Here is a preview of second-round playoff games involving area teams in the Suburban Life coverage area.
Glenbard West (10-0) at Loyola (7-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Advancement: The winner plays the Huntley/Marist winner.
About Glenbard West: The Hilltoppers' backfield depth is impressive, and was on display in a first-round rout of Downers Grove South. Nic Seifert and Jalen Moore both went over 100 yards rushing. Quarterback Braden Speich and the passing game has shown improvement in recent weeks, and could need to make plays against the Loyola defense. Aside from Hinsdale Central in Week 8, the Hilltoppers haven't been tested much, so how will they respond to adversity? These two programs last met in the 2016 Class 8A semifinals, a 42-13 Loyola win.
About Loyola: The defending 8A champion Ramblers survived quite a first-round test, beating Maine South 14-6 in a game scoreless going into the fourth quarter. Loyola's defense has allowed just 108 points, although scoring has been an issue in its losses. Starting running back Vaughn Pemberton did not play against Maine South. His status is something to watch. The Ramblers have quite a pedigree, playing in the last four 8A championship games.
Friday Night Drive pick: Glenbard West.
Thornton (8-2) at Nazareth (10-0)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Advancement: The winner plays the Batavia/Hononegah winner.
About Thornton: The Wildcats, who beat Pekin 35-19 last week, have won six straight games since a 35-28 loss to unbeaten Crete-Monee in Week 4. It was the first playoff win since 2012 for Thornton, who missed the playoffs for three straight seasons from 2016-2018. Fifth-year coach Dontrell Jackson, who prepped at Thornton and played collegiately at Ohio, has a talented quarterback in third-year starter Derrick Williams. He leads an offense averaging 42 points per game.
About Nazareth: The defending 7A champs had little trouble in Round 1, J.J. McCarthy throwing for 251 yards and four TDs, two of them to Landon Morris, in a 47-6 win over Libertyville. Derrick Strongs Jr. was over 100 yards rushing. The defense, again, shouldn't be overlooked. Breven Reifsteck had a pick-six last week for a unit that's allowed a combined 14 points the last three weeks.
FND pick: Nazareth.
Downers Grove North (6-4) at Wheaton Warrenville South (7-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Advancement: The winner plays the Rolling Meadows/Prospect winner.
About Downers Grove North: The Trojans, one of just five teams with four losses still alive, picked up one of the impressive wins of the first round, 35-14 at Maine West. David Cesario had three interceptions and Downers Grove North limited a high-powered Warriors' offense. Mainstays offensively Drew Cassens and Josh Lumpkin both went over 100 yards. Downers Grove North seeks its first quarterfinal appearance since 2013, when the Trojans upset WW South in the second round. The two programs are no strangers in the postseason – the Trojans also upset the Tigers in the 2008 playoffs.
About WW South: The Tigers had little trouble going on the road in Round 1. Prince Lankah and Jake Arthurs both ran for two TDs and Arthurs caught a third TD from Parker Brown in a 50-23 win at Harlem. Opportunistic linebacker Tommy Barnett had an interception and fumble recovery. WW South seeks its second straight quarterfinal appearance.
FND pick: WW South.
Yorkville (8-2) at Willowbrook (9-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Hersey/Lake Zurich
About Yorkville: The Foxes are in the playoff's second round for the second straight year, albeit up in class in 7A. Ben Stemmet, Jake Polowy and the Yorkville defense, stingy all year, has allowed a combined seven points the last two weeks. Cale Reeder, another leader of that unit, has emerged as a playmaker offensively with 31 catches, nine for TDs. Establishing the run with Tre Thomas and Toran Harris is important to keep a potent Willowbrook offense off the field. Yorkville seeks its first quarterfinal appearance since 1999.
About Willowbrook: The Warriors, West Suburban Gold champions, have reached the playoff quarterfinals the last three seasons. Willowbrook has won nine straight games by a combined score of 295-67 since a season-opening loss to Providence. Senior quarterback Sam Tumilty does it all. He's thrown for over 2,100 yards and rushed for over 1,000. Deandre Holliday and Everett Stubblefield III are playmakers on the outside, but Ta'Vion Geanes comes off his best game of the season rushing the ball with 140 yards and three TDs.
FND pick: Willowbrook.
Lemont (8-2) at Chatham-Glenwood (10-0)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Crete-Monee/Providence.
About Lemont: Lemont seeks to reverse result from last year's first-round meeting with Chatham-Glenwood, a 24-21 Indians' loss. The Indians had an impressive 52-14 win over Springfield in Week 1. Luke Bailey threw a 44-yard TD pass to Western Michigan recruit Anthony Sambucci and ran in a TD for Lemont, which scored 36 unanswered points. Lemont seeks fourth quarterfinal appearance since 2014 but this looks to be a tough task.
About Chatham-Glenwood: Downstate power is making its 17th straight playoff appearance, but last made the quarterfinals in 2012. Standout running back Narkel Leflore, who has run for over 1,300 yards this season, left last weekend's 56-20 win over Danville with an ankle injury. Quarterback Luke Lehnen ran for 87 yards and four TDs and threw for 228 yards and two TDs. The Titans have outscored opponents by a staggering 512-105 margin.
FND pick: Chatham-Glenwood.
Montini (8-2) at Sycamore (9-1)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Advancement: Winner plays the winner of Rockford Boylan/Montini.
About Montini: 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-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 on a three-game winning streak since a loss to Niles Notre Dame. This will be the seventh playoff meeting between Montini and Sycamore since 2007 – the previous six were all Broncos' wins.
About Sycamore: Since Oct. 5, 2018, the Spartans have only given up more than two scores in a game once – in a 21-17 loss to Montini in the second round last year. In fact, the Broncos are one of just three teams to score at least twice off the Sycamore defense in that span. DeKalb beat Sycamore, 13-0, in Week 2 and the Spartans beat Kaneland 35-14 the following week. Sycamore has five shutouts this year. Sycamore won its playoff opener, 56-7, against Evergreen Park last week.
FND pick: Montini.
Genoa Kingston (9-1) at St. Francis (9-1)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Naperville North High School
Advancement: The winner plays the winner of Coal City/Kewanee.
About Genoa-Kingston: 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 next week.
About St. Francis: The Spartans lost in the second round to Rockford Boylan last season 34-21. Starting quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse's availability remains a question mark after surgery on his non-throwing arm two weeks ago. If he still can't go, Michael Baffa has more than capably filled in. He threw two TDs and ran for a third in a 45-0 win over Clark last week.
FND pick: St. Francis.
Stillman Valley (9-1) at IC Catholic Prep (9-1)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Advancement: The winner plays the winner of Marengo/Richmond-Burton.
About IC Catholic: Rematch of last year's second-round game won by the Knights 31-0. ICCP handled Sullivan 28-0 last week. Kevin Cooke, with 129 tackles and five interceptions, anchors an experienced Knights' defense. Kyle Franklin is up to 1,245 yards and 21 TDs on the year.
About Stillman Valley: The Cardinals, longtime power from the Rockford area, are co-champions of the Big Northern Conference, its lone loss in Week 9 to Genoa-Kingston. Stillman Valley, a run-first offense, has three running backs – Devin Willis, Logan Jennings and Chad Gerig – all at over 500 yards rushing on the season. Anchoring the line is Trae Varney, a 6-foot, 290-pound senior. Stillman Valley last reached the quarterfinals in 2013, when it won the Class 3A title. The program won five state titles between 1999 and 2013.
FND pick: IC Catholic Prep.