High-SchoolIllinois: J.J. Robertson

Football playoffs: Week 1 review

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
2:09
PM ET
With the first round of the playoffs in the books, we've learned a lot about which teams are for real, and which teams are not. Let's jump into things with a feature I like to call "Contender or Pretender (or Chicken Tender)."

CONTENDERS

Aaron Bailey and Bolingbrook: The junior quarterback was spectacular in Bolingbrook's 33-14 win over Neuqua Valley, rushing for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Three of the TDs came on huge plays (66, 71 and 80 yards), and that's something Bailey has been able to do consistently this season. Because of that big-play ability, Bailey and the Raiders are definitely contenders in Class 8A.

Lincoln-Way East: The Griffins' passing attack was in high gear on Friday night, as senior quarterback Blake Winkler threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Plainfield South. Senior wideout J.J. Robertson caught a pair of touchdowns and senior Jay Yancy paced the squad with 133 receiving yards and a touchdown. Wheaton-Warrenville South is next on the schedule for the top-seeded Griffins.

PRETENDERS

Stevenson: The Patriots may have defeated York, 31-28, in the first round of the 8A playoffs, but the win was not exactly impressive. Stevenson entered the fourth quarter leading by 17 points, but back-to-back late touchdowns took things down to the wire. With No. 1 Maine South up next in the second round, Stevenson doesn't look long for the postseason.

Brother Rice rushing TD record: The Crusaders' single-season record for rushing touchdowns fell on Friday night, as senior RB Martez Walker reached the end zone three times to break the mark. Walker ran for 183 yards and three scores to give him 19 on the season.

CHICKEN TENDERS

Simeon: The Wolverines opened the season at No. 7 in the POWERADE state rankings and with hopes of a state championship. Those hopes crumbled in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs, when fourth-seeded Simeon lost to No. 13 seed Lockport, 18-15. Simeon led, 12-0, at halftime before Lockport came alive. The Wolverines gave up the go-ahead touchdown with less than four minutes to play.

Want to play Contender or Pretender (or Chicken Tender)? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
With an impressive victory over a tough Homewood-Flossmoor team, Lincoln-Way East made the biggest leap of the week, climbing all the way to No. 3 in the POWERADE state rankings. QB Blake Winkler and WR J.J. Robertson hooked up for a pair of long touchdown passes in the 38-21 win. Robertson ended the game with 226 receiving yards, while Winkler finished with 290 passing yards. Maine South and Glenbard West both won easily to solidify their spots atop the rankings.
  1. Maine South, 4-0 — Defeated Niles North, 42-6 (last week: No. 1)
  2. Glenbard West, 4-0 — Defeated Hinsdale Central, 45-14 (last week: No. 2)
  3. Lincoln-Way East, 4-0 — Defeated Homewood-Flossmoor, 32-14 (last week: No. 10)
Click for full POWERADE Illinois Weekly Rankings
This weekend's slate of games have the potential to shake up the POWERADE state rankings, starting with No. 10 Lincoln-Way East's matchup against Homewood-Flossmoor.

Lincoln-Way East is 3-0 and looks ready to break through into the elite level. Though I have them ranked 10th, ESPNChicago has them at No. 3. A win over 3-0 Homewood-Flossmoor could vault them to that area in our rankings as well. Homewood-Flossmoor has allowed just 13 points on the season, so the Lincoln-Way East offense will have to earn this one.

The Game:
No. 10 Lincoln-Way East at Homewood-Flossmoor
Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The Players:
Lincoln-Way East — Senior receiver J. J. Robertson returned from a two-game suspension last week and made game-changing plays, racking up more than 100 yards and catching a long touchdown pass. Senior quarterback Blake Winkler has more than enough arm strength to stretch the field against Homewood-Flossmoor.

Homewood-Flossmoor — Much like Lincoln-Way East, the Vikings have an elite QB-WR combo to spark the passing game. Senior Tim Williams has been one of the most productive passers in the area this season, and receiver Gerald Butler is capable of making big plays.

The Stakes:
This game could end up deciding the Southwest Suburban Blue, as it did last year. Expect both teams to bring everything.

The Prediction:
Both teams have explosive offenses, but I believe in Lincoln-Way East's defense more. I think they'll get a couple more stops than Homewood-Flossmoor, and that will be enough.
LINCOLN-WAY EAST 34, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR 20

Other notable games:

No. 4 Loyola Academy at Providence
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
I'm a big believer in Loyola Academy QB Malcolm Weaver. That's enough for me in this matchup of 3-0 teams. LOYOLA ACADEMY 41, PROVIDENCE 28

No. 8 Wheaton South at Naperville North
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Both teams are 1-2, and falling to 1-3 is not an enticing option for either. I think Wheaton South's defense will stand up and win this one. WHEATON SOUTH 24, NAPERVILLE NORTH 7

No. 7 Montini at Marian Central
Friday, 7 p.m.
Montini barely squeezed past Marmion last week, and I see another close win this week. MONTINI 20, MARIAN CENTRAL 18

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