No. 6 Montini Broncos (8-2)
at No. 3 Sycamore Spartans (9-1)
Kickoff: 2 p.m. Saturday
About the Broncos: The Broncos, seeking a return to Class 5A final, got off to a good start with a 56-6 rout of Elmwood Park. Quarterback Deontay Bell, the CCL/ESCC Green Offensive Player of the Year, has become quite a dual threat and threw for two TDs last week, both to Miami of Ohio recruit Nate Muersch. Devin Hoovel, who had a pick-six on the game’s first play last week, has three of Montini’s nine interceptions on the season. Montini has outscored opponents 139-27 during a three-game winning streak since a loss to Niles Notre Dame. This will be the seventh playoff meeting between Montini and Sycamore – the Broncos have won the previous six, most recently, 21-17, last year.
About the Spartans: Since Oct. 5, 2018, the Spartans have only given up more than two scores in a game once – in the 21-17 loss to Montini in the second round last year. In fact, the Broncos are one of only three teams to score at least twice against the Sycamore defense in that span. DeKalb beat Sycamore, 13-0, in Week 2, and the Spartans beat Kaneland, 35-14, the next week. Sycamore has five shutouts this year. Sycamore won its playoff opener, 56-7, against Evergreen Park last week.
Friday Night Drive pick: Montini
No. 6 Kaneland Knights (8-2)
at No. 14 Lake Forest Scouts (6-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday
About the Knights: The Knights have made the second round in all three of coach Pat Ryan’s seasons but are seeking their first quarterfinal trip since 2011. Kaneland lost to eventual state champion Cary-Grove, 38-6, in the second round last year and Sterling, 46-20, in the 5A bracket two years ago. Kaneland opened the playoffs with a 41-13 home win against Crystal Lake Central.
About the Scouts: Lake Forest stormed from down two touchdowns for a 21-14 win at Belvidere North (7-3) last week, its fourth win in five games after a 2-3 start. It was the Saints second time taking down a strong team, as they opened the year with a 10-7 win against Antioch (8-2). It’s the ninth straight year in the playoffs for the Scouts, who have only been eliminated in the first round once in that stretch.
Friday Night Drive pick: Kaneland
No. 5 Genoa-Kingston Cogs (9-1)
vs. No. 4 St. Francis Spartans (9-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday, Naperville North
About the Spartans: The Spartans lost in the second round to Rockford Boylan last season, 34-21. Starting quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse’s availability remains questionable after he had surgery on his nonthrowing arm two weeks ago. If he can’t play, Michael Baffa has been a capable replacement. He threw for two TDs and ran for a third in a 45-0 win over Clark last week.
About the Cogs: Genoa-Kingston was one of three BNC teams to win in the first round along with Byron and Stillman Valley, and the three co-champs of the league all won by at least 26 points. The Cogs picked up their fourth shutout of the year with a 44-0 win against North Chicago last week.
Friday Night Drive pick: St. Francis
No. 5 Hiawatha Hawks (9-1)
at No. 4 Morrison Mustangs (10-0)
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday
About the Hawks: The Hawks won their first playoff game since 1987, and are trying to avoid playing their last 11-man game. The Hiawatha School District 426 Board recently voted to play 8-man football next year. But the Hawks are coming off a 44-6 win against Abingdon-Avon, their seventh straight win.
About the Mustangs: Off a 2-7 year last year, Morrison has only given up 47 points this year, in stark contrast to a Hiawatha team that has scored 436. Morrison is in the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the year after it won a Class 2A state title. Morrison opened the postseason with a 58-6 win over Ridgewood.
Friday Night Drive pick: Morrison