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Checking In: First Round Wrap-Up

Wheaton North QB John Peltz (4 total TDs this week against Jacobs) tries to escape a Glenbard North defender during the regular season – Photo from the Chicago Tribune

CLASS 5A

#6 Montini 49 #11 Woodstock North 14

Montini scored four touchdowns over a 12 play stretch in the second half to pull ahead from Woodstock North in the Broncos’ 49-14 first round victory.

The Broncos took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Thunder battled back and cut the score to 21-14 in the second quarter. From there though, it was all Montini, as the defensing 5A state champs scored the final 28 points of the game.

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp had another star performance, hauling in 7 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Nebraska-bound senior also had a 52 yard punt return for the game’s first touchdown.

Quarterback John Rhode continued his string of excellent games, completing 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 330 yards and four touchdowns.

Montini advances to the second round where they will play at #3 Sterling 1 pm on Saturday

#8 St. Francis 27 #9 Burlington 10

After losing in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons to Montini, St. Francis broke through to the second round for the first time since 2008 when the Spartans won the Class 5A championship.

Defensive back Michael Hanson’s interception in the third quarter was the key play of the game. Trailing 14-10, Burlington opted not to punt on 4th and 13 from the St. Francis 36-yard line. Rockets QB Ryan Ritchie overthrew his target, and the ball landed in the hands of Hanson, who returned the pick 70 yards for a touchdown that put the Spartans up 21-10.

Running back Jack Petrando led the Spartans with 18 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Nick Donati added two touchdowns, one through the air and another on the ground.

St. Francis faces a tough test in the second round where they will go on the road to face #1 Kaneland at 7 pm on Saturday.

CLASS 6A

#3 Nazareth 35 #14 Deerfield 6

Nazareth running back Joshua Moore ran for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the Roadrunners dominant 35-6 first round win over Deerfield.

The Roadrunners took a 28-0 lead into halftime after holding the Warriors to just 19 yards of offense in the first two quarters. Deerfield scored its first and only touchdown with just 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Nazareth will host Cary-Grove next Saturday at 1 pm in the second round. The Roadrunners will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in school history.

#10 Glenbard South 30 #7 Foreman 7

Running back Wesley Sanders scored two touchdowns as Glenbard South defeated Foreman 30-7 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

The Raiders played a sloppy game (5 fumbles, just one lost) without their starting quarterback Tyler Padera (concussion) but still dominated Foreman. Glenbard South took a 30-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders will host Prairie Ridge next Saturday at 7 pm. The two teams met the first week of the season with Prairie Ridge winning convincingly 55-12.

#2 Prairie Ridge 49 #15 Marmion 0

Things started out well for Marmion, as the Cadets recovered a fumble on Prairie Ridge’s first offensive play of the game. However, the Cadets had a field goal attempt blocked on their ensuing possession, and things quickly went down hill.

Prairie Ridge went on to dominate the first half, taking a 42-0 lead into halftime. Quarterback Nick Nissen (12 carries, 38 yards) ran for four touchdowns. Running back Connor Greenwald added a touchdown and led the Wolves with 144 yards on 11 carries.

Marmion earned just one first down in the game while gaining only 23 yards of total offense.

#8 Lake Forest 55 #9 Fenton 20

Fenton struck first, but the Bison were unable to keep things going, losing to Lake Forest 55-20 in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.

Play-making running back Alan Geneva led the Bison with 10 catches for 97 yards and one touchdown.

Quarterback Sean Havlovic did not play for the Bison due a “school-related incident.”

Lake Forest running back Owen Williams (16 carries, 130 yards) reached the end zone four times for the Scots, who will face #1 Batavia in the second round.

CLASS 7A

#11 Carmel 28 #6 Addison Trail 20

Running backs Jordan Kos and Brian Brennan led the way for Carmel as they upset Addison Trail 28-20 in the first round of the class 7A playoffs.

Kos led the Corsairs with 31 carries for 167 yards and one touchdown while Brennan added 20 carries, 78 yards and two touchdowns. Addison Trail had only given up 48 points in the regular season, and never gave up more than 14 points in a game.

The Blazers drove down to the Carmel 11 yard line late in the fourth quarter in an attempt to send the game to overtime. However, the Corsairs forced two incompletions and time expired.

AT Quarterback Trevor Bermingham completed 19 of his 33 pass attempts for 177 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Carmel will host Crystal Lake South in the second round. The game kicks off at 7 pm Friday night.

#7 Wheaton North 28 #10 Jacobs 0

John Peltz had another strong performance as Wheaton North flew by Jacobs 28-0 in the first round.

Peltz completed 13 of his 19 pass attempts for 277 yards and four touchdowns. The junior added another touchdown on the ground.

Sophomore Matt Biegalski caught 5 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown while senior Johnny Daniels had 3 grabs for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

The Falcons’ defense was able to shut down Jacobs by holding down running back Caz Zyks. The talented back with a sweet name only gained 27 yards on 11 carries.

Wheaton North will face Rockford Boylan, the defending 6A champions, in the second round. That game kicks off at 1 pm Saturday in Rockford.

CLASS 8A

#11 Glenbard North 27 Barrington 21

Glenbard North only completed two passes in their 27-21 fupset win over Barrington, but the second one happened to be the play of the game.

With the scored tied at 21 halfway through the fourth quarter, Panthers quarterback Brian Murphy threw up a prayer into the end zone. The ball somehow fell into the hands of Logan Henshall for a touchdown (also Henshall’s first catch as a varsity player) and the Panthers took a 27-21 lead.

Once again, most of the Glenbard North offensive production came from the Jackson brothers. Junior Justin (17 carries, 95 yards) reached the end zone three times, while senior Phil ran for 122 yards on 21 carries.

The Panthers advanced to the second round where they will host Palatine at 6 pm on Saturday.

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Class 6A Playoff Mini-Previews: How Long Will Nazareth’s Dream Season Continue?

#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.

PREDICTION:

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.

PREDICTION:

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.

PREDICTION:

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.

PREDICTION:

Lake Forest 35 Fenton 14

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Nazareth Runs Past Riverside-Brookfield

Nazareth 44 Riverside-Brookfield 6

Nazareth lived up to its nickname once again Friday night as the Roadrunners ran past Riverside-Brookfield 44-6 on homecoming in Riverside.

“It was just all-around a great game for us,” said Nazareth linebacker Aeneas White. “Our coach came in this week and talked to us about how important this game was, it being their homecoming, and how amped up they’d be for the game. We just came out here and did what we were told to do.”

Nazareth took a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game when quarterback Sam Poulos threw an 18 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Carl Jackson.

Running back Kevin Curtin then put Nazareth up 14-0 after he ran one yard for a touchdown on the Roadrunners’ next drive.

White recovered a fumble on the ensuing Bulldogs possession and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, putting the Roadrunners up 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“We just played like we have the whole season. Fundamentals, mechanics, that’s how it gets done,” said White, who also contributed on offense with two carries for 83 yards.

Matthew Ramsey’s 27 yard field goal put the Roadrunners up 23-0 with 6:30 left in the second quarter. Ramsey also had six touchbacks on kickoffs.

The Roadrunners got back into the end zone on their next possession. Running back Joshua Moore ran 34 yards for his first touchdown of the game, putting Nazareth on top 30-0.

Moore led the Roadrunners with 13 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Moore has played well since taking over the number one job after Rudy Romagnano injured his ankle on the first snap of Nazareth’s win over Joliet Catholic on Sept. 30.

“He’s [Moore] not really filling in, him and Rudy are like the one-two-punch, so he’s just taking on more of the load,” said Nazareth Head Coach Tim Racki.” Him and Rudy are tight friends, so he takes pride in taking on more of that load.”

Racki is hopeful that Romagnano will return this season.

“He’s a real tough kid. We hope to get him back, but when, I don’t know,” said Racki.

Poulos finished off the first-half scoring for the Roadrunners with a one yard touchdown run in the final minute of the second quarter. Nazareth led 37-0 at halftime.

Moore ran two yards for his second touchdown of the game just a minute into the third quarter and the Roadrunners led 44-0.

The Nazareth offense had no turnovers and was able to score on its first six possessions of the game.

Riverside-Brookfield avoided a shutout when quarterback Dylan Beketic connected with wide receiver Joe Odeh on a two yard touchdown pass with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

FIRST QUARTER

[8:58] NAZ Sam Poulos 18 yard pass to Carl Jackson (PAT good) – 7-0 NAZ

[2:06] NAZ Kevin Curtin 1 yard run (PAT good) – 14-0 NAZ

[1:37] NAZ Aeneas White 58 yard fumble return (PAT no good) – 20-0 NAZ

SECOND QUARTER

[6:31] NAZ Matthew Ramsey 27 yard field goal – 23-0 NAZ

[4:30] NAZ Joshua Moore 34 yard run (PAT good) – 30-0 NAZ

[0:36] NAZ Sam Poulos 1 yard run (PAT good) – 37-0 NAZ

THIRD QUARTER

[11:14] NAZ Joshua Moore 2 yard run (PAT good) – 44-0 NAZ

[5:10] RB Dylan Beketic 2 yard pass to Joe Odeh (PAT no good) – 44-6 NAZ

PLAYERS OF THE GAME:

Joshua Moore, RB, Nazareth: 13 carries, 118 yards, 2 touchdowns

Aeneas White, LB/RB, Nazareth: 2 carries, 83 yards; 58 yard fumble recovery touchdown

I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times. It also appears on yourseason.com.

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