Lincoln Way East wide receiver Jamal Johnson tries to evade a tackle on Aug. 30 at Lincoln Way East in New Frankfort.
Lincoln Way East wide receiver Jamal Johnson tries to evade a tackle on Aug. 30 at Lincoln Way East in New Frankfort. — Geoff Stellfox for Shaw Media

Brother Rice (3-1) at Joliet Catholic (2-2)

When: 7:30 Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 34, Brother Rice 13 (1999)

About the Hilltoppers: The last of the truly brutal crossovers for the Hilltoppers is this one, but JCA seems to be gaining some momentum at the right time for it. Joliet Catholic has been explosive on the ground in recent weeks getting some huge efforts from breakout sophomore running back Jordan Anderson.

About the Crusaders: Brother Rice bounced back nicely from its first loss of the season against Providence in Week 3 to capture a huge rivalry win over Marist in Week 4. Sensational running back Willie Shaw is a big part of the Brother Rice attack

Pick: Brother Rice

Carmel (1-3) at Providence (3-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last matchup: Providence 42, Carmel 12 (1998)

About the Celtics: The offensive groove that the Celtics found in the first three weeks of the season abandoned them in a loss to Niles Notre Dame in Week 4, but this contest should provide ample opportunity to get things back on track. Providence wasn't totally devoid of offensive movement, actually outgaining Notre Dame, but failed to finish drives with points.

About the Corsairs: On the plus side, Carmel has posted quite a few points this season. On the opposite side of the spectrum, they've given up a lot of points as well.

Pick: Providence

Joliet West (0-4) at Romeoville (0-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet West 31, Romeoville 0 (2018)

About the Spartans: Romeoville is slowly making a little bit of progress on offense, but so far it hasn't been nearly enough. The Spartans are giving up far too many points, particularly early in games, to make only mimimal gains on offense right now.

About the Tigers: Literally no one has played a stronger schedule to date than the Tigers to date as their first four opponents currently have a combined 16-0 record. Joliet West has given both Yorkville and Southwest Prairie Conference king pin Oswego their best games to date and that may set the Tigers up nicely for divisional play.

Pick: Joliet West

Minooka (4-0) at Oswego East (4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Minooka 24, Oswego East 7 (2018)

About the Wolves: The Wolves defense has been exceptional this season, allowing just two touchdowns to the opposition through four games. But this will by far be the biggest challenge the unit has faced in Minooka, who has a high octane offense capable of scoring at any time.

About the Indians: Minooka hasn't really been pushed through the first four games of the season but the schedule amps up quickly and it will be interesting to see if the Indians will rise to the occasion.

Pick: Minooka

Plainfield East (1-3) at Plainfield Central (0-4)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Plainfield East 21, Plainfield Central 20 (2018)

About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central has been waiting for the schedule to flip over to divisional play. The Wildcats found the crossover part of their slate daunting, scoring just 10 points in their first four games.

About the Bengals: The Bengals have been up and down in the early going and got what might prove to be a pivotal win during the crossover stage of the schedule. The offense has shown flashes and the quarterback/receiver tandem of Joey Morgan and Aiden Tonarelli have proven to be a potent connection.

Pick: Plainfield East

Plainfield North (4-0) at Oswego (4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego 34, Plainfield North 10 (2018)

About the Panthers: Oswego is the unquestioned king of the Southwest Prairie but the challenges to that throne begin now as numerous teams in the division want their chance at the crown holders.

About the Tigers: You can question the quality of the schedule the Tigers have played in the school's best ever start to the season, but you can't question the results. The Tigers have played dominated football through the first four weeks, tossing three consecutive shutouts and stacking up 153 points over the same stretch.

Pick: Oswego

Plainfield South (1-3) at Joliet Central (0-4)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 17, Joliet Central 10 (2018)

About the Steelmen: Like many of the Southwest Prairie East membership, there's relief that the crossover portion of the schedule is over. That doesn't mean things will all of the sudden because easier for the Steelmen, particularly in this matchup, but it probably does mean that the field should level out a little bit more for Joliet Central moving forward.

About the Cougars: Plainfield South is just one of two teams that managed to pick up a win in the crossover portion of their schedule and that gives them a bit of a leg up over their other divisional foes moving forward. An East Division title is something the Cougars can realistically aspire to, but they can't have any missteps from here on out.

Pick: Plainfield South

Bolingbrook (3-1) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Bolinbgrook 35, Bradley-Bourbonnais 13 (2018)

About the Boilermakers: The Boilermakers pulled off a theatrical double overtime win over Lincoln-Way Central in Week 4 and will hope to carry that momentum into this game with Bolingbrook. The Boliermaker defense will have to step it up in the hopes of putting the clamps on a Bolingbrook squad, that other than last week, has shown plenty of offensive firepower.

About the Raiders: Although the loss to the top-rated team in Class 8A, Lincoln-Way East, was certainly disappointing, there were lots of positives that can be taken away from the contest for the Raiders, particularly on defense. The Raiders limited big plays against an explosive offense and that's something that can be leaned upon moving forward.

Pick: Bolingbrook

Homewood-Flossmoor (4-0) at Lincoln-Way East (4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 48, Homewood-Flossmoor 6 (2018)

About the Griffins: The Griffins battled some adversity and overcame some injuries and still came out on top of what Griffins coach described as a "little bit of a backyard brawl" in a win over Bolingbrook. They should be able to get injured quarterback Kyle Quinn back for the showdown that will likely decide the SouthWest Suburban title once again.

About the Vikings: Don't think the Vikings have forgot the lopsided loss that they took at the hands of the Griffins last season. H-F hasn't really been pressed this season and odds are that changes here. Lincoln-Way East will have to figure out a way to contend with Oregon-bound Marcus Harper, who has been a beast so far this season.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way Central (1-3) at Lincoln-Way West (2-2)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way Central 22, Lincoln-Way West 14 (2018)

About the Warriors: Lincoln-Way West has been stellar on defense for most of the season and the offense has had some flashes too. But for the Warriors to really make something happen, all phases have to be put together sooner rather than later. Lincoln-Way West's offense sputtered in a loss to Andrew in Week 4, and that's a luxury they can't afford considering some of their upcoming contests.

About the Knights: It's going to be a test of resilency for the Knights, who have taken back-to-back gut punches in overtime losses to Lockport and Bradley-Bourbonnais. Like Lincoln-Way West the defensive unit has answered the bell in most games, but more offensively consistency is needed if the Knights are to make the climb back toward closer to the .500 mark.

Pick: Lincoln-Way West

Lockport (1-3) at Sandburg (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sandburg 28, Lockport 21 (2015)

About the Eagles: Sandburg's two wins may not necessarily come over top-flight opponents, but one thing seems pretty clear, the Eagles have a very stout defense unit that isn't prone to giving up points. Offensively, however, the Eagles aren't nearly as prolific and have to grind for what they get.

About the Porters: The scoreboard may not have reflected it in a Week 4 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor, but the Porters are improving. How much remains to be seen, but this could be an excellent measuring stick game to see exactly how much progress has been made.

Pick: Lockport

Lemont (3-1) at T.F. North (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 41, T.F. North 7 (2018)

About the Meteors: T.F. North pulled off a minor surprise by upending district rival T.F. South in Week 4 and hopes to keep that momentum going into this game. In order for that to happen, the Meteors will have to do better than simply being middle of the road.

About the Indians: Since a Week 1 loss to St. Charles East, Lemont has simply been overpowering foes, particularly on defense where they've allowed just six points in the last three games and tossed back-to-back shutouts. Anthony Sambucci has been an offensive force and latched onto three touchdown passes in last week's win over Oak Forest.

Pick: Lemont

Ottawa (1-3) at Morris (3-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Morris 49, Ottawa 7 (2018)

About the Redskins: The Morris offense is firing on all cylinders right now as Zack Reddinger is keying an offensive attack that most defenses are having a hard time reining in. It is unlikely to be slowed too much this week by an Ottawa program that hasn't been remotely competitve with its competition in quite a few seasons.

About the Pirates: Ottawa ended a long losing slide with a win over Chicago Juarez at the beginning of the season, but things haven't really improved overall for the Pirates since that long sought after victory.

Pick: Morris

Coal City (4-0) at Streator (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 15, Streator 0 (2018)

About the Bulldogs: Streator has had some success throwing the football this season, behind the arm of Jimmy Tredway. But this is a whole different animal in regards to the quality of defense the Bulldogs have seen.

About the Coalers: The Coalers found themselves in a grind one out type of contest in a showdown with previously undefeated Peotone in Week 4, and unfortunately for Peotone, Coal City is more than comfortable in that arena.

Pick: Coal City

Peotone (3-1) at Herscher (1-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Herscher 31, Peotone 21 (2018)

About the Tigers: Herscher was a Class 3A semifinalist last year but has found the sledding a bit more difficult this season. Herscher's defensive problems have been the most notable problem, which isn't great when faced a proficient Peotone offense.

About the Blue Devils: Peotone was tagged with its first loss to Coal City in Week 4, but the Blue Devils made a solid accounting for themselves. The Blue Devils should be able to get their punishing ground game back on track in this one.

Pick: Peotone

Reed-Custer (1-3) at Manteno (1-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Reed-Custer 48, Manteno 28 (2018)

About the Panthers: The Panthers have been pretty productive on offense this season despite the below .500 record. The components are in place for that to continue as quarterback Caleb Borkenhagen gets plenty of protection from a massive offensive line.

About the Comets: Reed-Custer has played a bit better as of late, but in the conference season the Comets are more often than not going to find themselves on the short side of the size ledger and that's the case here as well.

Pick: Manteno

Wilmington (4-0) at Lisle (3-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lisle 27, Wilmington 6 (2018)

About the Lions: The Lions got back on track after a Week 3 loss to Manteno with a resounding win over Herscher in Week 4. Lisle had a rare victory over Wilmington last season and would love to string that to two consecutive seasons.

About the Wildcats: Wilmington's ground game is routinely proving to be far too much for the opposition to handle. The Wildcats ran for over 400 yards as a team yet again and were comfortably enough ahead that they barely needed to think of passing.

Pick: Wilmington