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The Herald-News Football Capsules for Week 9

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Andrew (4-4) at Lockport (7-1)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lockport 43, Andrew 7 (Spring 2021)

About the T-Bolts: Andrew had a three-game winning streak snapped by Lincoln-Way West in Week 8, 35-6, and now finds itself with its back against the wall in regards to the playoffs, needing a win against one of the top teams in the Southwest Suburban to earn a bid. A run defense that surrendered a ton of yardage and points to Lincoln-Way West needs to solidify in a hurry against Lockport.

About the Porters: Lockport was edged, 12-10, in its showdown with Lincoln-Way East in Week 8 but once again the defense was stellar. The Porters can lean on the defense to close out the regular season, but Lockport’s offense needs to produce if it hopes to make a run in the Class 8A postseason. Quarterback Hayden Timosciek was sidelined in the loss, but he did punt, and whether or not he will return has yet to be determined.

Friday Night Drive pick: Lockport

Bolingbrook (6-2) at Stagg (0-8)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Bolingbrook 43, Stagg 0 (2019)

About the Raiders: Bolingbrook bounced back nicely after a tough overtime loss to Lockport in Week 7 with a 42-10 win over Lincoln-Way Central in Week 8. Points were coming from all three phases last week. When you consider that Bolingbrook’s two losses were by a combined nine points to a pair of teams with a combined record of 13-3, the Raiders are starting to look like a team no one wants to draw in the middle of the Class 8A bracket.

About the Chargers: Stagg is trying to avoid a winless season but will be hard pressed with another quality opponent on deck. Stagg’s defensive woes have been well documented and the problems continued in a 42-21 loss to Bradley-Bourbonnais in Week 8. The Chargers have surrendered at least 36 points to every team but one.

FND pick: Bolingbrook

Bradley-Bourbonnais (4-4) at Lincoln-Way East (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 42, Bradley-Bourbonnais 7 (2019)

About the Boilermakers: Needing a win to earn a playoff berth, the Boilermakers face a team they have had limited success against. And if they do lose this game, they have nowhere near enough playoff points to earn a bid as a four-win team.

About the Griffins: After a shocking loss to Sandburg in Week 6, Lincoln-Way East has responded with its best two efforts of the season in back-to-back wins over Homewood-Flossmoor and Lockport. This Griffins seem to have found their identity, particularly on offense where it is mixing strong running from RB Tre Johnson with an aerial connection between QB Brennan Stolarek and wide receiver Jack Tremblay. East is hopeful the injury Stolarek suffered in the waning moments of the win over Lockport doesn’t prove to serious.

FND pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way Central (2-6) at Sandburg (4-4)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way Central 14, Sandburg 11 (2018)

About the Knights: Lincoln-Way Central has lost its rhythm. Bolingbrook put an end to the Week 8 matchup rather quickly, and the Knights are mired in a four-game losing streak where they have been giving up points in bunches. Sandburg has a lot more to play for, but the Knights have nothing to lose.

About the Eagles: Everyone pretty much expected that Sandburg would show signs of improvement after hiring Phillips coach Troy McCallister in the offseason to rebuild the program. It appears McCallister’s missives are sticking faster than expected. The Eagles already had one of the bigger upsets of the season with a win over Lincoln-Way East and showed that wasn’t a fluke by toppling Homewood-Flossmoor in Week 8. That means Sandburg needs a win for a playoff berth, something that seemed implausible after starting 1-4.

FND pick: Sandburg

Lincoln-Way West (4-4) at Homewood-Flossmoor (4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way West 23, Homewood-Flossmoor 17 (Spring 2021)

About the Warriors: A difficult start to the season led to the Warriors putting themselves in a precarious playoff position almost immediately. But they have regrouped nicely in the second half of the season, and with a splendid second-half effort from RB Justin Harris, they have put themselves in a position to control their own destiny. A win over Homewood-Flossmoor won’t be easy, but the Warriors seem to have momentum on their side.

About the Vikings: In a trend it was hoping would not repeat itself, Homewood-Flossmoor finds itself struggling to finish the season after back-to-back losses to Lincoln-Way East and Sandburg the past two weeks. A must-win situation is not what H-F expected after a 3-0 start.

FND pick: Lincoln-Way West

Southwest Prairie Conference

Plainfield Central (7-1) at Joliet Central (0-8)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield Central 42, Joliet Central 6 (Spring 2021)

About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central continues to add accomplishments during a breakout season. A win would give it eight wins, tying the school record with three other teams. The school record for wins, with playoffs included, is 11. Plainfield Central’s offense has been on a roll, but a defense led by linebackers Ethan Obeng and Phillip Carlton has been a constant all season.

About the Steelmen: Joliet Central has fought valiantly throughout the season, but the deck is stacked against it before most games even start. The Steelmen dressed only 19 healthy varsity players in a Week 8 loss to Joliet Central, which would put a strain on any program, but especially one playing 7A and 8A teams that often have three times as many athletes. QB Carl Bew continues to fight, accounting for about all of Joliet Central’s points this season.

FND pick: Plainfield Central

Plainfield East (4-4) at Romeoville (1-7)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield East 40, Romeoville 17 (2019)

About the Bengals: Plainfield East stormed back into the playoff conversation by beating Plainfield South, 45-32, in Week 8. QB Brandon Parades continues to show more poise than you would expect from a freshman. He threw three touchdowns and ran for another in the pivotal win. Moving forward, Plainfield East will likely go as far as the defense can take it. The unit has been up and down all season.

About the Spartans: Romeoville’s season has been marked by a few solid performances by its offense, but in about every game this year defensive woes have kept it from being truly competitive. Whatever offensive success the Spartans do have likely will come courtesy of RB Jahmari Christian.

FND pick: Plainfield East

Plainfield North (6-2) at Oswego East (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield North 17, Oswego 10 (Spring 2021)

About the Tigers: Plainfield North is grinding opponents into submission right now. The Tigers defense is giving up next to nothing. Although the offense isn’t exactly putting up massive numbers, the ability to sustain drives and wear down opponents is a formula that not many foes have had an answer for.

About the Wolves: The second half of the season has not been as kind to the Wolves, who started 4-0. They might have to play this game without starting QB Trey Jones, who left the crosstown rivalry contest with Oswego in Week 8 with an injury. Either way, Oswego East probably will look to RB Darquel Sanders to shoulder a heavier load.

FND pick: Plainfield North

Plainfield South (3-5) at Joliet West (2-6)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet West 29, Plainfield South 13 (2019)

About the Cougars: The up-and-down season for Plainfield South continued with a 45-32 loss to Plainfield East in Week 8, ending any chance of a playoff berth. They have run the football well with Brian Stanton, but that’s been about the only constant. It’s largely a young core for Plainfield South and some hard lessons have been learned this season.

About the Tigers: Joliet West put together all phases during a 41-6 win over Joliet Central in Week 8, but it has been a frustrating season overall for the Tigers. It would have been interesting to see how strong of a defense Joliet West would have had if they played the full slate without interruption. Junior QB Evan Gould has assumed the reins of the offense in the second half and has shown potential. He certainly will benefit from more reps.

FND pick: Planfield South

West Aurora (3-5) at Minooka (4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Minooka 42, West Aurora 21 (Spring 2021)

About the Blackhawks: West Aurora still has hopes it can possibly move into the playoff conversation as a four-win at-large team, but in order to do that it will have to do something it hasn’t done: win a Southwest Prairie West divisional game.

About the Indians: Minooka continues to flirt with disaster in regards to its playoff status, but now clearly controls its own destiny. Minooka fended off a pesky Yorkville team in overtime in Week 8. RB Malik Armstrong has become a reliable source of offense, but even he had difficulty getting things on track against Yorkville, a team that recently has become a thorn in Minooka’s side.

FND pick: Minooka

CCL/ESCC

Joliet Catholic (8-0) at Montini (3-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 35, Montini 27 (2018)

About the Hilltoppers: It took a while for the Hilltoppers to get going in the Week 8 victory over Benet, and even though they were a bit shorthanded they eventually ran away for a 42-20 win. The victory came with limited usage of RB Jordan Anderson and without the services of starting QB Aidan Voss, who sat out with an injury. RB Vinny Iannantone had another big night pacing the offense, while TJ Schlageter filled in admirably at quarterback.

About the Broncos: Montini played arguably the most difficult schedule in the state this season, and it isn’t that surprising that it now needs a mammoth upset to even get in the conversation for a potential playoff slot. Montini’s opponents have combined for 45 wins through eight weeks. Since the Broncos weren’t multiplied this season, they would be a Class 3A playoff team as a qualifier.

FND pick: Joliet Catholic

Providence (3-5) at St. Laurence (3-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 33, St. Laurence 7 (Spring 2021)

About the Celtics: Despite a 3-5 record, the Celtics have plenty to play for this week because of their high number of playoff points. Injuries have ravaged Providence’s roster, particularly in the second half, but maybe it can get some momentum from trying to give veteran coach Mark Coglianese a win in his final regular-season game.

About the Vikings: Another CCL/ESCC team that has played a rigorous schedule, and a shutout loss to Niles Notre Dame in Week 8 put the Vikings in a difficult spot. St. Laurence likely has the playoff points to qualify as a four-win at-large team if that becomes an option, but a rough second half leads one to believe winning this game might be tougher than it appears.

FND pick: St. Laurence

South Suburban Conference

Lemont (8-0) at Oak Forest (4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 40, Oak Forest 0 (2019)

About Lemont: Lemont is looking to complete the sweep in the South Suburban Conference. Based on previous results, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be difficult. Lemont has scored 286 points in six games against South Suburban foes, and could stack up quite a few more here. RB Albert Kunickis likely will play a large role for Lemont.

About the Bengals: Oak Forest is one of a large list of teams at 4-4 and will need a pretty substantial upset to get to five wins. The Bengals have lost to three opponents this season that Lemont has handily beaten, making it unlikely for an Oak Forest upset.

FND pick: Lemont

Illinois Central Eight Conference

Peotone (5-3) at Lisle (5-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lisle 21, Peotone 0 (Spring 2021)

About the Blue Devils: Peotone has done enough to lock up a playoff berth, but the lack of depth has given it little breathing room. The Blue Devils outlasted Herscher, 19-6, in Week 8, as both teams dressed fewer than 20 players. The running game remains a critical part of the Peotone attack, something that won’t come easy against a Lisle defensive front that has been stingy of late.

About the Lions: Lisle has been in a number of close games this season, and proven it knows how to get those narrow wins. Lisle’s been picked off by the same three teams in league play (Coal City, Wilmington and Reed-Custer) that Peotone has and by similar margins, so it stands to reason that this one should break on a few plays here or there.

FND pick: Lisle

Reed-Custer (7-1) at Herscher (2-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Herscher 21, Reed-Custer 15 (Spring 2021)

About the Comets: It was another breakthrough victory for Reed-Custer against Coal City, 33-9. It was only the program’s sixth victory over Coal City in more than 40 attempts. The dominance indicated that Reed-Custer is ready to be a major factor in the Class 3A draw, and a win likely would mean multiple home playoff games could be a possibility with advancement.

About the Tigers: Herscher has been remarkably competitive considering it has had a roster under 20 players for much of the season. The Tigers might have one last hurrah in them for veteran head coach Dan Wetzel, who will retire from coaching after this game. A win here would require a herculean effort against a Reed-Custer team that is playing extremely well.

FND pick: Reed-Custer

Streator (3-5) at Coal City (5-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 48, Streator 0 (Spring 2021)

About the Bulldogs: Streator did a fair job of hanging around in Illinois Central Eight games earlier in the season, but that has changed recently. The Bulldogs have been overwhelmed in back-to-back games against Reed-Custer and Wilmington.

About the Coalers: After Coal City started 1-2, it appeared to be righting the ship with four consecutive victories to secure a playoff berth for the 10th consecutive year. But things went awry in Week 8 in a 33-9 loss to Reed-Custer. It would be surprising if the Coalers didn’t get back to basics, utilizing their power running game led by RB Ashton Harvey to control the game’s tempo.

FND pick: Coal City

Wilmington (8-0) at Manteno (2-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wilmington 51, Manteno 28 (2019)

About the Wildcats: Wilmington is only one win away from another unbeaten run through the Illinois Central Eight. The running game is forcing opponents into submission as a variety of runners are stacking up yardage and touchdowns. The ground game has been so strong that it has required virtually no passing from Wilmington. Defensively, the Wildcats have allowed no more than two touchdowns to any foe.

About the Panthers: Manteno typically is a high-octane offense, but this season has been a much more difficult than usual for the Panthers. They have been better in the second half of the season in terms of competitiveness, but this is a rather large jump up in quality of competition.

FND pick: Wilmington

Interstate 8 Conference

Sycamore (6-2) at Morris (8-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sycamore 21, Morris 14 (Spring 2021)

About the Spartans: Sycamore seems to be doing what it often does this time of year, priming itself for a postseason run. The Spartans have posted back-to-back shutouts entering this game with the conference crown on the line. Sycamore, like Morris, has had little to no trouble in division play this season, and like Morris, has been posting points at a fairly epic rate.

About Morris: Morris is one of only 30 teams that have the opportunity to run table for the regular season, and this likely is the biggest challenge Morris will face while trying to do so. A lot has been made about how outstanding the offense has been, but the defense deserves as much or more of the credit for a tremendous season to date.

FND pick: Sycamore

Vermilion Valley Conference

Seneca (3-5) at Dwight (1-7)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Seneca 32, Dwight 6 (Spring 2021)

About the Fighting Irish: Seneca seems to be progressing nicely with a pretty young roster. The Fighting Irish had a notable win over Clifton Central, 30-14. The playoffs aren’t in the cards for Seneca, but there’s an opportunity to finish on a high note.

About the Trojans: Dwight’s season has been rough, and it has had a difficult time scoring points in the second half of the season. The Trojans also missed a few games earlier in the season which likely hurt the team’s development. Dwight would like finish the season with a positive, giving its younger players something to work toward for next season.

FND pick: Seneca