West Aurora's defense breaks up a pass intended for Minooka's Trent Hudak on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. The Tigers Indians defeated the Blackhawks, 27-13.
West Aurora's defense breaks up a pass intended for Minooka's Trent Hudak on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. The Tigers Indians defeated the Blackhawks, 27-13. — Eric Ginnard - eginnard@shawmedia.com

Joliet Catholic (5-3) at Marmion (6-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marmion 13, Joliet Catholic 7 (1998 4A Playoffs)

About the Cadets: The Cadets are a difficult team to read. They also are coming off a week off after receiving a forfeit win from a depleted St. Joseph program. Marmion has been inconsistent this season and have some solid wins, but some perplexing losses. Marmion was nipped 6-0 by undefeated Mt. Carmel team midseason, but were handled rather easily by a Fenwick team that Joliet Catholic easily dispatched.

About the Hilltoppers: You can't take a lot from Joliet Catholic's easy Week 8 win over an overmatched DePaul Prep team. It did allow the Hilltoppers to earn playoff eligibility and a win here gives them an oustisde chance of securing an opening round playoff game home win. Running back Jordan Anderson left the DePaul game with what appeared to be a minor injury, but if he's rested as a precaution, others are capable of filling in.

Pick: Joliet Catholic

Providence (6-2) at Montini (6-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Montini 27, Providence 3 (2018)

About the Broncos: Montini has a pretty solid resume this season as they try to make another deep run in the Class 5A playoffs. The lone losses on the Bronco slate are to Mount Carmel and Niles Notre Dame, that currently have a combined record of 15-1. Montini also owns a win over St. Rita, a team Providence struggled mightily with in a loss a few weeks ago.

About the Celtics: Never let it be said that the Celtics don't have a flair for the dramatic. Providence thwarted St. Laurence's late rush by getting a Kevin Countryman interception on a 2-point conversion attempt in the waning seconds of the contest to secure a 31-30 win for Providence. A win here could greatly help Providence's seeding in the 6A bracket.

Pick: Montini

Joliet Central (1-7) at Plainfield East (4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield East 25, Joliet Central 18 (2018)

About the Bengals: A win would almost certainly put the Bengals in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, a nice accomplishment for a program that had only won six games over the past three seasons. Individually, Plainfield East has two players, quarterback Joey Morgan and linebacker Dale Dambek who continue to pile on stats to school record performances for passing and tackling.

About the Steelmen: Joliet Central broke through for its first win of the season in an overtime clash with Plainfield Central. And while the offense has been problematic for most of the season one of the things that the Steelmen can really hang their hat on is the play of their defense. It's a unit that has been that has been strong especially since the beginning of divisional play.

Pick: Plainfield East

Joliet West (3-5) at Plainfield Central (1-7)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet West 41, Plainfield Central 28 (2018)

About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central just missed stringing together a two-game winning streak as they fell in overtime to Joliet Central. Now the Wildcats have been thrust into the role of trying to be a spoiler for Joliet West's new-found quest to snag a playoff bid. Plainfield Central would like to cap its season with a good effort.

About the Tigers: Joliet West surged back into contention for a playoff bid by toppling Plainfield South in a Week 8 matchup. Now they basically control their own destiny as long as Plainfield South also wins, as they hold tiebreaker over Plainfield South (head-to-head) and Plainfield East as long as Plainfield South wins as well as they allowed the fewest points in the matchups between the three teams.

Pick: Joliet West

Minooka (8-0) at Oswego (8-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego 35, Minooka 20 (2018)

About the Panthers: It's the matchup that Southwest Prairie Conference was anticipating materializing when the conference split into divisions for this year. Oswego still looks unwilling to give its throne away on top of the league, despite a few scares along the way. But the Panthers always seem to find a way but this is clearly the biggest test they've faced.

About the Indians: Putting themselves in this position was only part of the mission for the Indians, now they've got to finish off the job at hand for things to be considered a success in the regular season. Head coach John Belksis was not pleased with his team's performance in a Week 8 win over West Aurora and feels his team has to clean it up if they want to reach their goals. A top seed in Class 8A is probably on the line here.

Pick: Minooka

Romeoville (1-7) at Plainfield South (4-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 41, Romeoville 7 (2018)

About the Cougars: Plainfield South likely lost its chance a conference championship and automatic bid into the playoff field with last week's loss to Joliet West. Now the Cougars need a win just to become playoff eligible and might have to sweat out a spot in the field as they don't have the best playoff point situation.

About the Spartans: Romeoville has played much better over the course of the second half of the season and go into this one looking to play spoiler and end their season on a high note. Romeoville's offense has been productive at times this season, but hasn't been able to formulate any consistency on that front, it would hope to do so here.

Pick: Plainfield South

Yorkville (6-2) at Plainfield North (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Tigers: Plainfield's North potent offense was slowed down a little bit in a Week 8 contest against Oswego East. But fortunately for the Tigers they were able to lean on the defense and the unit responded well, containing the Wolves to just nine points in a 14-9 win. With a win, the Tigers could secure a opening round home playoff bid in whatever class they eventually land in as they are on the bubble between 7A and 8A.

About the Foxes: Although Yorkville has dropped its past two games, the Foxes have remained consistent in one area, they've been extremely dogged in hanging in every single game they've played and have had opportunities to win in both of the games that they have dropped. Yorkville's defense will be put to the test in this one, but they've consistently held foes below their usual output.

Pick: Plainfield North

Andrew (6-2) at Bolingbrook (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Andrew 22, Bolingbrook 18 (2004)

About the Raiders: Bolingbrook came within a whisper of toppling Homewood-Flossmoor last week but can't dwell on that as they are still in the mix of potentially earning an opening round home game for the playoffs. The Raiders trio of Juquan Howard, Antonio King and Devyn Suggs should be a chore for the T-Bolts to handle.

About the T-Bolts: Andrew copped the SouthWest Suburban Red title in Week 7, but were surprised by an inspired Lockport team in Week 8 and the T-Bolts don't want to enter the playoffs in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Andrew's defense has been rock steady for much of the season, but Bolingbrook's offense can be explosive.

Pick: Bolingbrook

Lincoln-Way Central (2-6) at Homewood-Flossmoor (7-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Homewood-Flossmoor 21, Lincoln-Way Central 17 (2018)

About the Vikings: The Vikings are looking to finish off their regular season with a flourish and their defense has emerged as a real problem for opponents in recent weeks. After a Week 5 loss to Lincoln-Way East, the H-F defense responded with back-to-back shutouts before allowing just 13 to a potent Bolingbrook squad. This unit could be a real problem for Lincoln-Way Central to deal with.

About the Knights: The Knights excised some offensive demons by piling up the points in a win over struggling Stagg in Week 8, but they'll be hard pressed to keep that train rolling against a much better defense from H-F. It wouldn't be stunning, however, to see Lincoln-Way Central's defense hem in H-F a bit, as the defensive unit has been steadily good all season.

Pick: Homewood-Flossmoor

Lincoln-Way West (5-3) at Lincoln-Way East (8-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Griffins: The Griffins and Warriors have never played in football despite being district rivals in just about every other sports. Obviously, the powerful Griffins are a heavy favorite in this one and are hoping to fine tune some things for a deep run in the Class 8A playoffs.

About the Warriors: Lincoln-Way West secured playoff eligibility in last week's win over Bradley-Bourbonnais and with a decent supply of playoff points should find themselves in the 256-team field. It is a very good thing for the Warriors that they aren't facing a must-win situation to secure a place in the field. The Warriors also got a big offensive effort from Billy Dozier in Week 8, a trend they hope continues as they could use another source of regular offense other than Caleb Marconi.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Stagg (1-7) at Lockport (3-5)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lockport 49, Stagg 26 (2015)

About the Porters: Lockport continues to show massive signs of improvement this season and look well positioned to finish the campaign on a two-game winning streak. There's also a very slim chance Lockport could possibly qualify as a 4-5 team with a large amount of playoff points, but even if that doesn't come to fruition, it has been a season flooded with positives for the Porters.

About the Chargers: The season probably can't end quick enough for Stagg as it seems like eons since Stagg opened the season with a win over Chicago Little Village. They haven't been remotely competitive in any game since and have struggled significantly on offense in every contest as well.

Pick: Lockport

Lemont (6-2) at Bremen (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 53, Bremen 6 (2018)

About the Braves: Although these two programs do hold identical records they are far from being in the same echelon. One of Bremen's two losses comes at the hands of a T.F. South squad, the same team that Lemont shut out 26-0 early in the season. On paper, it looks like the Braves are going to have trouble posting points against a solid defense.

About the Indians: The loss to Hillcrest in Week 8 put an end to Lemont's six game winning streak, but some positives can be taken from the defeat. Lemont hadn't been pushed for quite some time and even in a loss, Lemont showed it has the firepower to compete with a team that has an elite offensive attack.

Pick: Lemont

Sandwich (4-4) at Morris (6-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About the Redskins: The win over Kaneland was a massive one for Morris for a multitude of reasons. First, it proved Morris can knock off a top-flight team as the squad was still looking for what could be classified as a marquee win. Second, it virtually assures an opening round home playoff game. If Morris hadn't beaten Kaneland that would have been in jeopardy for whichever class they landed in (4A or 5A).

About the Indians: Sandwich is in the win-or-go home situation that no one wants to be in, particularly against a high quality foe. But the Indians have proven to be plucky this season and are looking to cop an upset when they need it most. In order for that to happen, they can't afford to get off to a sluggish start as they did last week in a win over Ottawa.

Pick: Morris

Reed-Custer (1-7) at Coal City (8-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 14, Reed-Custer 0 (2018)

About the Coalers: The Coalers are in a pretty ideal situation heading into Week 9 and look very well positioned to earn a very high seed, if not the No. 1 seed, in whatever side of the bracket they land on. Daniel Jezik continues to be on a tear for the Coalers but the hope is that he isn't pressed into heavy duty against a team that will likely have lots of trouble matching up.

About the Comets: Not exactly a great season capper for Reed-Custer as it has the dubious task of trying to deal with the conference's premier team. Strides have been made at times by the Comets, but this might be too much of an ask to expect much positive to be accomplished against the powerful Coalers.

Pick: Coal City

Peotone (6-2) at Wilmington (7-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Peotone 19, Wilmington 14 (2018)

About the Wildcats: It will be interesting to see how Wilmington responds to its first gut check of the season. Although the Wildcats did play considerably better in the second half of its showdown game against Coal City, Wilmington was dominated in several facets early in the game and some weaknesses were exposed.

About the Blue Devils: Peotone has gone into grinder mentality for the past few weeks, playing without leading rusher Ben Balmer. But since the Blue Devils are now assured a playoff berth with a win over Lisle in Week 8 it would be surprising to see Peotone play it safe with Balmer in a game they certainly means something, but more for playoff positioning rather than a must-win circumstance.

Pick: Peotone

Bismarck-Henning (7-1) at Seneca (5-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Bismarck-Henning 58, Seneca 34 (2018)

About the Fighting Irish: Few teams are playing better football over the course of the second half than Seneca. Their lone loss down the stretch came to a highly ranked Clifton Central squad and the strength of their schedule assures they will be in the field of 256 regardless of what happens here. Bismarck-Henning should provide an excellent measuring stick of exactly where Seneca is right now.

About the Blue Devils: Aside from their lone loss of the season to Hope Academy, nobody has been within striking distance of Bismarck-Henning all season long. The Blue Devils have posted at least 28 points in every game this season and have gone over 50 points three times. They are a challenging foe, particularly for a defensive unit, for any team they might meet.

Pick: Bismarck-Henning

Paxton (6-2) at Dwight (3-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dwight 22, Paxton 7 (2018)

About the Trojans: Dwight has played very strong football over the past three weeks piecing together a three-game win streak in the process. Granted, those teams have only combined for two wins this season, but you have to play who is front of you. Dwight's potent ground game might have trouble being as dominant as it has been this week, but Carson Crouch will still be a load.

About the Panthers: It has been a very strong season for Paxton this season, albeit a bit under the radar. Their lone two losses come at the hands of two state-ranked teams in Class 2A (Clifton Central and GCMS) and they were more than competitive in each of those football games. Paxton is hoping to secure a home game in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs with a win.

Pick: Paxton