#3 Nazareth (8-1, 7-1) vs #14 Deerfield (6-3, 5-0), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in LaGrange Park
Nazareth RB Joshua Moore eludes a tackler against Notre Dame
Nazareth, co-champions of the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference, enters the playoffs on a seven game winning streak. The Roadrunners, appropriately, are a run-first team. Running back Rudy Romagnano was the team’s workhorse to begin the season, but the senior suffered an ankle injury on the first play of Nazareth’s monumental victory over Joliet Catholic. Joshua Moore has taken over the full share of the load in Romagnano’s absence, and the Roadrunners haven’t missed a beat. Moore rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns last week in the Roadrunners’ lopsided win over St. Viator.
Defensive back Kalium Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week. It was the second time this season Ewing has done that, having also returned two picks for scores against Notre Dame. Ewing is an all-around playmaker, he has also reached the end zone on offense and special teams.
Nazareth is definitely a threat to win the 6A title, but they face a challenging route to Champaign. The Roadrunners will likely have to beat 2009 champion Cary-Grove in the second round (fresh off a win over previously unbeaten Prairie Ridge) and 8-1 Prairie Ridge in the quarters before meeting 9-0 Bartlett in the semifinals.
#14 Deerfield will also pose a threat to the Roadrunners. Deerfield wrapped up a Central Suburban North championship last week with a 45-21 victory over Highland Park. The Warriors started out the season with three straight non-conference losses, but were able to finish the season with a perfect conference run of five straight wins.
Deerfield also features a run-first offense. The Warriors rushed for 478 yards in their victory over Highland Park. Fullback Tyler Vajdic led the way with 185 yards and two touchdowns while wingbacks Mark Pagano and Ryan Adkins ran for a combined 206 yards and three touchdowns. Deerfield’s win over Highland Park (5-4) was the Warriors’ only victory over a team with a winning record.
Nazareth 38 Deerfield 21
#10 Glenbard South (6-3, 4-0) vs #7 Foreman (7-2, 6-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm at Lane Stadium in Chicago
Glenbard South RB Wesley Sanders has made big plays for the Raiders all season long.
Glenbard South, champions of the Metro Suburban Conference, are led by big play machine Wesley Sanders. The senior running back, who has reached the end zone over 20 times this year, leads an offense that has been running on all cylinders during the Raiders five game winning streak. Sanders had 159 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Raiders’ conference-championship clinching victory over Ridgewood in week eight. Sanders has also had big plays as a receiver and returner this year.
The Raiders’ three losses all came at the hands of playoff teams, including 9-0 Crete-Monee and 8-1 Prairie Ridge. The Raiders knock off Foreman this week, they will likely have a second-round rematch against Prairie Ridge.
The Raiders will travel to Chicago to face Foreman, the champions of the Chicago Public School’s Big Shoulders Conference. Foreman also comes into the playoffs red-hot, winning their last six games of the regular season.
Glenbard South 29 Foreman 23
#15 Marmion (5-4, 2-3) vs #2 Prairie Ridge (8-1, 5-1), Sat. Oct. 29, 1 pm in Crystal Lake
Marmion made the 6A championship game last season but the Cadets just squeaked into the playoffs this year with a 5-4 record, albeit against a challenging schedule. The Cadets’ four losses came to playoff teams that combined to lose just four games all season (Marian, Montini, Batavia and St. Francis). The Cadets have a bruising defense and like to control the game with their bruising running attack led by Kyle Kozak, Garret Becker and Cody Snodgrass.
Prairie Ridge cruised through the first eight games of the season, winning every game by at least three touchdowns, before dropping their regular season finale against Cary-Grove, 22-21 in OT. The Wolves outscored opponents 381 to 87 this season. The Wolves, angry and motivated after losing their first game, will likely be too much for the Cadets.
Prairie Ridge 31 Marmion 6
#9 Fenton (7-2, 2-2) vs #8 Lake Forest (7-2, 5-1), Fri. Oct. 28, 7:30 pm in Lake Forest
Fenton RB Alan Geneva celebrates with teammates after a touchdown.
First off, I’m really not sure how Fenton received a higher seed than Glenbard South. Yes, I know the Bison have a better record, but the two conference foes played just three weeks ago, and the Raiders won in convincing fashion 40-8. Fenton complied a pretty empty 7-2 record, winning zero games against playoff teams. In fact, the Raiders were the only playoff team they faced, and as I just said, they lost by 32.
Anyway, the Bison are led by running back Alan Geneva, who does most of his damage catching screen passes. Fenton runs an interesting offense that features a lot of screen passes out of a shotgun formation.
Lake Forest won a share of the North Suburban Lake division this season. The Scouts are led by running back Owen Williams who ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s victory over Libertyville.
Lake Forest 35 Fenton 14