Analysis | Friday Night Drive

2022 IHSA playoffs: Steve Soucie’s Class 8A semifinal analysis

York's Charlie Specht (8) is congratulated by fans after a second round Class 8A varsity football playoff win between York High School and Marist High School on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 in Chicago, IL.

The Class 8A field was deep this season, which is usually the case.

But for a change, the seeds pretty much held in the loaded field, with the final four squads all coming from the top six seeds.

That sets up a pretty dynamic pairing of teams in the semifinals and virtually assures that the 8A title game is going to be a matchup of elite teams.

First-round record: 12-4

Second-round record: 7-1

Quarterfinal record: 4-0

Semifinal matchups

Lincoln-Way East vs. Glenbard West: Lincoln-Way East is rambling through opponents with precision most notably a dominant performance over Warren in the quarterfinals. There’s no one spectacular element in the Lincoln-Way attack, but there’s no visible weakness either which is a real problem for opponents trying to game plan against them. Glenbard West has done an impressive job of adapting to its situation for the entire season. Typically the Hilltoppers are highly dominant on the defensive side of the football and there have been a few times this season where the offense has had to pick up the defensive unit. They certainly have potent weapons on that side of the football in order to compensate if they do need to trade blows offensively with a foe as RB Julius Elens is having a monster season.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

York vs. Loyola: York is in relatively rarified air for its program and is now one step short of the program’s first ever appearance in a state championship game. The Dukes have certainly earned their place in the conversation using a strong defensive attack to set the tone and always seemingly doing enough to find themselves on top at the end of things. They will need that precision to deal with a Loyola squad who is absolutely no stranger to the postseason at this stage. The Ramblers really haven’t been pressed in any of its games in the postseason and have clearly rebounded from its only loss of the season in Week 9 to Mount Carmel.

Pick: Loyola