Soucie: Class 8A Second-round breakdown

There were a few mild surprises in round 1, but the field set up much in the same fashion as we expected which will provide from some electric second round matchups.

First-round picks: 12-4

Second-round matchups

Loyola (10-0) at Naperville Central (7-3): The Ramblers continue to roll along this season tossing a shutout in round 1. Naperville Central might be riding high after a win over rival Naperville North in round 1, but they will need to elevate to another level to get itself to where it needs to be to compete with Loyola.

Pick: Loyola

Minooka's Ethan Murphy (16) scores a touchdown after a short catch during Class 8A playoffs first-round game between Minooka at York.  Oct 29, 2021.

Lincoln-Way East (8-2) at Minooka (6-4): An inexperienced Lincoln-Way East roster is doing a pretty good job of protecting the program’s postseason track record thus far showing some of the mettle that Griffins usually sport at this time of year. Minooka has proven to be a difficult postseason out in recent years and the Indians have already collected a win over a much higher seed and are on the lookout to get another.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Glenbard West (8-2) at Lockport (9-1): On paper this looks like an old-fashioned defensive struggle. And that very well may be what happens, but Lockport’s offensive attack has surged over the last couple of weeks and might be able to keep that roll going. Glenbard West’s offensive hopes could be boosted if the injury to RB Joey Pope doesn’t keep him out of action.

Pick: Lockport

Warren (9-1) at Glenbard North (7-3): For a three-loss team, Glenbard North has been astonishingly close to not losing a game this season. Those three losses were by a combined five points. That being said, Glenbard North’s ability to continue to advance hinges heavily on its ability to move the ball on the vaunted Warren defense. This is not something many teams have been able to do and if they have they’ve struggled to sustain success for very long.

Pick: Warren

South Elgin (10-0) at Marist (7-3): South Elgin already silenced some of the concerns about the Storm being unable to matchup with 8A caliber playoff teams by upending Edwardsville in the opening round. But this is likely a much bigger challenge that they have to overcome in an powerhouse from the CCL/ESCC that played a considerably higher caliber level of competition all season long.

Pick: Marist

Glenbrook South (8-2) at Hinsdale Central (9-1): Hinsdale Central’s defense came into the postseason with purpose squashing Sandburg’s running attack to negative 70 yards during a Week 1 victory. Glenbrook South has quietly went about its business this year but was unable to claim what would have been a breakthrough regular season victory. Another opportunity presents itself here to get one.

Pick: Hinsdale Central

Neuqua Valley (9-1) at Palatine (7-3): Neuqua Valley took out the frustrations of having its undefeated record taken away in a Week 9 loss by trampling Bartlett in the first round but the second round won’t likely be a breeze. Palatine struggled to get its footing in its round 1 matchup with Taft, but eventually broke away. On paper, there’s two relatively even squads preparing to grapple here.

Pick: Palatine

Plainfield North (8-2) at Maine South (9-1): Defense is a real priority for both of these programs and both have the propensity to turn things into a real battle for every inch. Maine South has a bit more experience in this realm and possibly a bit more firepower on offense that they can deploy, but if Plainfield North can get the kind of defensive effort that they have gotten at times this year, all bets are off.

Pick: Maine South