The north bracket of 5A saw a number of lower seeds advance into the second round, which was largely expected due to the bracket setup.
The south bracket was practically the polar opposite as No. 9 seed Morgan Park was the only team to defeat a higher seed in that half of the bracket.
First-round picks: 12-4
Glenbard South (9-1) at Sycamore (7-3): Glenbard South is the top seed in the bracket, but will still be wearing the underdog role as it moves into Round 2. Sycamore has a playoff pedigree that can’t be denied and looks to be in good shape to make another deep run in a wide-open Class 5A North Bracket.
Rochelle (8-2) at St. Patrick (6-4): Rochelle has recovered quite nicely from some early-season struggles, and the Hubs are hoping to continue the momentum they have accumulated. St. Patrick was one of 11 CCL/ESCC schools that captured a first-round win, and the Shamrocks put forth an impressive effort in ousting Sterling.
Pick: St. Patrick
Fenwick (8-2) at Rockford Boylan (7-3): Fenwick has really caught an impressive second half roll and it looks the Friars are ready to make a run. But they run into an interesting Boylan team here, although it didn’t have the best regular-season effort in the locked NIC-10 Conference, it appears that the top half of the league might be a little bit more difficult to dispatch than usually.
Nazareth (6-4) at Marmion (7-3): The regular-season loss total is higher than usual for Nazareth, but the knack for finding a way in the postseason probably won’t abandon the Roadrunners. But a win here is far from a slam dunk. Marmion has been flying under the radar all season and this a team more than capable of elbowing its way into the quarterfinals.
Kankakee (10-0) at Morgan Park (7-3): Kankakee continues its breakthrough season first by earning a Southland Conference championship after years of falling just short and now for reaching 10-0 for the first time in program history. Morgan Park makes for an interesting matchup for the Kays here as both rosters have playmakers who can flip the field at a moment’s notice.
Marion (9-1) at Mascoutah (9-1): A battle of two teams that have put together solid campaigns over the past few years. Marion has piled up a ton of points and seems more than willing to get into score trading encounters with foes. Mascoutah is a wily bunch however and seems to find ways to collect toss-up type victories, doing so several times in a semifinal run in the last full season contested in 2019.
Morton (8-2) at Morris (10-0): Morton might be exactly the kind of team that can give Morris some trouble with a power running game that has stacked up nearly 3,000 rushing yards and a defense that keeps most foes in check. But Morris has thwarted all comers thus far and done so with almost shocking ease.
Triad (8-2) at Mahomet-Seymour (10-0): Mahomet-Seymour didn’t exactly play the most rigorous of schedules this season, but the Bulldogs have moved through the slate in a way that makes it appear that they feel like they can compete with whoever comes their way. Triad barely escaped the first round stopping Hillcrest at the one-yard line as time expired.