Analysis

Record Newspapers football preview capsules for second-round playoff games

Class 7A

No. 9 Brother Rice (8-2) at No. 25 Yorkville (6-4)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: First meeting

About Yorkville: The Foxes are in the second round for the third consecutive postseason, but this will be the first time during that run that Yorkville has hosted its second-round game. Senior QB Nate Kraus, who has thrown for 838 yards and four touchdowns and run for 497 yards and four TDs, is a legitimate dual threat who makes Yorkville’s offense go. He ran for two TDs in last Friday’s 26-22 win over Plainfield Central, guiding the game-winning drive in the final three minutes. Can the Foxes put up the points to keep up with Brother Rice? They could need an effort similar to Week 9, a 48-26 win over Oswego. Defensively, Yorkville will have its hands full but it has been the strength of the team all season. Junior linebackers Blake Kersting and Hunter Janeczko lead a young unit with 76 and 73 tackles, respectively, behind a stout defensive line led by juniors Andrew Laurich, Jake Davies and Andrew Zook. They’ll need to limit the big play to give the Foxes a chance late. Yorkville has played with a healthy chip on its shoulder all season, exceeding some preseason predictions, so the Foxes should be comfortable in the underdog role at home.

About Brother Rice: The Crusaders, a 2019 Class 8A semifinalist and 2018 Class 8A runner-up, are on the short list of the favorites in the Class 7A bracket. Quarterback Jack Lausch leads a high-powered offense that is averaging over 42 points per game. The senior QB is committed to Notre Dame on a baseball scholarship and also plans to play football in South Bend as a preferred walk-on. Lausch threw for 171 yards and ran for 140 yards and three TDs last week in a 27-26 win over Wheaton Warrenville South – the first time Brother Rice was held under 40 points this season. In that game, Brother Rice’s Khary Shaw knocked away a two-point conversion pass in the final minute as the Crusaders avoided a huge first-round upset. Brother Rice’s only losses are 46-43 in Week 4 to Loyola and 56-49 in Week 7 to Joliet Catholic, both unbeaten teams. Lausch accounted for nearly 400 yards rushing and passing against Loyola, and threw for 411 yards in the loss to Joliet Catholc.

FND pick: Brother Rice