Joliet Catholic's Jordan Anderson runs the ball in for a 60-yard touchdown Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill. The Hilltoppers fell to the Crusaders, 28-20.
Joliet Catholic's Jordan Anderson runs the ball in for a 60-yard touchdown Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill. The Hilltoppers fell to the Crusaders, 28-20. — Eric Ginnard - eginnard@shawmedia.com

St. Rita (2-3) at Providence (4-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 12, St. Rita 7 (2018)

About the Celtics: Providence got a huge spark from its special teams unit, blocking three punts in an easy win over Carmel. But the Celtics face a substantially larger challenge this week in dealing with St. Rita and the defensive unit needs to rise to the challenge of reining in a St. Rita attack that's been quite potent the last few weeks.

About the Mustangs: Don't let the record fool you. The Mustangs are legit. The three losses came at the hands of Montini, Richards and Loyola, a trio of state ranked teams. The Mustangs have also been posting tons of points and sophomore Kaleb Brown might be the top sophomore in the state.

Pick: Providence

Joliet Catholic (2-3) at St. Ignatius (2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Wolfpack: St. Ignatius' schedule has been a mixed bag of tricks and treats in the early going. The Wolfpack dominated two opponents to start the season that frankly weren't of very high caliber but once into the conference season things have gotten much more troubling, as the Wolfpack have been trounced by three foes that have a combined record of 14-1.

About the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic doesn't deal with moral victories, but there were certainly a few positives to be taken from the Week 5 loss to stalwart Brother Rice. Hilltoppers sophomore Jordan Anderson is clearly a breakout performer and the offensive line is quickly evolving into a unit the team can rely on.

Pick: Joliet Catholic

Joliet West (1-4) at Plainfield East (2-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet West 17, Plainfield East 10 (2018)

About the Bengals: Plainfield East could inch back to the .500 mark with a win here which would also put them in great position to notch a playoff berth down the line. East's offensive attack has been potent, even having some success in crossover games where few other teams did. Quarterback Joey Morgan has formed a nice connection with receiver Aiden Tonarelli.

About the Tigers: The Tigers were clearly happy to get into division play and its defensive unit turned in a real gem in shutting out Romeoville. That unit will need to be sharp here as well against a Plainfield East team that has proven they can post points. The Tigers have a strong ground game led by Trent Howland and an offensive line that has the potential to control the trenches.

Pick: Plainfield East

Minooka (5-0) at Plainfield North (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Minooka 31, Plainfield North 29 (2018)

About the Tigers: Questions about whether or not the Tigers could hang with the big boys were answered even in a loss as they came up just short of toppling conference king Oswego when a late 2-point conversion wasn't converted. But the Tigers can't wallow in their first misfortune of the season because perhaps an even bigger challenge looms here, particularly for the Tigers defense.

About the Indians: Minooka rose to the first in-league challenge that was raised slowly dismantling previously undefeated Oswego East. The defense was sound once again, but Plainfield North brings a full arsenal of offensive weapons that could provide some matchup issues for the Indians in certain areas. Minooka's Seth Lehr returned from injury and his presence certainly adds some things to the Indians arsenal.

Pick: Minooka

Plainfield Central (0-5) at Plainfield South (2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 20, Plainfield Central 0 (2018)

About the Cougars: The Cougars got an added boost to its offense with the return of Jaylon Eison from injury. Eison could form a dynamic duo with Keith Bronson who has played very well in Eison's absence. The Cougars defense also seems to be rounding into form which should come in handy as the team moves into division play that isn't nearly as rigorous.

About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central showed some strides in the loss to Plainfield East in Week 5, but the Wildcats still have a ways to go. Opportunities for success are likely coming in the near future, but this one might be too tall of a mountain to climb against their district rivals, particularly in getting much going against the Cougars defense.

Pick: Plainfield South

Romeoville (0-5) at Joliet Central (0-5)

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Joliet Central 26, Romeoville 6 (2018)

About the Steelmen: The Steelemen seem determined to keep grinding despite being shorthanded against most of their opponents. That attitude could finally pay some dividends this week as the scales even out a little bit against another program that has struggled a fair amount in the early portion of the season.

About the Spartans: Like Joliet Central, Romeoville's struggles have been ample in the early going. There's talent on the Romeoville roster, but to this point, the team simply hasn't been able to put it all together. Quarterback Zack Gibson and all-around threat Donovan Dehoyos have opportunities to break out in this one.

Pick: Joliet Central

Bolingbrook (4-1) at Lockport (2-3)

When: 7:30 Friday

Last matchup: Bolingbrook 39, Lockport 7 (2018)

About the Porters: Lockport has made great strides so far this season, but staying in this one will require a pretty substantial leap. The ability to rally has been something Lockport has been able to display with regularity, but digging a hole against Bolingbrook is probably something they'd have an extremely difficult time recovering from.

About the Raiders: The Raiders scuffled a little bit early in their Week 5 matchup with Bradley-Bourbonnais, but one thing was a constant, the solid play of their defense. It has been a bedrock for them all season, even in the loss to Lincoln-Way East. If the offense ever gets close to that level of proficiency, Bolingbrook could be a real monster.

Pick: Bolingbrook

Lincoln-Way East (5-0) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 38, Lincoln-Way Central 0 (2018)

About the Knights: This isn't exactly an ideal matchup for a team that has suffered a number of crushing defeats in the last few weeks. A pair of overtime losses followed by a narrow loss to a district rival certainly hasn't helped in regards to gaining momentum. Lincoln-Way Central's offensive attack faces a mammoth challenge in dealing with Lincoln-Way East's defense.

About the Griffins: It was an incredible defensive performance by the Griffins in their showdown matchup with Homewood-Flossmoor. After a suspect first half, the unit forced the Vikings into a three-and-out on every second half possession and held them to less than 10 yards of offense. Performances like that and more can be expected from the unit as the schedule softens a bit from here on out.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way West (3-2) at Stagg (1-4)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way West 26, Stagg 0 (2018)

About the Chargers: Things just have simply not gone well for Stagg this season particularly on offense. After a win against a lower rung Chicago Public League team to start the season, Stagg has scored just six points in the four games after that win being outscored 149-6 during that stretch.

About the Warriors: Lincoln-Way West is probably hoping for a game that might provide a little bit of a breather. The Warriors have been in tight scuffles pretty much every week this season with human battering ram Caleb Marconi shouldering a heavy workload in the Warriors offense. Keeping focus should be enough to allow them to get through this one.

Pick: Lincoln-Way West

Tinley Park (2-3) at Lemont (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 10, Tinley Park 3 (2018)

About the Indians: After a week 1 loss to St. Charles East, Lemont has regrouped and begun to play dominant football. Four straight victories have followed and the margins haven't been particularly close. Week 5 saw the Indians erupt for nearly 60 points and things are running pretty smoothly right now.

About the Titans: Tinley Park isn't having any troubles scoring points, as a Week 5 loss with 24 points was a season low for the Titans. But they've also giving up points in bunches and that doesn't bode well for this week's matchup with a Lemont team that seems to be firing on all cylinders.

Pick: Lemont

Morris (4-1) at Sycamore (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sycamore 17, Morris 7 (2018)

About the Spartans: Sycamore has been having its way with its foes in the reformed Interstate Eight Conference and hopes to continue that roll it is on. They have been doing so with a varied offense that added another weapon to the mix in De'Shaun Harris in a Week 5 win over Sandwich. He could prove to be a capable backfield partner with Kyle Antos to make the Spartans even more lethal.

About the Redskins: Morris revolution after a Week 1 loss to Coal City has been impressive to watch, but this game is likely going to provide a valuable measuring stick for how far the squad has come. Zach Reddinger continued his spectacular all-around play in a rout win over Ottawa in Week 5, and he'll need to be on top of his game to give the Redskins a chance to pull out the win.

Pick: Sycamore

Manteno (2-3) at Coal City (5-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 24, Manteno 0 (2018)

About the Coalers: The Coalers are simply dominant right now, particularly on defense, where they tossed yet another shutout in an easy win over Streator in Week 5. Although the play in the trenches has been a clear advantage for Coal City in most of the games this season, Manteno counters with good size inside as well. That may not be enough to slow this runaway freight train.

About the Panthers:

Pick: Coal City

Herscher (1-4) at Wilmington (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wilmington 63, Herscher 28 (2018)

About the Wildcats: The Wildcats running game has been so potent this season that they are shifting the lead running back role without skipping a beat. Trey Shaw led the way in the Week 5 win over Lisle, while Jake Rodewald also lent a hand after carrying the brunt of the load in previous wins. The defense seems to be rounding into form nicely as well.

About the Tigers: It's been a rough go of it for the Tigers after losing a lot to graduation from last year's Class 3A semifinalist squad. Herscher mustered significantly less than 100 yards of total offense in a loss to Peotone in Week 5, and they can't relish having to square off against an opponent who has given them fits in year's past.

Pick: Wilmington

Lisle (3-2) at Reed-Custer (1-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lisle 24, Reed-Custer 21 (2018)

About the Comets: The Comets have had a hard time matching up in many of their Illinois Central Eight matchups this season and this one appears to be another tough one for them to try to maneuver. Jared Garrelts has done some good things at quarterback, but the Comets are going to need to clamp down some more on defense to give them a better chance.

About the Lions: Although Lisle ran into a little bit of a brick wall known as the Wilmington defense in Week 5, the Lions have still played well enough to keep themselves in the mix for a playoff berth. Getting themselves there basically requires that they get the win here and will need to get their offense back on track to do so.

Pick: Lisle

Streator (2-3) at Peotone (4-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Streator 40, Peotone 37 (2018)

About the Blue Devils: Peotone unveiled an interesting little wrinkle this week, passing effectively in the Week 5 win over Herscher. The Blue Devils have a very strong running game but if they are able to incorporate even the slightest bit of an aerial attack they become an even more difficult foe to try to slow down.

About the Bulldogs: Everything that could go wrong for Streator in Week 5 did and while most of that credit needs to go to an outstanding opponent in Coal City its still a discouraging fact that they didn't even manage positive yardage for the game in the loss. A gritty Peotone defense isn't likely to be too forgiving to them getting back on track either.

Pick: Peotone

Iroquois West (1-4) at Seneca (2-3)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Seneca 42, Iroquois West 14 (2018)

About the Fighting Irish: Seneca showed what it was capable of by holding a halftime lead against the team that entered the contest at the top ranked team in the Associated Press Class 2A poll. They faded in the second half, but Seneca has proven they can hang around with the top dogs in the Sangamon Valley. This game provides an excellent chance for them to get back to the .500 mark.

About the Raiders: Iroquois West has had a rough go of it this season, but have shown a few signs of being a bit more competitive than in years being past. That being said, Iroquois West has given up points in bunches to the better teams they've played this season and that looks like a trend that could continue.

Pick: Seneca

Momence (1-4) at Dwight (0-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dwight 21, Momence 20 (2018)

About the Trojans: Dwight has played a very difficult schedule to start the season but this matchup will likely provide a little bit of much needed relief for the Trojans. Win or lose, Dwight seems almost certain to get a huge game from Carson Crouch, who has posted giant numbers despite teams having a really good idea that's where the football will reside.

About the Redskins: Momence used to be a playoff regular, but the program has really struggled over the past few seasons, particularly on defense. Momence has given up points with regularity and with that in mind they'll probably have a hard time keep Dwight's workhorse Crouch in check.

Pick: Dwight