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

Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.com
Barrington’s Dillon Fitzpatrick carries the ball into the end zone for a second-quarter touchdown during the Class 8A football quarterfinal game against Maine South Saturday.

Over the years, Class 8A has earned a reputation of being one of the deeper classes.

One of those situations where just about anyone from any seed position can make a deep run in the draw.

This year’s 8A field had different ideas. Stability was the name of the game as the top four seeds from pairings night are the last four teams left standing in the draw.

First-round picks: 15-1

Second-round picks: 7-1

Quarterfinal-round picks: 2-2

Semifinal-round matchups

Loyola vs. York: It’s starting to become a question not whether Loyola can win each week but rather if the opponent can simply keep things close. The Ramblers have won their first three playoff games by an average of 32 points and only two opponents have managed to even score in double figures against them all season. York has seemed to figure out whatever it needs to survive and advance, but the Dukes are going to have to take things up several notches, especially on defense, because Loyola has shown absolutely no inclination to allow opponents enough offensive to turn games into any sort of a shootout.

Pick: Loyola

Lincoln-Way East vs. Barrington: Lincoln-Way East have tossed three consecutive postseason shutouts and have repeatedly kept opponents from doing the things they prefer to do offensively. That, coupled with an offense that limits mistakes and moves the chains, makes the Griffins an extremely difficult to team to steal tempo from. Barrington has rallied from early deficits in each of the last two playoff rounds, but it would behoove the Broncos to not dig a hole against a Lincoln-Way East as teams don’t tend to be able to mount rallies quite as easily against them.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East