the Wolverines.
No. 5 Wheaton North (9-1) at No. 13 Prospect (7-3), 7:00 p.m.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Prospect. Their defense, trampled early and often in the first six weeks, has turned a 180 over the last four games. The Knights stepped up to fend off a good Glenbrook North rushing attack last week. Their workload will increase second round. Wheaton North has a dynamic offense with many capable athletes. Patrick Sharp, Clayton Thorson, John Peltz and Matt Biegalski are four names you will hear frequently when the Falcons have the ball.
No. 8 Downers Grove North (6-4) at No. 5 Thornton (8-2), 7:00 p.m.
Is it too early to call Downers Grove North a Cinderella story? They notched one of the biggest upsets in the state last week, throttling top-seed Batavia. Can they win against Thornton? Sophomore quarterback David Edwards and running back Brandon Salter –224 yards last week—will face a Thornton team that is very familiar with playoff football. Veteran head coach Bill Mosel has playmakers in twin brothers Jamal & Jason Towns and quarterback JoWahn Brown.
No. 3 Oswego (9-1) at No. 2 Benet (9-1), 7:30 p.m.
The key matchup here is Oswego’s potent offense going up against a Benet defense that has limited offensive-minded opponents like Marist and Joliet Catholic in check. The Redwings forced two key second half turnovers in last week’s 24-10 win over Andrew and sophomore quarterback Jack Beneventi made plays. Oswego, averaging 41 points per game, advanced by beating Plainfield North. Wide receiver Jack Kwiatkowski and running back Mickeel Stewart need to be contained.
No. 14 Notre Dame (6-4) vs. No. 11 Steinmetz (7-2), 6:00 p.m. at Hanson Stadium
The 7-2 Silver Streaks turned the tables on Foreman, a team that beat them in the regular season, in a 26-12 opening round victory. The defense forced five turnovers and quarterback Michael Harris scored three rushing touchdowns. As for Notre Dame, they’re looking to ride the momentum of an incredible performance by running back Chris James. He tallied 323 yards and a jaw-dropping seven touchdowns in a 46-27 victory over Grayslake North. It was the Dons’ first playoff victory since 1997.
No. 5 Grant (8-2) at No. 4 Crystal Lake Central (8-2), 7:00 p.m.
After winning only eight games from 1998-2005, the Crystal Lake Central program has bounced back. This is their fifth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons. They’re coming off a 49-7 win over Hyde Park where Matt MacAlpine, back from a leg injury, rushed for three touchdowns. Grant has lost a few offensive weapons due to injuries, but sophomore Jeremy Bredwood filled in nicely last week. The wingback scored four touchdowns as the Bulldogs defeated Lake View 59-0.
No. 1 Oak Forest (9-1) at No. 5 Shepard (7-3), 7:00 p.m.
These two schools are only separated by a seven minute drive, so expect a jubilant crowd on both sides. The 9-1 Bengals might be peaking at the right time. They've given up a touchdown or less in three of their last four games. And they love to run the ball. Ben Santiago and Tyler Usterbowski both ran for over 100 yards in last week's 29-0 win over Hinsdale South. Shepard passes the ball a lot more than Oak Forest. The Astros have a fine QB-WR duo in Jimmy McClinton and Londell Lee.
No. 2 Lakes (9-1) at No. 10 Lake Forest (7-3), 7:30 p.m.
If "20-13" isn't plastered on every locker at Lakes High School, something is wrong. That was the final score on September 7th, when Lake Forest beat the Eagles in Lake Villa. But since that defeat, Lakes has scored the following point totals: 60, 35, 69, 42, 56, 62 and 35. Running back Direll Clark is their go-to on offense. But the Scouts have an opportunistic defense (four interceptions last week against Rolling Meadows) and a talented quarterback in Andrew Clifford.
No. 1 Austin/VOISE Academy (9-0) at No. 5 Brooks (7-2), 7:00 p.m. at Lane Stadium
Brooks might be the best team you haven't heard from yet. Their only defeats: a one point loss to 5A juggernaut Kaneland and a 33-28 setback to an 8-2 Rock Island squad. They have a fine 1-2 punch on offense with quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and running back Josh Smith. But the undefeated Tigers don't need to hear any of that. They have the defense (five shutouts on the year) and are scoring over 42 points per game. Willie McCullum, a two-way player, has stepped up nicely.
Our High School Lites crew did a little road-tripping this week. We made our way to Ottawa to bring you a story of how this Illinois town has come together to support two playoff teams. Our Muscle Milk Team of the Week is Bolingbrook. The Raiders were thought to have major challenges once star quarterback Aaron Bailey went down with an injury. But sophomore backup quarterback Quincy Woods is putting quite a stamp on the season. Plus, we’ll also catch you up with Joliet Catholic in this week’s “Drive” segment, presented by Northern Illinois University. And we’ll take a drive down Memory Lane in “Flashback” and bring you up-to-the-minute scores from across Chicagoland.
High School Lites airs at 10:30pm this Friday night and streams live at CSNChicago.com. The show will re-air on Saturday morning at 7:30 and 8:30.
Follow CSNChicago.com preps writer Joe Collins on Twitter: @JoeCSN.
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