Analysis | Friday Night Drive

2022 IHSA playoffs: Steve Soucie’s Class 5A semifinal analysis

Morris's Carter Button calls a play during the IHSA Quarterfinals game against Mahomet-Seymour Saturday Nov. 12, 2022 at Morris High School

The final four teams in the Class 5A draw had very little problem securing their spots in the field.

Sycamore continues to be a wrecking ball, particularly on defense. It has allowed just 13 points in the postseason, while Nazareth breezed to a win over Morgan Park, which marked a third consecutive playoff win that came with ease.

Morris’ quick-strike offense has relied on fast starts to put opponents on their heels, while Peoria has flourished by eventually crushing the spirit of most of its opponents with a bone-jarring running attack.

First-round record: 14-2.

Second-round record: 6-2

Quarterfinal record: 4-0

Semifinal matchups

Sycamore vs. Nazareth: On paper it appeared the last two opponents of Sycamore might be able to give them a bit of a run for their money. It simply didn’t happen as the Spartans outscored those two teams 71-0. It seems like a long shot that the sledding will be that easy this time around with one of the most pedigreed programs in the state on tap in Nazareth. The Roadrunners have had a fascinatingly odd season which begin with a 2-0 victory over Kankakee in the season opener. It’s strange to think had that safety not been recorded and the Roadrunners gone on to lose that game they may not have even made the postseason field. But it did and few teams have played better over the second half of the season.

Pick: Sycamore

Morris vs. Peoria: Morris has thrived by putting things in overdrive early on to deflate the spirit of an opponent. That philosophy has lead to some pretty substantial offensive outputs in first halves of games. Peoria, however, won’t likely be deterred by any development that would have it facing a shootout style of a game. The Lions are a little bit different from some of their high octane offensive squads of the past rather leaning heavily on a bruising running game to force opponents into submission. It’s a plan that has worked far more than it has failed.

Pick: Morris