Please Note: It’s the state quarterfinals, ALL of the games are games to watch thus why it was very hard to write this article. Here’s 1 game from each class to watch this weekend.
Glenbard West vs Edwardsville – This was extremely tough for me to choose (Granted, all of these games are hard to pick, but I really wanted to pick Loyola vs Huntley as Eric Mooney and Huntley will give the Ramblers fits and could hand them their first loss since 2014). The reason I picked this game is because Glenbard West is the reigning 7A state champion, but is now bumped up to 8A making it a bit more interesting. After injuries caused a few bumps in the road for the Hitters earlier this year, they are now back on track fresh off beating one of the best teams in the state in Homewood-Flossmoor. Can AJ Epenesa and Edwardsville stop the triple option attack of Glenbard West?
East St. Louis vs Willowbrook – East St. Louis is unbeaten this season, but I think the more important reason they’re on here is because of their strike shortened 2015 season. The Flyers have been playing with a chip on their shoulder all season and very well could get to Champaign. Willowbrook does not have the D1 prospects that East St. Louis has, but is well coached and has played together as a unit this year. The Warriors will have their hands full with Jeff Thomas, Rey Estes and company this game.
DeKalb vs Cary-Grove – These are 2 VERY high powered offenses albeit different fashions. Derek Kyler, Cole Tucker and Zuerek Day are a few guys involved in the heavy pass game of DeKalb that can put points up in a hurry. Meanwhile, Cary-Grove runs a triple option offense that controls the clock. Tyler Pennington is the leader of this Trojan team that is looking to avenge their only loss to Prairie Ridge (from week 1) and get back to Memorial Stadium.
Peoria vs Washington – This tough Washington defense has given up 30 points in its previous 2 games while the high powered Peoria offense has scored 117 points in its previous 2 playoff games. Something’s gotta give this week and I believe the scoring will fall somewhere between the 2 aforementioned numbers.
Althoff Catholic vs Rochester – Like I said, these are tough games to pick out of so many good ones. I very well could have picked the Herscher vs Phillips game, the Johnsburg vs Genoa-Kingston game or the Canton vs Mater-Dei game. Anyway, the reason I went with this game is because it is a rematch of the 2015 quarterfinals where Althoff topped Rochester 46-42. I think we will have another great game on our hands in this year’s tilt.
Immaculate Conception vs Wilmington – While there are some other great teams in 3A, this was probably the easiest one for me to write. 2 11-0 teams that seemingly put up points at will. Strap in for this one as it will likely be a very high scoring affair. I think the winner of this game ultimately hoists the championship trophy in Champaign on Thanksgiving weekend.
Newman Central Catholic vs Deer Creek-Mackinaw – 2 more teams that have combined for one loss and have also gotten close to or topped 100 points of offense in their first 2 playoff games. Adding more drama to this game, Deer Creek fell to Tri-Valley in this exact same spot last year. Can the Chiefs flip the script this time around?
Ottawa Marquette vs Aquin – Its easy for me to pick the #1 seed and roll with them each week as the game of the week, as they’re most likely the favorite in every game. However, I’m doing this for a different reason. The Crusaders of Marquette may be undefeated at 11-0, but have proven to be human by winning their first 2 playoff games by a total of 9 points. While I still really like the Crusaders to win it all in 1A, Aquin will be their toughest test yet and have a great chance to pull off an upset.
For the full slate of games make sure to check out the IHSA website HERE and select “Brackets”