Here are the first-round matchups for each Sauk Valley Media area team. Dates and times will be updated when confirmed.
No. 13 Chicago St. Patrick (5-4) at No. 4 Sterling (7-2)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
About St. Patrick: The Shamrocks went 3-0 in the CCL/ESCC Purple division, despite being outscored 244-190 this season. ... St. Patrick defeated St. Viator 17-7 on Friday to snap two-game losing streak. ... The Shamrocks scored 27 points or more four times (all wins), and allowed 35 or more points five times, going 1-4 in those games. ... St. Patrick finished 3-1 at home, 2-3 on the road.
About Sterling: The Golden Warriors have outscored opponents 296-172 this season, and have limited opposing teams to 18 points or fewer five times. ... Sterling has scored at least 31 points in six games, but scored just 17 total points in its two losses. ... RB Antonio Tablante crossed the 1,000-yard mark with a 216-yard game Friday night against United Township, and now has 1,065 yards and 14 TDs on the ground. ... QB Drew Kested has run for 468 yards and 9 TDs, and thrown for 563 yards and 2 TDs. ... Luis Diaz has made all 6 of his field-goal attempts this season, and is also 34-for-36 on PAT kicks.
No. 11 Dixon (6-3) at No. 6 Chicago Phillips (7-2)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday at Gately Stadium
About Dixon: The Dukes have a 340-159 scoring edge this season, and have scored 35 points or more six times while allowing 20 points or fewer six times. ... Dixon snapped a two-game losing streak with a 46-13 win over Rock Falls on Friday night. ... RBs Zavion Johnson (51 rushes, 617 yards, 6 TDs) and Rylan Ramsdell (81-572, 6 TDs) lead the ground game, while QBs Tyler Shaner (494 rush yards, 5 TDs; 906 passing yards, 16 TDs, 3 INTs) and Jacob Gaither (225 rush yards, 3 TDs; 297 passing yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs) have operated the offense smoothly. ... WRs Mason Randick (37 catches, 483 yards, 10 TDs), Jacob Gusse (25-338, 7 TDs) and Jath St. Pier (16-269, 2 TDs) have been the favorite targets on the perimeter.
About Phillips: The Wildcats won the Chicago Public League’s Illini Land of Lincoln title with a perfect 5-0 record, outscoring their opponents 244-123 on the season. ... Phillips won its final seven games after losses in the first two weeks, and hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in a game during the win streak. After being outscored 75-6 in the two losses, Phillips has held a 238-54 scoring edge since. ... The last two wins were 40-0 over Lincoln Park and 50-6 over Payton. ... First-year head coach Joe Winslow was the offensive coordinator for 10 years under Troy McAllister, who went 94-28 in 11 seasons before leaving prior to this season to take the head coaching job at Sandburg. ... The Wildcats won state titles in 2015 (Class 4A) and 2017 (Class 5A), the only state titles in Chicago Public League history.
No. 9 Newman (6-3) at No. 8 Mercer County (6-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
About Newman: The Comets have won three straight games and four of the last five to clinch a playoff berth. ... Newman has outscored opponents 195-138, giving up 17 points or fewer seven times this season. ... Marcus Williams (46 rushes, 551 yards, 6 TDs) leads a balanced running attack that has also seen Ethan Van Landuit (74-383, 5 TDs), Nolan Britt (39-302, 3 TDs), Brennen Cook (61-284, 4 TDs) and Hunter Luyando (39-195, 2 TDs) also share the load. ... QB Cody Donna has thrown for 378 yards, 2 TDs and 5 INTs, with Owen McBride (7 catches, 128 yards, TD) and Van Landuit (7-71) serving as his favorite targets.
About Mercer County: The Golden Eagles outscored their opponents 302-158 this season, including a 248-52 scoring edge during its current five-game winning streak. ... Mercer County has rolled up some big numbers recently, scoring 62 points in Week 5, 64 in Week 7 and 54 in Week 8. ... The Golden Eagles scored 32 or more points six times this season (all wins), but managed just 14 points total in three losses; they forfeit their Week 2 game. ... Mercer County finished third in the Lincoln Trail Conference with a 6-2 record.
No. 12 Clifton Central (6-3) at No. 5 Erie-Prophetstown (7-2)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday at Erie
About Clifton Central: The Comets went 3-2 in the Vermilion Valley North this fall, finishing behind Momence and Iroquois West – but they snapped a two-game losing streak with a 32-8 win over Momence on Friday night. ... Clifton Central’s three losses were by a combined 78-20, but it outscored its opponents 203-113 this season. ... The Comets are 4-0 at home this season and 2-3 on the road.
About Erie-Prophetstown: The Panthers are riding a seven-game winning streak after losing their first two games of the season. ... E-P has scored 25 points or more in all seven wins, and is 6-1 in games where it allows 16 points or fewer. ... QB Kolby Franks has been a true dual threat this season, rushing for 1,100 yards and 16 TDs, and throwing for 725 yards and 6 scores. ... Connor Sibley has run for 715 yards and 7 TDs, while Jase Grunder has 335 rushing yards and 9 scores. ... Mason Misfeldt has 600 total yards and 6 TDs on the season, 4 receiving and 2 rushing.
No. 14 Galena (5-4) at No. 3 Forreston (7-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About Galena: The Pirates finished 4-4 in the NUIC, including a 52-20 loss at home to Forreston in Week 5. ... Galena has won three of its four games since that loss, including a 41-40 double-overtime victory over Eastland-Pearl City in Week 6 – which turned out to be crucial to earning a playoff berth. ... The Pirates officially became playoff eligible with a 49-14 win over East Dubuque on Friday night. ... Galena has outscored its opponents 222-202 this season. ... QB Ethan Hefel threw for more than 900 yards and ran for more than 200 this season. ... RB Sam Eaton ran for more than 300 yards, and RB Julian Garcia-Ayala had more than 250 yards on the ground. ... WR Brady Schemehorn led the NUIC with more than 500 yards receiving.
About Forreston: The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games, including a 22-20, come-from-behind win on a touchdown on the final play of the game against Lena-Winslow on Friday night. ... Forreston holds a 304-152 scoring edge this season, having scored 34 points or more six times and given up 20 points or fewer seven times; the Cardinals have not allowed more than 28 points in a game this fall. ... Forreston controls the game on the ground with six different ballcarriers sharing the load: Matthew Beltran, Jacob Fiorello, Devonte King-Black, Noah Johnson, Kaleb Sanders and Micah Nelson.
No. 10 Chicago Raby (6-3) at No. 7 Fulton (7-2)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
About Raby: The Raiders placed third in the Chicago Public League’s Illini Prairie State division with a 3-2 record, finishing behind Payton and Clark, which both went 4-1. Noble/Bulls also made the playoffs from that league. ... Raby has outscored its opponents 184-103, and has won its last two games following a two-game losing streak. ... The Raiders have put up 20 or more points in each win, but scored 14 or fewer in every loss. ... Raby fell to Payton 3-0 in Week 6. ... The Raiders were 2-2 both at home and on the road, and won a neutral site game.
About Fulton: The Steamers hit the postseason on a four-game winning streak, having outscored their opponents 170-42 in that span. ... On the season, Fulton holds a 287-167 scoring edge. ... The Steamers have scored 24 points or more in seven different games, and allowed 14 points or fewer six times. ... RB Keegan VanKampen has run for more than 800 yards and 15 TDs, and he also has 2 TD catches. ... Jacob Jones has more than 500 yards rushing and 250 yards receiving, with 8 total TDs (5 rushing, 3 receiving). ... Patrick Lower has thrown for more than 500 yards and 7 TDs.
No. 16 Sciota West Prairie/Southeastern (4-5) at No. 1 Polo (9-0)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
About West Prairie: They finished eighth out of 12 teams in the South Division, and were outscored 314-147 this season. ... West Prairie allowed 52 or more points five times this season, and scored more than 24 points just once. ... After losing four of its first five games, West Prairie has won two straight and three of its last four.
About Polo: The Marcos have been dominant all season, outscoring foes 353-100. They have scored at least 36 points in all seven contested games, and have allowed 30 points or fewer five times. ... With no playoffs held this past spring during the COVID season, top-ranked Polo is still the defending 8-man state champion after taking the title in 2019. ... In their last four games since receiving consecutive forfeits, the Marcos have outscored their opponents 218-34. ... RBs Avery Grenoble and Brock Soltow provide a potent 1-2 punch on the ground, and QB Tyler Merdian is a dual threat. TE Kahlil Sankey is a tall target down the field.
No. 15 Bushnell-Prairie City (4-5) at No. 2 Milledgeville (8-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
About BPC: The Spartans have been outscored 282-278 this season, and finished seventh in the South Division. ... BPC has lost three of its last four games, including a 52-12 loss to Pawnee/Lincolnwood in the regular-season finale Friday night. ... The Spartans allowed 38 or more points in every loss, while scoring 28 or fewer. ... They also scored 30 or more in every win, and scored at least 52 points three times.
About Milledgeville: The Missiles have scored at least 48 points in each of their last six games, and hold a 397-146 scoring edge this season. ... Milledgeville’s defense has given up 16 points or fewer in five of its eight contested games. ... QB Connor Nye can hurt defenses and score touchdowns with both his arm and his legs. ... Ashton Nobis leads the running backs, while Bryce Aude is the Missiles’ top receiver.
No. 10 Amboy-LaMoille (5-4) at No. 7 Freeport Aquin (6-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
About Amboy: The Clippers have won three of their last four games – including a forfeit win over AFC – to finish the regular season above .500. ... Amboy has outscored its opponents 311-221 this season, having scored 46 points or more five times, and given up 24 points or fewer five times. ... Despite both teams being in the North Division, the Clippers did not play Aquin during the regular season. ... QB Tucker Lindenmeyer can move the ball on the ground and through the air, while RBs Kye Koch, Dylan Daniels, Jordan Gulley and Joe Quest can all provide some pop in the ground game.
About Aquin: The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 346-182 this season, but have lost two of their last three – to North Division leaders Milledgeville (48-28 in Week 7) and Polo (38-20 on Friday night). ... Aquin has scored 42 or more points five times – all wins – and have allowed 22 points or fewer in all six victories. ... In all of their losses, the Bulldogs have still scored at least 20 points. ... QB Aiden Wolfe threw for 199 yards and 2 TDs against Polo in Week 9, while receiver Ollie Arndt had 7 catches for 117 yards and a score.