Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Week 6 games to watch: Elite teams look to sew up playoff berths

Several teams can clinch a spot in the IHSA playoffs this week

Five wins earns you playoff eligibility.

Six wins secures your place.

54 teams will be trying to get the security of making sure they will be included in the 256-team field while also staying on track to secure a very high seed in their respective classes.

But there’s a much larger group of teams that will be trying to simply stay above the .500 mark or climb to it. Because if you aren’t at least at the .500 mark at the end of Week 6 the journey to an acceptance ticket to the postseason field becomes an extremely perilous one.

Let’s look at a few of the Week 6 matchups of interest:

Glenbard West (5-0) at York (5-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The cadre of undefeated teams in the West Suburban Silver has been winnowed down to just these two teams. York stopped Glenbard West’s long dominance in the series with a 12-10 win last year and whomever manages to claim victory here should have a foothold on securing the conference title which will likely come with a high seed as well.

Wilmington (5-0) at Reed-Custer (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Wilmington has long been the king of the Interstate Central Eight (Formerly the Interstate Eight) Conference throne and based on the historical record, Reed-Custer seems like an unlikely challenger to dethrone them. The Comets haven’t beat the Wildcats since 2007 and hold just six victories in over 40 tries in the annual series that began in the late 1970′s. Despite that, if any group seemed poised to make a run at the powerful Wildcats, its this one.

Morris (5-0) at Richmond-Burton (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Strangely these two programs have never met despite being a part of the same conference for the past few seasons. The stars aligned this season in crossover scheduling to finally answer the question as to which program is superior. Win or lose, it won’t affect either school’s quest for a conference title (each currently lead their respective divisions) but the winner will have a huge leg up in potentially earning a top seed if they continue to run the table.

Prospect (4-1) at Elk Grove Village (5-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Elk Grove Village is 5-0 for the first time in program history. Are the Grenadiers a neat story with a fortunate schedule to date or are they poised to jump into the fray with the elite programs in the Mid-Suburban Conference? Prospect is likely still stinging from last week’s overtime loss to Hersey that knocked it from the ranks of the undefeated. Elk Grove could be the victim of Prospect’s venom from taking that loss.

Wheaton Academy (5-0) at IC Catholic (4-1), 7:15 p.m. Friday: Almost completely under the radar Wheaton Academy has been on a tear. The Warriors have strung together four consecutive shutouts after allowing 14 points in a season-opening win over Marian Central Catholic and have scored 206 uncontested points in the process. After a one-point loss to Joliet Catholic in Week 2, IC Catholic has been on a tear of its own outscoring three overmatched opponents 183-13. If anything this game should finally give each other a worthy foe to scrap with.

Other games of note: Mount Carmel at Brother Rice, 7 p.m. Friday; Loyola at Marist, 6:30 p.m. Friday; Maine South at Glenbrook South, 7 p.m. Friday; Prairie Central at Paxton, 7 p.m. Friday; Sycamore at Kaneland, 7 p.m. Friday; Wauconda at Antioch, 7 p.m. Friday; South Elgin at Glenbard South, 7 p.m. Friday; St. Patrick at Carmel, 7:30 Friday; Naperville Central vs. Naperville North at North Central College, 7 p.m. Friday; Huntley at Cary-Grove, 7 p.m. Friday; Knoxville at Annawan-Wethersfield, 7 p.m. Friday; Nashville at Carterville, 7 p.m. Friday; Homewood-Flossmoor at Bolingbrook, 6 p.m. Friday; St. Rita at Nazareth, 7 p.m. Friday