Here are the first-round matchups for each Suburban Life area team. Dates and times will be updated when confirmed.
No. 28 Lockport (5-4 ) at No. 5 Glenbard West (8-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
About the Porters: Lockport is the defending Class 8A champion. Injuries have ravaged the Porters, but tight end Hyatt Timosciek has been a constant. Three of Lockport’s four losses came to playoff teams – Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way East, and Andrew. The game is a rematch of a second-round playoff game last year in which Lockport beat Glenbard West 34-0 – but this time the game will be played at Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn.
About Glenbard West: The Hilltoppers are making their 15th consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Chad Hetlet, having never missed the postseason in his tenure. Senior tackle Chris Terek, a 305-pound Wisconsin recruit, received an offer from Notre Dame this week. He anchors what has been touted as the biggest offensive line Hetlet has ever had. Junior Julius Ellens, who played primarily receiver in his first two years on varsity, emerged as Glenbard West’s leading rusher this year when 2021 1,000-yard rusher Joey Pope was slowed by injuries in the first half of the season. Pope did have his best game of the season in Week 9, rushing for over 100 yards and a 76-yard TD and adding a pick-six defensively. Two-year starting QB Korey Tai pilots the offense that averaged 35 points through the first eight weeks. Senior RB/LB Jack Oberhofer is a physical two-way threat.
No. 31 Oswego East (5-4) at No. 2 York (9-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Oswego East: The Wolves are making their seventh consecutive playoff appearance under head coach Tyson LeBlanc, and will be looking for the program’s first postseason win since 2016. Senior QB Tre Jones, a Navy recruit, has thrown for 578 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions through eight games, and is also the team’s leading rusher with 792 yards rushing at an 8.8 yard per carry average with 10 TDs. Jones ran for a school record 253 yards and four TDs in a Week 8 win over rival Oswego that all but sealed a playoff bid. The Wolves received a big boost in that Week 8 game with the return of 244-pound running back Oshobi Odior, who missed six games with an ankle injury. LB Juny Almeida and DB Mike Polubinski are among the leaders of a fairly stout Wolves’ defense.
About York: The Dukes, after making the playoffs for the first time in a decade in 2021, proved they were no one-hit wonder with a historic season. York won the West Suburban Silver championship outright for the first time since 2006 and posted the first perfect regular season in the 102-year history of the program. Senior Matt Vezza is one of the better dual-threat QBs around and pilots a balanced attack that features RB Kelly Watson and WRs Charlie Specht and Luke Mailander. Junior LB Cole Ostendorf is among the leaders of a York defense that has allowed just 66 points this season with three shutouts. Next on the to-do list? Collecting York’s first playoff win since 2010. This is the second year in a row the Dukes have drawn a Southwest Prairie West team in the first round, having lost to Minooka in the first round last season.
No. 26 Downers Grove South (6-3) at No. 7 Palatine (8-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Downers Grove South: Just like last season, the Mustangs started slow – in this case, 0-3 against a brutal early-season schedule – but won their last six games. Downers Grove South also captured the West Suburban Gold title for the first time since 2013. Mack O’Halloran, a third-year varsity starter, is a force on both sides of the ball. Deon Davis ran for 153 yards and a career-high four TDs in a Week 8 win that clinched at least a share of the Gold title. Downers Grove South, making its third straight playoff appearance, will hope for its first postseason win since reaching the 2011 Class 8A quarterfinals.
About Palatine: The Pirates are champions of the Mid-Suburban West Conference. Palatine has won four consecutive games since its only loss, 43-42 to Glenbrook South in Week 5. Playing in a high-scoring league, the Pirates averaged 37.4 points per game and topped 40 points five times. The Pirates have overcome a season-ending injury to starting QB Grant Dersnah in Week 4. Jaylen Williams, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive lineman with offers from Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, is one of the top sophomores in the state.
No. 23 Minooka (6-3) at No. 10 Glenbard East (8-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Minooka: Minooka has reached the playoffs in each of coach Matt Harding’s two seasons. All three of Minooka’s losses came to playoff teams – Bolingbrook, Plainfield North, and Yorkville. The defense, led by linebackers Isaiah Dupree and Cayden Garcia and defensive back Efrain Ramirez, is the Indians’ calling card, but the offense has shown a propensity for scoring in bunches lately behind quarterback Gavin Dooley, running backs Joey Partridge and Braeden Allen and receiver D.J. McIntosh.
About the Rams: Defense has been the staple for Glenbard East, as they have allowed just 42 points on the season. The offense, meanwhile, has scored 285. The Rams’ only loss this season was to unbeaten South Elgin, 22-6, and have won seven straight since. This will be Glenbard East’s fourth consecutive playoff appearance under head coach John Walters after not reaching the postseason for two decades. Matt Larson, who ran for 100 yards on 15 carries in Week 8, has emerged as the Rams’ No. 1 back. Glenbard East won eight games in the regular season for the fourth time in school history. QB Dillon Williams pilots the Rams’ attack.
No. 19 Naperville Central at No. 14 Lyons Township (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Naperville Central: The Redhawks finished second in the DuPage Valley Conference behind Neuqua Valley. Naperville Central has a shared opponent with Lyons, having beaten Hinsdale Central 24-9 in Week 1. Senior QB Chris McCormack has thrown for 840 yards and five TDs and Tyler Dodd has rushed for 622 yards and eight TDs. Naperville Central’s strong suit appears to be its defense, which has allowed just 95 points. Head coach Mike Ulreich, in his second season, was previously the Redhawks’ defensive coordinator.
About Lyons: The Lions, under third-year coach Jon Beutjer, are back in the playoffs for the second straight season with their most wins since 2017. They also come in with momentum, rallying in the fourth quarter for a 24-13 win over Downers Grove North Saturday. Junior lineman Eddie Tuerk is a four-star recruit with 17 offers including Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Illinois. Junior QB Ryan Jackson took over at the controls of the offense two-thirds of the way through his sophomore year and has emerged as a talented dual-threat that makes the Lions’ offense go. Tight end Graham Smith, a Yale recruit, is his top target but the Lions will spread it around. Starting RB Jack Cheney missed the Week 9 with a leg injury, but Danny Pasko ran for 70 yards and the go-ahead score. Lyons was within one score in the fourth quarter of losses to top Class 8A teams York and Glenbard West, so the Lions have proven they can compete with elite opponents. Lyons’ last playoff win came in 2016.
No. 17 Downers Grove North (6-3) at No. 16 Lincoln Park (7-2)
About Downers Grove North: The Trojans are back in the playoffs for the second time under fifth-year head coach Joe Horeni after just missing out last season. Downers Grove North figures to be well-tested for the playoffs coming out of the West Suburban Silver with four playoff teams. The Trojans took unbeaten conference champ York to overtime. Wide receiver/defensive back Ethan Thulin, the team’s top playmaker, and QB Sam Reichert, are among seven third-year starters. Defensive end Ben Bielawski is the anchor of a Trojans’ defense that is the team’s strong suit.
About Lincoln Park: The Lions went 6-1 to tie for first in the Chicago Public League – Red West. Bulls Prep handed Lincoln Park its only loss on the field, 34-12 in Week 5. The Lions had to forfeit their Week 1 game. Lincoln Park did not play a team outside of the Chicago Public League. This is Lincoln Park’s first playoff appearance since 2017. The winner of this game will in all likelihood face Mount Carmel in the second round.
About Willowbrook: The Warriors needed a Week 9 win over Morton to make its seventh consecutive playoff appearance. When Willowbrook gets to the postseason, it’s done damage. The Warriors have reached the quarterfinals in their last five playoff appearances. That said, this is a very young team, with 12 sophomores on the roster playing roles. Junior QB AJ Palicki is in his third varsity season.
About Wheaton North: The defending Class 7A state champions graduated quite a bit from last year’s group, but are back in after taking second in the DuKane Conference behind St. Charles North. A strong defense led by third-year LB and Holy Cross commit Ross Dansdill has allowed just 114 points. Tyler O’Connor is a playmaker running out of the wildcat or at defensive back. The Falcons have played quite a few close games in the DuKane, so should be well-prepared for the postseason. This is a rematch of a 2021 quarterfinal won by Wheaton North at Willowbrook.
No. 10 Riverside-Brookfield (6-3) at No. 7 Kaneland (6-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Riverside-Brookfield: The Bulldogs are making their third straight playoff appearance, this time under first-year coach Sam Styler, but they last won a playoff game in 2015. R-B bounced back from rough losses to IC Catholic Prep and St. Francis to beat Bishop McNamara 42-7 in Week 9. Junior QB Diego Gutierrez makes the Bulldogs’ offense go. Drew Swiatek is a player to watch defensively. The Bulldogs have losses to quality opponents – St. Francis, IC Catholic and to Wauconda, the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A bracket, in Week 2.
About Kaneland: The Knights have given up less than half as many points as they did a year ago, surrendering less than 16 points per game this year. They haven’t given up more than one score in a game since a 28-7 loss to Sycamore (9-0) in Week 6. Kaneland is in the postseason for the fifth straight year. Junior QB Troyer Carlson, who threw for nearly 3,000 yards as a sophomore, is in his third varsity season. WR Aric Johnson is his top target.
No. 16 Eisenhower (5-4) at No. 1 Lemont (9-0)
About Lemont: Lemont cruised through the regular season, outscoring opponents 412-119. This is head coach Bret Kooi’s final season, and he has guided Lemont into the playoffs in each of his eight seasons that the playoffs have been held. Lemont defeated six playoff qualifiers during the season. Quarterback Payton Saloman has thrown for 26 touchdowns and no interceptions, while running back Nate Wrublik has run for 1,041 yards and 14 TDs.
About the Eisenhower: Eisenhower was 5-2, but lost their final two games of the season to Evergreen Park and Shepard. Their other two losses were to Oak Forest and Richards. The Cardinals outscored their opponents 274-147 on the year.
No. 15 Fenwick (5-4) at No. 2 Morgan Park (8-1)
About Fenwick: Fenwick will try to defend its Class 5A state title, its first in school history. The Friars have made the playoffs for the eighth time in the last 10 playoffs. The Friars lost a majority of their players from their championship team last season to graduation and new players have progressed throughout the season. After starting the season 2-2, the Friars won three straight, including a forfeit win in Week 8. Fenwick dropped the CCL/ESCC White title against St. Ignatius in the final game of the season when the Wolfpack came back to win in the fourth quarter.
About Morgan Park: The Mustangs return to the playoffs for the third straight season. Morgan Park earned a No. 6 ranking in the latest Class 5A AP poll. The Mustangs’ lone loss of the regular season came to Simeon (9-0). Morgan Park fell 42-22 in a battle for the Chicago Public League Red South Conference. Morgan Park started the season 7-0 before losing to Simeon. The team had three shutouts during that span and didn’t allow more than 20 points. Junior Tysean Griffin is a three-star wide receiver who has caused problems all season for opponents.
— Michal Dwojak
No. 11 Nazareth (5-4) at No. 6 Glenbard South (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Nazareth: Nazareth qualified for the playoffs by winning its last game of the regular season for the second season in a row. The Roadrunners advanced to the Class 5A quarterfinals last season and have won three state titles and played in two more championship games since 2014. Nazareth earned the No. 10 ranking in the latest Class 5A AP poll. After winning their opener against Kankakee (No. 1 in the latest Class 5A AP Poll), 2-0, the Roadrunners lost four of their next five games. Lemont (24-17), Marist (31-3), Niles Notre Dame (22-17) and St. Rita (33-10) are all teams ranked in their respective classes’ AP polls. … Wisconsin commit Justin Taylor will look to continue to make plays on both sides of the field as a receiver, rusher and secondary player. Sophomore QB Logan Malachuk is in his second varsity season as starter.
About Glenbard South: The Raiders have made the playoffs each season since 2011. Glenbard South received votes in the latest Class 5A AP poll. One of Glenbard South’s two losses came to South Elgin, a team ranked in the latest Class 8A AP poll. The Raiders lost 49-27. Glenbard South has scored 43 points or more seven times this season. The team scored 27 and six points in its other two games. Senior running back Jalen Brown tallied a program-best 286 yards against Bartlett. Junior WR Cam Williams, a Notre Dame recruit, is the No. 1 player in Illinois’ Class of 2024.
— Michal Dwojak
About Providence: The Celtics beat St. Laurence, 49-20, in Week 9 to qualify for the playoffs in coach Tyler Plantz’s first year. Quarterback Lucas Proudfoot and running back Jamari Trippett power the Providence offense. The Celtics have won 10 state championships, but none since 2014… Providence went 1-4 against playoff teams this season.
About Wheaton Academy: Wheaton Academy’s only loss on the year was 42-20 to IC Catholic Prep. The Warriors outscored their opponents 384-66 on the season. Senior QB Belay Brummel has thrown for 1,850 yards and 28 TDs with just four interceptions. His top target, Breck Peacock, has 50 catches for 770 yards and nine TDs. Junior Brett Dieter leads the defense with 58 tackles. The Warriors are making their second consecutive playoff appearance under third-year head coach Jim Johanik. Last year it recorded its first home playoff win before losing to eventual champion Joliet Catholic in the second round.
No. 14 Marengo (5-4) at No. 3 St. Francis (8-1
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About St. Francis: St. Francis suffered its only loss of the season against IC Catholic Prep 25-14 in Week 9 … The Spartans were an offensive machine this year, averaging 43.2 points a game while allowing only 10.9. Their biggest offensive output was an 83-0 victory against Bishop McNamara. St. Francis has made the playoffs in each of the past three postseasons under head coach Bob McMillen. His son, TJ McMillen, 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior lineman, is committed to Illinois and one of the top recruits in the state. Junior QB Alessio Milivojevic holds an offer from Ole Miss. Dash Dorsey is one of his top targets with Amari Head a dynamic talent out of the backfield. Dom Beres is a ringleader of the Spartans’ defense.
About Marengo: The Indians are in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season after winning their last two games against Peoria Manual and Plano. QB Josh Holst makes Marengo go. He has thrown for 1,535 yards with 25 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also leads the Indians with 706 rushing yards. Logan Miller (32), Greg Baker (27) and David Lopez are the top receivers. Marengo is 17-13 in its playoff history. Its best finish was Class 3A state runner-up in 1992.
No. 13 King (5-4) at No. 4 IC Catholic Prep (8-1)
About King: The Jaguars, under first-year head coach Abdullah Assad, qualified for the playoffs with a Week 9 win over Bogan on Saturday. It’s King’s second consecutive playoff appearance, having lost to Prairie Central 55-0 in the first round last year.
About IC Catholic: The Knights, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 3A poll, bring momentum into the postseason, a 25-14 Week 9 win over previously unbeaten St. Francis. Denzell Gibson rushed for 102 yards and two TDs and caught three passes for 100 yards and a TD. IC Catholic’s only loss came by one point at Joliet Catholic, a game the Knights led late in the fourth quarter. The Knights are surely motivated to get to Champaign, having lost to eventual Class 3A champ Byron in the final seconds of last year’s Class 3A semifinals. Junior QB Dennis Mandala and KJ Parker are a dynamic connection. Mandala, a third-year starter, has thrown for 1,982 yards with 27 TDs and just one interception while Parker, a high Division I prospect, has 26 catches for 828 yards and 13 TDs.
Source: The Daily Chronicle