Here are the first-round matchups for each Northwest Herald area team. Dates and times will be updated when confirmed.
No. 16 Marengo (5-4) at No. 1 Joliet Catholic (9-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Joliet Catholic: The Hilltoppers enter the postseason with 14 state titles to their name, most recently a 35-27 win over Montini in the Class 5A state title game in 2018. … Joliet Catholic ran through the regular season at 9-0 and won the CCL/ESCC Orange Division. The Hilltoppers averaged 44.3 points a game and allowed 19 a game. … RB Jordan Anderson, who was limited in Week 8, ran for 148 yards on 18 carries in a 44-28 win against Montini in Week 9. RB Vinny Iannantone added 185 yards on 29 carries. QB Aidan Voss returned from an injury and completed 7-of-10 passes for 137 yards.
About Marengo: The Indians were tied for fourth-highest in playoff points among the 5-4 teams with 48. This is their third consecutive trip to the playoffs. … QB Josh Holst has an area-best 20 touchdown passes and has thrown for 1,928 yards. He also have more than 400 rushing yards and five touchdowns. … RB Dylan Stolz has carried a huge load with 182 carries and 873 rushing yards. … WR Collin Aubry leads the team with 43 catches for 633 yards and eight TDs. WR Logan Miller has 37 receptions for the season and has had huge games the last two weeks with 17 receptions for 257 yards combined.
No. 15 Chicago Sullivan (6-3) at No. 2 Richmond-Burton (9-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Chicago Sullivan: The Tigers are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year. … Sullivan lost three of its last four games after a 5-0 start, falling to Mather (7-6) in Week 6, Amundsen (34-0) in Week 8 and Hyde Park (20-12) in Week 9. Its six wins also included a forfeit win in Week 1 over Juarez. … The Tigers have been stout defensively, allowing 11 points a game. Their offense is averaging just over 15 points a game.
About Richmond-Burton: The Rockets are the defending Class 4A state champions and have won 29 consecutive games. They are making their 14th consecutive playoff appearance. … R-B is No. 3 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll. … R-B’s last loss came against IC Catholic, 28-9, in the 2018 playoff semifinals. … R-B’s defense has allowed only 91 points and has three shutouts. Friday’s 42-24 win over Marengo was the most points the Rockets have given up. … FB Brock Wood leads the Rockets with 1,188 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. … RB Steven Siegel has 529 yards rushing and 12 TDs. … QB Joe Miller doesn’t throw a lot, but is completing 68.4% of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception. … Rockets coach Mike Noll is in his 32nd season as head coach between McHenry, Glenbrook South and R-B and has made the playoffs in all but two seasons (both at Glenbrook South).
No. 1 Cary-Grove (9-0) vs. No. 16 Rockford East (5-4)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Cary-Grove: The Trojans are in the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. … C-G is ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll. … The Trojans have now allowed more than 22 points in any game. … FB Nick Hissong (1,104), RB Drew Magel (740), RB Wade Abrams (588) and QB Jameson Sheehan (538) give the Trojans great balance in their triple-option offense. Hissong averages 9.1 yards a carry, the other three are all well over double digits. … TE Noah Riley has 23 catches for 405 yards and six touchdowns. … Sheehan is completing 63.6% of his passes and has eight TDs with one interception.
About Rockford East: The E-Rabs are back in the postseason after a 2-7 record in 2019, the last season the IHSA playoffs were held. Rockford East also went to the postseason in 2017 and 2018. … The E-Rabs earned their fifth win by forfeit against Jefferson in Week 8. … Rockford East was fifth in the NIC-10 at 5-4. … Entering Week 8, RB Javius Catlin had 980 yards and eight touchdowns, including 289 yards and three TDs in a Week 7 win over Freeport. … Through eight weeks, QB Ryan Larson had five passing touchdowns on only 15 completions (out of 44).
No. 12 Crystal Lake Central (6-3) at No. 5 Chicago Amundsen (8-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Winnemac Stadium.
About Chicago Amundsen: The Vikings are making their third straight postseason appearance. Amundsen won its first eight games before falling to Morgan Park, 46-7, in Week 9. … The Vikings averaged 38.3 points a game and allowed only 13.8. … Seven of Amundsen’s eight wins came by three touchdowns or more. The Vikings closest game was in Week 1, a 29-28 victory over Lincoln Park. … Amundsen went 5-0 to win the Chicago Public League Illini-Windy City Conference title.
About Crystal Lake Central: The Tigers are in the playoffs for the third time in four years. … QB Colton Madura is a dual-threat performer who has thrown for 1,310 yards and 13 touchdowns and run for 738 yards and 11 touchdowns. … RB Brent Blitek has rushed for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns. … Madura has a variety of targets to throw to with Jake Carnrite (32-415), George Dimopoulos (24-442), Charlie Fleming (21-348) and Jason Penza (15-268).
No. 10 Vernon Hills (7-2) at No. 7 Prairie Ridge (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Prairie Ridge: The Wolves are in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. … They won the Class 6A state titles in 2016 and 2017, and were runners-up to East St. Louis in 2019. … Prairie Ridge has been putting up big points with 56 and 69 in its last two games. … FB Nathan Greetham (1,151), RB Zach Bentsen (891), QB Mason Loucks (716) and RB Tyler Vasey (427) give the Wolves great balance with their triple-option. … Vasey was injured to start the season and was supposed to be starting quarterback. His return, at running back, has made the Wolves even more dangerous.
About Vernon Hills: Vernon Hills is making its first postseason appearance since 2016 and only third since 2011. Vernon Hills most recently took runner-up in Class 5A in 2016. … The Cougars ended the season with four straight wins, defeating their opponents (Maine West, Niles North, Highland Park and Maine East) by a combined average score of 39-8. … RB Nathan Lee has run for 515 yards and 11 touchdowns, while RB Ben Choi has a team-high 830 yards and six TDs. … Nolan Lazor and Jake Pieper each saw playing at quarterback and have six touchdowns apiece.
No. 14 Crystal Lake South (5-4) at No. 3 Harlem (8-1)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
About Harlem: The Huskies are making their 13th straight postseason appearance, with all previous 13 in 7A. … Harlem was runner-up to Hononegah in the NIC-10, with its only loss to Hononegah, 14-6, in Week 1. … The Huskies have won eight in a row entering the playoffs and defeated Auburn, 36-0, in Week 9, for their fourth shutout of the season. … Harlem has averaged 32.2 points a game. … Entering Week 9, RB Adrian Palos had a team-high 850 yards on 98 carries and 15 touchdowns. QB Austin Redmon passed for 653 yards, nine TDs and four interceptions through eight weeks.
About Crystal Lake South: The Gators won their Week 9 game at Huntley, 28-14, to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season. … QB Justin Kowalak leads the area with 1,956 passing yards and has thrown for 16 touchdowns with five interceptions. … RB Nate Van Witzenburg has rushed for 1,046 yards and 13 TDs and is the Gators’ second-leading receiver with 28 catches. … WRs Michael Prokos (48-803), Cooper LePage (21-380), Brady Schroeder (23-297) and Colton Hess (22-268) are South’s receivers.
No. 28 Hampshire (5-4) at No. 5 Moline (8-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
About Moline: The Maroons are making their fourth straight postseason appearance and fifth in seven years. Moline closed out a perfect run in the Western Big 6 with a 7-0 record and goes into the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak. … Moline has racked up 350 points (38.9 point a game) and allowed only 85 (9.4 points a game). … The Maroons lone loss was to Benet, 23-21, in Week 2. They recorded four straight shutouts from Weeks 4 to 7 against Rock Island, Alleman, East Moline United, Galesburg.
About Hampshire: The Whip-Purs are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and are in Class 7A for the first time. … QB Tyler Fikis has rushed for 1,077 yards and 11 touchdowns and thrown for 1,409 and 13 touchdowns. … Hampshire ended a 24-game losing skid in Week 8 of the 2019 season and has gone 11-5 since that point. … TE Devin Yeats (22-500) and WR Zach Vodraska (17-304) are the Whips’ leading receivers.
No. 19 Jacobs (6-3) at No. 14 Hersey (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Jacobs: The Golden Eagles are in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. … Jacobs has a powerful running game, led by senior RBs Ben Ludlum and Nasir Canty. … Ludlum has an area-high 1,422 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns and has eclipsed 100 yards in every game this year. Going back to the spring, he’s gone over 100 in 12 straight. … Canty has 988 rushing yards and 15 scores. … QB Max Benner has thrown for 574 yards and five touchdowns. … TE Grant Stec, who has offers from Illinois and Iowa, has 17 catches for 322 yards and five TDs.
About Hersey: Hersey is in the playoffs for the fourth straight year and sixth time in the past eight seasons. … The Huskies lost their final two games by a combined two points. Hersey fell to Prospect, 24-23, in Week 8 and Buffalo Grove, 21-20, in Week 9, finishing third in the Mid-Suburban League. … Harlem averaged 37.9 points a game and allowed 12.8 … The Huskies like to throw, with QB Jimmy Makuh completing 92 of 128 attempts (71.9%) through the first seven weeks of the season with 1,597 yards, 19 touchdowns and no interceptions.