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Friday, October 21, 2011
Updated: November 20, 5:33 PM ET
Football playoff bracket -- Class 5A

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Playoff Brackets: Class 8A | 7A | 6A | 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

Montini isn't the top seed in Class 5A, but it has to be considered the state favorite as the Broncos aim for a third consecutive state title.

Montini's two losses this season came early in the year when it was without quarterback John Rhode due to injury. Rhode returned in Week 6, and the Broncos have been crushing teams ever since. Rhode's thrown 21 touchdown passes in the last four weeks, and he even shared duties in his first game back.

Montini (7-2) was placed in the lower bracket as a No. 6 seed. Its greatest competition in the lower bracket to get to another state title game likely will be No. 2 Marian Central (9-0), which defeated Montini without Rhode, and No. 1 Kaneland, which is coming off an impressive win over Morris.

No. 7 Tinley Park, which has an explosive offense, and No. 14 Julian, which is thriving since Dae'Shaun Hurley became eligible, could be sleepers in the bottom bracket.

In the upper bracket, No. 4 Joliet Catholic (7-2) and No. 1 Springfield Heart-Griffin (9-0) are the likely favorites. Joliet Catholic has a knockout offense. There isn't a better backfield than Malin Jones and Ty Isaac in the state. The Hilltoppers' problem has been stopping opponents as of late. Springfield Sacred-Heart Griffin (9-0) has outscored its opponents 432-89 and is a traditional powerhouse.

Morris (8-1), Washington (8-1), Triad (8-1), Chatham Glenwood (8-1) and Centralia (8-1) are also among the teams to watch in the upper bracket.