2023 IHSA playoffs: Steve Soucie’s Class 8A quarterfinal-round analysis

Lyons Township’s Travis Stamm (left) and Jack Cheney celebrate Cheney’s touchdown during the Class 8A second round football playoff game against York in Western Springs on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023.

The top six seeds are still alive in the Class 8A draw, which is a deviation from most years in Class 8A where at least a few underseeds manage to topple a team with a small number next to their name.

St. Ignatius is the only school outside of the top 10 seeds still alive in the draw and will now easily face its most daunting draw to date with top-seeded Loyola.

First-round picks: 15-1

Second-round picks: 7-1

Quarterfinal-round matchups

Loyola vs. St. Ignatius: Loyola has been as good as advertised and possibly better this season and the key component has been the almost unbelievable play of its defense. The Ramblers have held nine of its 11 opponents to single digit points and only three of its opponents have been within 21 points of defeating them. St. Ignatius was once 1-3, but seems to have found its groove during a six-game winning streak where it has found creative solutions, including an entertaining one that has the state’s top senior recruit in lineman Justin Scott in the offensive backfield in some sets.

Pick: Loyola

Edwardsville vs. York: It’s hard not to notice the level of play Edwardsville has been producing as of late. After forcing East St. Louis into a competitive game in Week 8, the Tigers beat one of the better teams in Missouri, toppled West Aurora in the first round before completely taking apart Glenbard West in Round 2. That’s the same Glenbard West team that beat York by three touchdowns back in Week 7. York has regrouped nicely since that loss, but even though Edwardsville has a long road trip to endure history shows Edwardsville is rarely fazed by such things.

Pick: Edwardsville

Lincoln-Way East vs. Warren: These two programs have formed a bit of an inadvertent postseason rivalry with one another having met in two of the last four postseasons, including Lincoln-Way East’s win over Warren in the 2019 8A title game. There are similarities with these teams both anchor around their defenses and both teams have a pair of capable runners in their backfield that guide the offense.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Barrington vs. Maine South: These two programs in a weird way seemed almost destined to meet one another. Each handed a loss to Warren in the first two weeks of the season, with Maine South doing it in much more dominant fashion. But that’s not the only common opponent. Both beat Palatine, but in this matchup Barrington did so in a much more convincing fashion. It’s one of those games that appear to come down to which team makes a big play late to separate itself.

Pick: Maine South