No. 7 Stillman Valley (8-2) at No. 2 Richmond-Burton (10-0)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
About the Cardinals: Stillman Valley defeated Chicago Hyde Park, 62-14, to advance to the second round. … The Cardinals lean heavily on the run. FB Jory Spain leads the team with 800 rushing yards, while RBs Gage Henderson and Porter Needs both have close to 500. … DL Andrew Latham has eight sacks and DL Dylan Davis has seven. DB Madix Barrett has five interceptions. … Cardinals coach Mike Lalor played at Marian Central and was on the Hurricanes’ last Class 2A state champion in 1989. Lalor has won five state championships at Stillman Valley (2A in 1999 and 2000, 3A in 2003, 2009 and 2013). … In the final Class 4A poll from The Associated Press, Stillman Valley was just outside the top 10.
About the Rockets: R-B defeated Chicago Sullivan, 56-0, in the first round and enters the game with the state’s current longest winning streak at 30 games. … R-B was No. 3 in Class 4A most of the season and dropped one spot when Rochester fell from 5A to 4A for the playoffs. … FB Brock Wood is second in the area with 1,288 yards and 23 touchdowns. RB Steven Siegel has 617 yards and 12 touchdowns. … R-B has allowed only 91 points for the season and has four shutouts. The Rockets held Sullivan to minus-8 yards. … R-B last faced Stillman Valley in the playoffs in 2011. The Rockets won that game, 40-28, and then lost to Rochester, 42-39, in the championship game.
Up next: The winner advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of No. 6 Chicago Phillips (8-2) at No. 3 Kewanee (9-1).
Friday Night Drive pick: Richmond-Burton
No. 1 Cary-Grove (10-0) at No. 9 Grayslake Central (8-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Trojans: C-G rolled past Rockford East, 42-8, in the first round and has not lost since the Class 6A quarterfinals in 2019, a 14-13 loss at Prairie Ridge. … C-G has outscored opponents, 475-129, and its closest game was a 14-point win over Jacobs. … FB Nick Hissong leads a balanced rushing attack with 1,156 yards and 16 touchdowns. RBs Drew Magel (751) and Wade Abrams (588) and QB Jameson Sheehan (583) give defenses a lot to consider with the Trojans’ triple-option. … C-G has made the playoffs every season since 2004 and advanced to the quarterfinals all but four times during that stretch. … The FVC champion Trojans finished the season No. 2 in Class 6A.
About the Rams: Grayslake Central beat Belvidere North, 27-22, last week for its third playoff victory in school history, its first since 2010. … The Rams finished third in the Northern Lake County Conference at 5-2, behind Wauconda (7-0) and Antioch (6-1). … Grayslake Central coach Mike Maloney coached Johnsburg from 2012-2014, then at Marian Central from 2015-2018. … The Rams have 1,907 yards passing and 1,887 rushing. … QB Darryl Overstreet is completing 62.3% of his passes for 1,889 yards and 19 touchdowns. His top targets are TE Kurt Heerdegen (6-4, 220), who has 48 catches for 706 yards and seven touchdowns, and WR Kaiden Miller (6-2, 190), who has caught 37 balls for 788 yards and nine TDs. … Miller leads the Rams with 452 rushing yards, Matthew Jens has 429 and Jeremiah Poyser has 417.
Up next: The winner advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of No. 4 Deerfield (9-1) at No. 12 Crystal Lake Central (7-3).
FND pick: Cary-Grove
No. 4 Deerfield (9-1) at No. 12 Crystal Lake Central (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Warriors: Deerfield defeated Chicago Mather, 27-0, in the first round. … The Warriors, No. 10 in the final Class 6A poll, won the Central Suburban Conference North Division with a 5-0 mark. Their lone loss came in Week 3 to Rolling Meadows, 17-14. … QB Austin Layette has thrown for 1,080 yards and 13 touchdowns in nine games (the Warriors won by forfeit against Maine East in Week 8). … RB Luke Woodson has rushed for 973 yards and 13 touchdowns and also has caught 18 passes, three for touchdowns. … WR Luke Jones leads the team with 30 catches and nine TDs. … On defense, LB Vincent Sciarrone has 106 tackles, 18 tackles for losses and five sacks. LB Braeden Wittkamp has 95 tackles with 14 TFLs and four sacks.
About the Tigers: Central defeated Chicago Amundsen, 55-28, in the first round. The Tigers put up 55 points in the first half and played their second teams in the second half. … Central is trying to advance to the quarterfinals for the third time in school history. The first was in 1978 when only one win was needed to reach that round (16 teams made the playoffs in each class). The Tigers lost to Cary-Grove, 7-0, in the 2012 quarterfinals. … QB Colton Madura has thrown for 1,532 yards and 16 touchdowns and missed most of three games with a hip injury. He is completing 64.2% of his passes and has run for 814 yards. … RB Brent Blitek has 977 yards and 13 TDs. … Madura likes to spread things around to his receivers. Jake Carnrite (34 receptions), George Dimopoulos (25), Charlie Fleming (21) and Jason Penza (12) all have had big games for the Tigers.
Up next: The winner advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of No. 1 Cary-Grove at No. 9 Grayslake Central.
FND pick: Crystal Lake Central
No. 7 Prairie Ridge (8-2) at No. 2 Wauconda (10-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Wolves: Prairie Ridge cruised past Vernon Hills, 49-0, in the first round. … The Wolves are in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year and have been to the quarterfinals in five of those seasons. … Prairie Ridge was just outside the final Class 6A top 10. … FB Nathan Greetham leads the Wolves with 1,151 yards rushing. RBs Zach Bentsen (917) and Tyler Vasey (564 in four games) and QB Mason Loucks (776) give the Wolves great balance in their triple-option. … Prairie Ridge’s defense notched its first shutout of the season last week and produced five turnovers.
About the Bulldogs: Wauconda defeated Lakes, 41-7, in the first round. It was the Bulldogs’ first playoff win since 1992 when they beat Cary-Grove, 28-16, in the Class 4A second-round game. … QB Vince Bennett has 627 passing yards and 665 rushing yards. … RB Colin Husko leads the Bulldogs with 1,071 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. … WR Claxton Glasby leads Wauconda with 15 receptions. … The Bulldogs’ closest game was a 29-13 victory over Antioch as they won the Northern Lake County Conference at 7-0.
Up next: The winner advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of No. 6 Lake Forest (8-2) at No. 3 Harlem (9-1).
FND pick: Prairie Ridge
No. 3 Normal Community (10-0) at No. 19 Jacobs (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Ironmen: Normal defeated Blue Island Eisenhower, 33-6, in the first round. … The Ironmen finished at No. 6 in the final Class 7A poll and were challenged only twice this season while winning the Big Twelve. They beat Peoria Notre Dame, 29-22, and beat Peoria Central, 42-38. … Normal looks to a variety of backs for its rushing yards. QB Chase Mackey leads the team with 525 yards, while Tommy Davis (409), Chris Taylor (391) and Michael Coleman (228) also get plenty of work. … Mackey has thrown for 1,041 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. … WR Terrance Washington is the Ironmen’s chief receiving threat with 29 catches for 548 yards and eight touchdowns.
About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs defeated Hersey, 48-20, on the road to win its first-round game. … The Eagles are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017. … Jacobs is trying to win two playoff games in the same postseason for the second time in school history. The Eagles made the Class 7A quarterfinals in 2016. … RB Ben Ludlum has rushed for 100 yards or more in 14 consecutive games and leads the area with 1,523 yards and 24 touchdowns. RB Nasir Canty had a big game last week with 176 yards and jumped to No. 3 on the area list with 1,164 yards and has 16 touchdowns. … Jacobs’ defense allowed 160 points in the first four games, but has allowed 114 in the six games since. The Eagles held C-G to 36, its lowest total of the season. That is the only game since Week 5 that they allowed more than 20 points in a game.
Up next: The winner advances to the quarterfinals to meet the winner of No. 11 Prospect (8-2) and No. 6 Buffalo Grove (9-1).
FND pick: Jacobs