High school football: First-round playoff preview capsules

Class 4A

No. 15 Marengo (5-4)
at No. 2 Johnsburg (9-0)

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

About the Indians: Marengo is in the playoffs for back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996 and 1997. The Indians advanced to the semifinals last season and lost to eventual state champion Chicago Phillips. … RB Jarren Jackson is fifth in area rushing at 1,082 yards with 14 touchdowns. … QB Eric Mackey has thrown for 977 yards but missed two games with a bruised knee. … Jackson also is the team’s leading receiver with 33 catches.

About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg notched its first unbeaten regular season since 2004 and won the first Kishwaukee River Conference championship. … RB Alex Peete tops the area rushing list with 1,522 yards and passed 5,000 for his career in last week’s 48-3 win over Marengo. … QB Riley Buchanan is completing 58.4 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,180 yards. His favorite target is WR Nico LoDolce, who is second in the area with 45 receptions and had eight touchdowns. … The Skyhawks’ defense has allowed only 51 points all season and has five shutouts. ... Johnsburg beat Marengo, 48-3, in the regular-season finale last week.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 10 Manteno (6-3) vs. No. 7 Plano (7-2).

No. 11 Richmond-Burton (6-3)
at No. 6 Rockford Lutheran (7-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday, at Harlem High School in Machesney Park

About the Rockets: R-B has won five of its past six games, with the only loss in that stretch coming against Genoa-Kingston. … RB Mark Marzahl leads the Rockets’ rushing attack with 794 yards. RB Shane Byrne has 567 yards. … This is R-B’s 10th consecutive trip to the playoffs.

About the Crusaders: Much of what Lutheran does runs through QB Payton Womack, who has thrown for 1,327 yards and 10 touchdowns and run for 867 and 12 touchdowns. … The Crusaders finished tied for third in the Big Northern Conference. … RB Josh Davis has run for 531 yards, and WR Demarian Jordan has caught a team-high 34 passes.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 14 Coal City (5-4) at No. 3 Genoa-Kingston (9-0).

Class 5A

No. 9 Rich Central (6-3)
at No. 8 Woodstock North (6-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

About the Olympians: Rich Central’s three

losses came against St. Rita, Kankakee and Crete-Monee. … The Olympians have only one win over a team with a winning record, 47-34 over Bloom Township in Week 5.

About the Thunder: RB Casey Dycus is third among area runners with 1,089 yards and has scored 13 touchdowns. RB Collin Mergl missed time with a leg injury but has 741 yards rushing and averages 13 yards a carry. … The Thunder have returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 after holding off Rock Falls, 23-22, in overtime last week. Trevor Stinger’s blocked extra point late helped the Thunder force overtime in that game.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 16 Chicago Westinghouse (5-4) at No. 1 Sterling (9-0).

No. 14 Marian Central (5-4) at No. Chicago Payton (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday, at Lane Tech High School

About the Hurricanes: Marian is in the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year after winning its last two regular-season games on the road against Niles Notre Dame and Chicago St. Patrick. … RB Brian Niemaszek leads the team with 783 rusing yards, and QB Gavin Scott also is tough to stop running with 558 yards. Scott ran 27 times for 194 yards in the victory over St. Patrick.

About the Grizzlies: Payton is in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season but has lost by at least 21 points in each of those five playoff games. … Five of Payton’s eight wins this season have come by eight or fewer points.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 11 Glenbard South (5-4) at No. 6 Hillcrest (7-2).

Class 6A

No. 16 Deerfield (5-4) at No. 1 Prairie Ridge (9-0)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

About the Warriors: Deerfield defeated Maine West and Maine East in its past two games to make the playoffs. … This is Deerfield’s first playoff appearance since 2011; the Warriors have not won a playoff game since 2006.

About the Wolves: Prairie Ridge had its first unbeaten regular season since 2007 and won the Fox Valley Conference title. … The Wolves have been to the playoff semifinals four times since 2009, including last season when they lost to eventual Class 6A state champion Montini, 35-27. … QB Samson Evans is second in area rushing with 1,127 yards and 20 touchdowns, leading the Wolves’ option attack. … TE Austen Ferbet has 15 catches this season, but nine of those have gone for touchdowns and Ferbet averages 25.6 yards a catch. … Prairie Ridge’s defense has allowed 26 points total in the last six games. The Wolves have an average scoring differential of 40.2 points a game.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner No. 9 Montini (6-3) at No. 8 St. Ignatius (7-2).

No. 14 Wheeling (5-4) at No. 3 Cary-Grove (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

About the Wildcats: Wheeling was 1-4 before winning its last four games to make the playoffs; it had not made the postseason since 2008. … The defense has been strong for the Wildcats in their four-game winning streak, allowing 28 total points in those games.

About the Trojans: C-G is in the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season and has won eight consecutive games after losing the season opener to Prairie Ridge, 26-14. … The Trojans almost ended up back in Class 7A, where they went to the semifinals last season, but ended up as the largest 6A school. … QB Bobby Collins leads the team with 670 yards rushing, and FB Tyler Pennington is next with 619. … C-G’s defense has allowed 92 points for the season.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 11 Lakes (6-3) at No. 6 Grayslake North (7-2).

Class 7A

No. 28 Jacobs (5-4) at No. 5 Chicago Lincoln Park (8-1)

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs is in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons under coach Bill Mitz. … QB Chris Katrenick has thrown for 1,751 yards, third in the area, with 14 touchdowns. … RB Loren Strickland leads the team with 578 yards rushing and gives the Eagles some big-play potential.

About the Lions: Lincoln Park is in the playoffs for the third time in school history and the second year in a row. The Lions have not won a playoff game. … Lincoln Park’s only loss came to Chicago Taft, 19-16, in Week 7. … RB Charles Dale leads the Lions with 1,194 yards rushing, and QB Jacob Dowell has thrown for 948 yards.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner of No. 21 McHenry (6-3) at No. 12 Batavia (7-2).

No. 21 McHenry (6-3) at No. 12 Batavia (7-2)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

About the Warriors: McHenry is in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, under first-year coach Nat Zunkel. … RB Gio Purpura leads the team with 925 yards rushing. … WR Braden Crowley has 34 receptions to lead the team, and QB Colton Klein has thrown for 1,348 yards and 14 touchdowns.

About the Bulldogs: Batavia is in the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, with its only losses coming to the two St. Charles schools. … The Bulldogs won the Class 7A state title in 2013. … RB Reggie Phillips leads the team with 983 rushing yards. … QB Riley Cooper has thrown for 785 yards, and WRs Thomas Stuttle (23 catches) and Colin Chearney (20) are the leading receivers.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner of No. 28 Jacobs (5-4) at No. 5 Chicago Lincoln Park (8-1).

Class 8A

No. 24 Huntley (6-3) at No. 9 Stevenson (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

About the Red Raiders: Huntley is in the playoffs for the third straight season, a first in school history. … The Raiders won a Class 8A first-round game last season, but fell to Oswego in the second round. … QB Eric Mooney is sixth in area rushing at 991 yards and fourth in passing at 1,372. … DEs Caleb Jones and Olalere Oladipo lead the defense.

About the Patriots: Stevenson won the North Suburban Conference at 7-0 and suffered its lone loss to Palatine, 28-20, in the season opener. … The Patriots have been to the playoffs 28 consecutive seasons, seven under current coach Bill McNamara and 21 under Bill Mitz, who now coaches at Jacobs. Stevenson won the Class 8A state championship in 2014. … QB Aidan O’Connell has thrown for 2,412 yards with 24 touchdowns. WRs Henry Marchese (57 catches, 924 yards, 15 TDs) and Anthony Sibo (42-502-2) are his favorite targets.

Up next: The winner advances to the second round against the winner of No. 25 Fremd (6-3) at No. 8 Chicago Brother Rice (8-1).

– Joe Stevenson

joestevenson@shawmedia.com