2022 IHSA playoffs: Steve Soucie’s Class 1A semifinal analysis

Forreston quarterback Brock Smith heads to the end zone in first quarter action against Lena-Winslow in a NUIC battle in Forreston on Friday, Oct. 21. The Cardinals scored first to lead 8-0, but the Panthers scored on the ensuing kick off and added another TD just before the end of the half to lead 14-8.

The 1A bracket played out the way many expected minus the possible exception of Forreston.

But when you consider Forreston’s long track record of postseason success, it can’t be considered too much of a surprise.

The 1A bracket, along with Class 2A, is just one of two classifications that managed to get three teams to the semifinals without a loss.

First-round predictions: 13-3

Second-round predictions: 5-3

Quarterfinal predictions: 4-0

Quarterfinal matchups

Lena-Winslow vs. Forreston: This game pairs two long-time rivals that always have a hand in who wins the 1A title. The last five 1A titles have passed through the hands of these two schools with Lena-Winslow setting aim on its third consecutive title and also won the crown in 2017. That was sandwiched around championships by Forreston in 2016 and 2018. You have to go all the way back to 2015 to find a Class 1A title not won by one of these two schools (Arcola). Lena-Winslow won the regular season meeting 28-14, easily the closest game of the year for the Panthers and Forreston is the only team that has had the knack to beating Lena-Winslow handing them their last defeat in Week 9 of the 2021 season.

Pick: Lena-Winslow

Ridgeview vs. Camp Point Central: Ridgeview has motored through the playoffs to this point, posting 146 points in three postseason games. The Mustangs have even been remotely pushed since Week 3 when they edged out Class 2A semifinalist Tri-Valley. Since then its been smooth sailing. Camp Point Central rambled through nearly every team in the Western Illinois Valley Conference but ran into a little bit more trouble than usual against yet another WIVC foe Greenfield in the quarterfinals. It took until the fourth quarter for the Panthers to claim control of the game and the 12 points allowed is the only the second time all season that Camp Point Central had allowed double digit points all season and has allowed just 60 points all year.

Pick: Ridgeview