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Football playoffs: 10 intriguing matchups

Arkansas-bound quarterback Robert Gregory leads Simeon against Lockport on Friday. Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.com

Here's a look at the 10 intriguing first-round playoff games.

Grant (6-3) at Antioch (8-1)

AntiochGrant When: 7 p.m. Friday

The story: Grant and Antioch didn’t have to get familiarized with each other’s game tape when the Class 6A pairings were released. The two teams met in Week 8 with Grant pulling out a 22-14 upset win, the Sequoits’ only regular-season defeat. Antioch had trouble holding on to the ball in the first meeting and will look to correct that. Grant scored 22 points in the second half for the win.

Grant player to watch: Kyle Whitman was the game’s hero the first time around. He scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 45.7 seconds remaining.

Antioch player to watch: Running back Austin Klotter is coming off a four-touchdown game against North Chicago.

Prediction: Antioch 31, Grant 24


Carmel (6-3) at No. 14 Addison Trail (8-1)

Addison TrailCarmelWhen: 7 p.m. Friday

The story: Addison Trail caught everyone’s attention by upsetting Downers Grove South last week. The Blazers are for real, and their defense is among the state’s best. They haven’t allowed an opponent more than 14 points this season, and their schedule also included Glenbard West. On the other hand, Carmel’s offense hasn’t been contained this season. The Corsairs haven’t scored less than 27 points and have averaged 40 points a game. Something will have to give in this Class 7A matchup.

Carmel player to watch: Running back Jordan Kos became the school’s all-time leading rusher last week.

Addison Trail player to watch: Defensive lineman Tom Caputo is among the team’s defensive stars. He returned an interception for a touchdown in last week’s win.

Prediction: Addison Trail 21, Carmel 20


Providence (6-3) at Wheaton Warrenville South (6-3)

Wheaton Warrenville South ProvidenceWhen: 7 p.m. Friday

The story: Wheaton Warrenville South’s rocky regular season put itself on a difficult playoff path. The Tigers will be tested every week if they’re going to make another state championship run. That starts with Providence. The Celtics have returned to the playoffs after going 2-7 last season. It was their first absence from the playoffs since 1990. Providence is hot right now, too, after upsetting Mount Carmel last week.

Providence player to watch: Running back Brandon Price scored two touchdowns in last week’s win over Mount Carmel.

Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Linebacker Daniel Roadman returned an interception for a touchdown in last week’s win over Wheaton North.

Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 24, Providence 13


York (6-3) at Stevenson (7-2)

StevensonYork When: 7 p.m. Friday

The story: Stevenson has been living on the edge this season. Six of the Patriots’ games have been decided by seven points or less, and they won four of those games. York has been involved in two tight games and lost both. The Dukes have been up and down all season. They are at their best when their passing game is producing. After losing to Lyons and Glenbard West, they did close out the regular season with a strong game against Hinsdale Central.

York player to watch: Quarterback Joe Lucca threw five touchdowns in last week’s over Hinsdale Central.

Stevenson player to watch: Running back Mike Ling ran for a career-high 109 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.

Prediction: Stevenson 27, York 21


Geneva (7-2) at Lake Zurich (7-2)

Lake ZurichGenevaWhen: 1 p.m. Saturday

The story: Geneva and Lake Zurich were highly ranked at various points of the regular season. Lake Zurich is led by its defense. The Bears have allowed only opponent more than 14 points this year. Their two losses were decided by a total of six points. Geneva’s offense is its strength. The Vikings have averaged 37.9 points a game. Geneva coach Rob Wicinski thought the game felt like a second- or third-round matchup.

Geneva player to watch: Bobby Hess is dangerous in the return game and in the backfield for the Vikings.

Lake Zurich player to watch: Quarterback Zach Till rushed for five touchdowns last week.

Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Geneva 20


Jacobs (7-2) at Wheaton North (7-2)

Wheaton NorthJacobs When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

The story: Jacobs and Wheaton North have been solid throughout the season. They both have won and lost to quality teams. Jacobs has lost twice in its last three games. The Golden Eagles’ offense struggled against Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake South. Wheaton North’s offense is coming off its worst game of the season. The Falcons scored 13 points against Wheaton Warrenville South.

Jacobs player to watch: Senior quarterback Jason Judson has the arm to beat defenses deep.

Wheaton North player to watch: Quarterback John Peltz will look to rebound from a rough game against Wheaton Warrenville South.

Prediction: Wheaton North 24, Jacobs 17


Homewood-Flossmoor (6-3) at No. 17 Marist (7-2)

MaristHomewood-FlossmoorWhen:7 p.m. Friday

The story: The scoreboard could be lighting up all night with these teams going at it. Marist has put up 37.9 points a game this season and gone over 50 points the last two weeks. Homewood-Flossmoor is averaging 43.2 points a game and has gone over 50 points three times this season. Marist is one of the state’s hottest teams with back-to-back wins over Carmel and Joliet Catholic. Homewood-Flossmoor lost to Sandburg last week.

Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Quarterback Tim Williams is the engine to the Vikings’ offense.

Marist player to watch: Wide receiver Nic Weisher is quickly becoming a star.

Prediction: Marist 62, Homewood-Flossmoor 54


Glenbard North (6-3) at Barrington (7-2)

BarringtonGlenbard North When:6 p.m. Saturday

The story: Barrington and Glenbard North began the season ranked, but didn’t remain there. Barrington dropped out quickly after losing its season opener to Libertyville. The Broncos also fell to Palatine later on. They are currently on a three-game winning streak. Glenbard North won its first five games, but then went on a three-game skid during its conference season. Their problem during that stretch was getting consistent offense. It should be a physical game. Both teams play smash-mouth football.

Glenbard North player to watch: Defensive back Nicholas Maxwell intercepted a pass in last week’s win over Naperville North.

Barrington player to watch: Dan Voltz is considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country. He’s headed to Wisconsin.

Prediction: Barrington 17, Glenbard North 14


Lockport (6-3) at Simeon (7-2)

SimeonLockportWhen:7:30 p.m. Friday at Gately Stadium

The story: Simeon again appears to be the lone Chicago Public League team with a chance at making a state playoff run. The Wolverines have rolled over their opponents since dropping their first two games of the year. Lockport will be a step up the competition ladder. The Porters’ defense has had trouble stopping elite offenses. This will be another test for them.

Lockport player to watch: Rich Galvin had a 56-yard touchdown run in last week’s loss to Bolingbrook.

Simeon player to watch: Quarterback Robert Gregory is among the area’s best and is headed to Arkansas.

Prediction: Simeon 34, Lockport 24


New Trier (6-3) at Glenbrook South (7-2)

Glenbrook SouthNew TrierWhen:7 p.m. Friday

The story: Glenbrook South topped New Trier 21-10 when the two teams met in a Week 6 Central Suburban South matchup. Glenbrook South’s defense was the difference in the win. The Titans didn’t allow New Trier a first down after its first drive. Glenbrook South has won the team’s last five meetings.

New Trier player to watch: Quarterback Jack Nykaza can run or the pass the ball to get his offense going.

Glenbrook South to watch: Running back Kevin Schroeder ran for 143 yards and three touchdown in the win over New Trier.

Prediction: Glenbrook South 20, New Trier 17