Minooka's Seth Lehr carries  through ball through Yorkville's defense Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. The Indians defeated the Foxes, 19-10.
Minooka's Seth Lehr carries through ball through Yorkville's defense Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. The Indians defeated the Foxes, 19-10. — Eric Ginnard - eginnard@shawmedia.com

St. Laurence (4-3) at Providence (5-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 35, St. Laurence 6 (2018)

About the Celtics: The Celtics are a bit banged up right now, but they got healthy in a hurry against a struggling DePaul Prep squad. Starting quarterback Kevin Conway was a no-go in the DePaul game, but Providence got a solid effort from Jack Peterson in his sted. Regardless of who starts, the Celtics will need to be sharp to topple a surging Vikings squad.

About the Vikings: St. Laurence made a notable statement to its skills by toppling Brother Rice in Week 7. The win certainly enhanced St. Laurence's playoff prospects which looked in trouble based on what remained on their schedule. This another game that looks like an opportunity to put another feather in their cap if the Celtics don't bring a top effort.

Pick: Providence

Joliet Catholic (4-3) at DePaul Prep (2-5)

When: Noon Saturday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About the Rams: DePaul won the first two games of the season over lower rung Chicago Public League teams, but have struggled mightily since entering league play. So, they apparently have tried an unorthodox approach. They are passing on every single offensive play. They attempted no running plays in their Week 7 loss to Providence.

About the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic is hoping to finish the regular season strong and the schedule looks favorable in making that happen. It was a solid defensive performance for the Hilltoppers during a comfortable win over Carmel in Week 6, and when those are blended with the dynamic backfield tandem of Jordan Anderson and Kenyetta Williams, JCA is where it needs to be.

Pick: Joliet Catholic

Plainfield East (3-4) at Romeoville (1-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield East 31, Romeoville 14 (2018)

About the Spartans: The Spartans were hoping to string together a two-game winning streak for the first time in recent memory, but those hopes were dashed in an overtime loss to Plainfield Central in Week 7. The schedule has been a bit more forgiving in the second half to the Spartans and the opportunity to be more competitive has been seized.

About the Bengals: Plainfield East's chances at the SouthWest Prairie East Conference title took a serious hit with a loss to Plainfield South in Week 7, but the team's playoff hopes are still very much alive. Odds are the Bengals should be able to get their offense rolling in this one as the unit has been quite potent this season.

Pick: Plainfield East

Plainfield North (5-2) at Oswego East (4-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego East 27, Plainfield North 0 (2018)

About the Wolves: Offense has been a little spotty for Oswego East in the Southwest Prairie West play since breaking off into divisional play, but the defense has pretty much maintained its strong level of play. That unit will still have its hands full against Plainfield North, as when the Tigers find a groove they have been tough to contain.

About the Tigers: Plainfield North made themselves playoff eligible, but the Tigers are hunting for more. A win here would make big strides toward Plainfield North getting a potential home game in the opening round of either the Class 7A or Class 8A field as Plainfield North is on the bubble between the two classes.

Pick: Oswego East

Plainfield South (4-3) at Joliet West (2-5)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 21, Joliet West 6 (2018)

About the Tigers: Although the Tigers are a five-loss team, there's still a very slim chance they could advance to the playoffs with a win here. A victory could potentially force a three-way tie with themselves, Plainfield East and Plainfield South. If that scenario played out, points allowed in games they are tied in would be critical. Essentially, Joliet West would need to keep Plainfield South to as few points as possible and win to have a chance.

About the Cougars: Plainfield South can wrap up the conference title here and lock in the playoff berth rather than wait to see if they can secure an at-large bid later on. The Cougars would certainly like to do that and will look to their defense to slow down Joliet West's punishing running back Trent Howland. Offensively, they've got a weapon of their own in Keith Bronson.

Pick: Plainfield South

West Aurora (2-5) at Minooka (7-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Indians: Minooka showed it could grind one out if it needed to, battling through less than ideal conditions and a difficult passing night to upend Yorkville, who also entered the contest undefeated. It was another stellar effort from the Minooka defense which continues to brand itself as one of the top units around.

About the Blackhawks: It has been a very odd year for West Aurora in its first year in the Southwest Prairie. They've been very competitive in their division games, but haven't been able to net a victory in league play yet. Despite having outscored foes by a somewhat comfortable margin this season, its only led to a pair of victories.

Pick: Minooka

Plainfield Central (1-6) at Joliet Central (0-7)

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Joliet Central 16, Plainfield Central 12 (2018)

About the Steelmen: Joliet Central's struggles on offense have been an all-season problem, but there's still clearly a lot of fight in the Steelmen as witnessed to the fact that they held Joliet West in check for nearly three quarters before finally tiring at the end. This is likely Joliet Central's last opportunity to get in the win column, but either way it looks like they'll go in fighting.

About the Wildcats: It took awhile for Plainfield Central to find the win column, but they did so in grand fashion getting a Bruce Pendleton touchdown in overtime to secure that coveted victory. Like Joliet Central, things haven't been going the Wildcats way this season, but the opportunity to close the season strong still remains.

Pick: Plainfield Central

Bolingbrook (6-1) at Homewood-Flossmoor (6-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Homewood-Flossmoor 29, Bolingbrook 0 (2018)

About the Vikings: After taking their lumps at the hands of Lincoln-Way East in Week 5, the Vikings appear to have their mojo back as they have easily dispatched both Sandburg and Lincoln-Way West in back-to-back shutout victories in Week 6 and 7. Bolingbrook should provide a more astute challenge on both sides of the football.

About the Raiders: Bolingbrook is slowly adding a few wrinkles to the offense, adding a bit of a passing attack in last week's win as Deyvn Suggs and Trevor Borland hooked up for a pair of touchdown scores. The Raiders defense continues to be stout, but Homewood-Flossmoor is the kind of team that matches up relatively well with Bolingbrook.

Pick: Homewood-Flossmoor

Lincoln-Way East (7-0) at Sandburg (2-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 57, Sandburg 0 (2018)

About the Eagles: Sandburg's had a rough run through the top teams in the conference and thankfully for them this is the last of the behemoths on their schedule. After a decent start to the season, the Eagles have really hit a rough patch with a win over Stagg in Week 4 serving as the lone bright spot. Sandburg has scored more than two touchdowns in just two games this year.

About the Griffins: The Griffins have appeared to find domination mode once again. They overwhelmed Lockport in Week 7 and only have been pressed at all in the second half of the season by Homewood-Flossmoor before dominating them in the second half of their matchup. The defense has been so solid and there's little reason to believe that trend will change here.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way West (4-3) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (3-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way West 30, Bradley-Bourbonnais 13 (2018)

About the Boilermakers: It's been a wild season for the Boilermakers with a number of frenetic finishes, resulting in both wins and losses. They are hoping to finish the season with a flourish and secure an at-large berth, but they have to pull off a mild upset here to do so. Boliermaker quarterback Keaton Schmidt is a dual threat.

About the Warriors: The Warriors are simply trying to stay in a grinder mentality and must hit the road and get the win in this pivotal contest. Considering the Warriors draw behemoth Lincoln-Way East in the final week of the season, securing the needed fifth win now is an absolute must. The Warriors could really use a another consistent offense weapon other than Caleb Marconi.

Pick: Lincoln-Way West

Lockport (2-5) at Andrew (6-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Andrew 15, Lockport 7 (2018)

About the T-Bolts: Andrew has already claimed the SouthWest Suburban Red Division and have done it with a series of close games where the defense seems to impose their will on the opponents. Andrew isn't likely to runa way with many games, but more often than not it isn't going to make a key mistake before the opponent does.

About the Porters: It might not look like it on the surface, but despite the record, the Porters have made great strides this season. Putting aside a lopsided loss to Lincoln-Way East, a fate that has been pressed on most LWE opponents, Lockport continues to show great strides in its ability to match up with opponents. It might not look like it on the surface, but there's an opportunity here for the Porters to pick off an upset win.

Pick: Andrew

Stagg (1-6) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-6)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way Central 30, Stagg 0 (2018)

About the Knights: The breaks simply haven't gone Lincoln-Way Central's way this season but the hope is that the team can wrap up the season on a solid note. It should be possible starting here against a Stagg team that has really struggled. Lincoln-Way Central's defense has been pretty consistently good, allowing barely over a touchdown to opponents if you exclude one lopsided outcome.

About the Chargers: Stagg's season has been a rough go. The Chargers are barely averaging a touchdown per game and other than a 35 point burst against a weak CPL foe, Stagg has only managed to score 13 points in their other six games. That's a real problem for the Chargers considering the strength of Lincoln-Way Central is the play of its defense.

Pick: Lincoln-Way Central

Hillcrest (6-1) at Lemont (6-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hillcrest 27, Lemont 7 (2018)

About the Indians: The Indians continue to roll along collecting their sixth consecutive victory but now is the test they have likely had circled on their calendar since the preseason. The defensive unit which has been spectacular in recent weeks should certainly have its hands full with an explosive Hillcrest offensive attack.

About the Hawks: Hillcrest is also on a huge roll after being edged out by Brother Rice in the opening week of the season, the Hawks have rattled off six wins in a row including an impressive victory over Richards. The Hawks main weapon is bruising running back Mar'Keise Irving who picked up an offer from Michigan recently.

Pick: Hillcrest

Kaneland (6-1) at Morris (5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland 50, Morris 14 (2018)

About the Redskins: Morris grinded out a win over a surprising to date LaSalle-Peru squad and that sewed up a return berth for the Redskins into the postseason after missing last year. This contest should provide an outstanding test for exactly how Morris matches up with elite competition as they prepare for either the Class 4A or Class 5A postseason.

About the Knights: Kaneland has put together a very solid season to date. The lone loss came to 6-1 Sycamore in a game in Week 3. In every other game this season, the opposition has not been within four touchdowns of them. They've also scored at least 42 points each of their wins and surrendered just 42 points to opponents in those six games.

Pick: Morris

Wilmington (7-0) at Coal City (7-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 27, Wilmington 0 (2018)

About the Coalers: The Coalers now face arguably their biggest challenge but appear in prime position to play the showdown game. The offense is firing on all cylinders with the power running of Daniel Jezik and consistent passing attack led by Payton Hutchings. The defense is also playing as well as anyone right now.

About the Wildcats: Wilmington had controlled this fierce rivalry for many years, but the power has shifted in Coal City's direction recently. The Wildcats would love to take that momentum back and in doing so they will need to have their high-octane ground game performing at the peak of its abilities. Quarterback Keaton Hopwood did throw for over 150 yards last week and maybe could help balance the offense.

Pick: Coal City

Herscher (2-5) at Reed-Custer (1-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Herscher 47, Reed-Custer 42 (2018)

About the Comets: The slumping Comets have really hit some rough patches in the road, but are hoping they can get things straightened out against a program that has also had its fair share of troubles. Reed-Custer got themselves into a shootout with Herscher last year maybe a repeat of that performance could spark them.

About the Tigers: Herscher showed some signs of life last week with a win over Streator last week, but it has largely been a difficult run for a program that went to the Class 3A semifinals just last year. It is a program that has been heavily reliant on younger players this year with sophomores manning several key positions.

Pick: Herscher

Lisle (4-3) at Peotone (5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lisle 34, Peotone 33 (2018)

About the Blue Devils: The Blue Devils already have the five wins they need to be playoff eligible, but this contest is pretty close to a must win for Peotone. The squad's playoff points aren't exactly great and a Week 9 game against Wilmington could be a problem, so securing that sixth win would make the breathing patterns a bit easier in Peotone camp.

About the Lions: Lisle has sort of been all over the map this season, but they have always sort of been a difficult hurdle for Peotone to try to clear. The Blue Devils narrowly lost to a Lisle team that rolled through the Intersate Eight Small Conference last year before making a decent run in last year's playoffs, but this year they are just trying to get themselves back in the postseason.

Pick: Peotone

Seneca (4-3) at Momence (1-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Seneca 55, Momence 20 (2018)

About the Redskins: Momence is trying to avoid back-to-back one win seasons and it seems unlikely that they'll be able to do that unless they somehow earn a win this week as they play state-ranked Clifton Central in Week 9. It's a bad combination for Momence though as its struggling offense will have to find a solution against a defense that has really stepped up.

About the Fighting Irish: Seneca practically had a must-win situation against Watseka last week and they stepped up and got it done, shutting out the Warriors who entered the game with a 5-1 record. Seneca's defense certainly deserves kudos for the effort, but the offense is rounding into form nicely as well.

Pick: Seneca

Dwight (2-5) at Hoopeston (0-7)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dwight 51, Hoopeston 0 (2018)

About the Cornjerkers: There are few programs in the state that have struggled more than Hoopeston has and this season hasn't provided a lot of enjoyment for Hoopeston either. The winless club has scored just 50 points all season and the closest they've come to a victory was a 22-point defeat to Westville in Week 6.

About the Trojans: Dwight certainly has an opportunity to run its recent win streak to three games here. A potent running game emerged in last week's easy win over Iroquois West and there's certainly no reason that ground game, led by Carson Crouch, will have any less success against a struggling Hoopeston squad.

Pick: Dwight