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Thursday, November 3, 2011
Round 2 playoff preview capsules

By Scott Powers

Here's a look at 10 notable second-round playoff games.

No. 1 Maine South (10-0) at No. 19 Stevenson (8-2)

Stevenson Grant
When:Saturday at 3 p.m.
The story: Maine South and Stevenson met in the Class 8A quarterfinals last season. Maine South won that matchup 20-9 and continued on to its third consecutive state championship. Stevenson’s goal will be to keep this game close. The Patriots have had seven games this season decided by seven points or less. They’ve won five of them. Maine South hasn’t been in many tight games. It defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 13-9 early in the season, but has won every game since by 16 or more points. Maine South has been held to less 35 points just once this season. Stevenson hasn’t allowed more than 28 points this year.
Maine South player to watch: Wide receiver Jimmy Frankos is one of Matt Alviti’s main targets. Frankos had four catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Stevenson player to watch: Wide receiver Troy Radtke is capable of making big plays in the Patriots’ offense.
Prediction: Maine South 35, Stevenson 24

Lake Zurich (8-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (10-0)

Glenbard West Lake Zurich
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West and Lake Zurich possess two of the top defenses in the area and two of the top defensive players. Glenbard West, which is led by Penn State recruit Tommy Schutt, has held eight opponents to seven points or less. The Hilltoppers have given up a total of 57 points this season. Lake Zurich’s defense isn’t as dominant as it was last season, but the Bears can still get to the ball with blazing speed. Led by Minnesota recruit Jack Lynn, Lake Zurich has held six opponents to seven points or less. Both teams have also lost to Wheaton Warrenville South in the state championship in recent years. Glenbard West fell in 2009 and Lake Zurich lost last season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Running back Mike Shield has broken his share of runs this season.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Avery Balogh has consistently been productive this year.
Prediction: Glenbard West 27, Lake Zurich 17

No. 18 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-3) at No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (10-0)

Lincoln-Way East Wheaton Warrenville South
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Wheaton Warrenville South has to lose for someone else to win a Class 7A state championship. The Tigers have won the last two titles. Although they didn’t resemble early on a team that was going to three-peat, they do look more like it now. Lincoln-Way East has proven itself against some of the state’s best teams and is a legitimate state contender. Its offense hasn’t been contained yet. This has a shot at being one of the better playoff games of 2011.
Wheaton Warrenville South players to watch: The Tigers’ junior offensive line has come a long way since Game 1.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Wide receiver Jay Yancy would be the No. 1 receiver on most teams.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 24, Wheaton Warrenville South 21

Mount Carmel (7-3) at No. 5 Bolingbrook (9-1)

Bolingbrook Mount Carmel
When:Saturday at 6 p.m.
The story: A few weeks ago, this matchup had the makings of a Class 8A semifinal. Instead, Mount Carmel dropped its last two games of the regular season and it fell in the seeding. Don’t think Bolingbrook is taking the Caravan any lighter due to that. Mount Carmel is still a state title contender. If its offense can get going, the Caravan can play with anyone. Bolingbrook has continued to flourish on both sides of the ball and is the favorite to reach the state championship from its bracket.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Running back Brandon Greer was key to the Caravan’s offense rolling in the first round.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Bailey is one of the most exciting players in the state.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 31, Mount Carmel 17

No. 16 Cary-Grove (8-2) at No. 10 Nazareth (9-1)

Nazareth Geneva
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: With so many state title contenders in Class 6A, it was inevitable there would be some intriguing early-round matchups. This game is among those. Both teams showed throughout the regular season they’re among the state’s best. Both excel with strong running backs and solid defensive play. Nazareth did go undefeated at home during the regular season.
Cary-Grove player to watch: Max Kersten is among the defensive playmakers for the Trojans.
Nazareth player to watch: Quarterback Sam Poulos has the ability to beat opponents through the air.
Prediction: Nazareth 28, Cary-Grove 20

Crystal Lake South (9-1) at Carmel (7-3)

Nazareth GenevaWhen:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Crystal Lake South’s defense has limited nearly every offense it has played this season. The Gators have allowed more than 14 points just once. On the other hand, Carmel’s offense hasn’t been slowed down. The Corsairs have scored at least 27 points in all 10 of their games. In the games Carmel did lose, it allowed a minimum of 32 points. If Crystal Lake South’s offense can put up a similar numbers, the Gators could be in good shape.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Quarterback Austin Fowler completed five passes in last week’s win and three of them were for touchdowns.
Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Brian Brennan’s excels at running the option, but he can pass the ball effectively when needed.
Prediction: Carmel 31, Crystal Lake South 24

Brother Rice (7-3) at No. 14 Downers Grove South (9-1)

Downers Grove South Brother Rice
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This is a showdown of two of the elite running backs in the state. Downers Grove South’s Josh Williams has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdown. Walker, who shares carries, has rushed for 1,189 yards and 17 touchdown on 148 carries. This is another chance for Brother Rice to prove itself against an elite team. The Crusaders had trouble against Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita during the regular season.
Brother Rice player to watch: Andrew Walker is the Crusaders’ other running back option.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Defensive back John Wauer intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble last week.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 34, Brother Rice 28

Lake Forest (8-2) at No. 8 Batavia (10-0)

Batavia Lake Forest
When:Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Top-seeded Batavia got a scare in the first round. The Bulldogs did dominate the second half of last week’s win against Notre Dame. They’ll be looking for that sort of start against Lake Forest. The Scouts have been a surprise this season. No one expected them here after dropping their season opener to Buffalo Grove. In a win over Stevenson and a loss to Lake Zurich, Lake Forest’s defense kept it in each game. Its offense will need to step up for the Scouts to have a chance.
Lake Forest player to watch: Owen Williams rushed for four touchdowns in the first half last week.
Batavia player to watch: Cole Gardner caught six passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Batavia 31, Lake Forest 21

Lakes (8-2) at Grant (7-3)

Grant Lakes
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: When these two teams met in Week 3, Lakes rolled to a 38-14 win over Grant. Since then, Grant has been a different team. It’s won six of its last seven games and pulled off a comeback win over Antioch in the first round. Lakes lost to Antioch during the regular season, but has been consistently solid on both sides of the ball all season.
Lakes player to watch: Direll Clark rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries last week.
strong>Grant player to watch: Running back Jonathan Well ran for 229 yards on 31 carries last week.
Prediction: Lakes 27, Grant 20

Joliet Catholic (8-2) at Morris (9-1)

Morris Joliet Catholic
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: These are two of the state’s most historic programs. Morris has made 29 playoff appearances, including 11 consecutive, owns a 60-25 playoff record, won three state titles and had six runner-up finishes. Joliet Catholic has made 35 playoffs appearances, including 14 consecutive, gone 97-21 in the playoffs, won 13 state titles and had three runner-up finishes. Morris has had two of its worst games of the season in the last two weeks. The Redskins’ main problem has been starting slow. Joliet Catholic’s offense can put up points quickly. If its defense can contain Morris, Joliet Catholic should advance.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Linebacker Austin Bolton had eight tackles and recovered an onside kick last week.
Morris to watch: Jeff Perry rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns over Morton last week.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Morris 21