Class 8A: St. Charles East (7-2) at Oswego East (7-2), 6:30 Sat.
St. Charles East is riding a four-game winning streak and both of its losses were to Super 25 teams. The Saints have done a masterful job of spreading out the offensive workload this season. Seven different players scored touchdowns in their 77-0 win against Elgin. Senior quarterback Clayton Isbell and running back Justin Jett have both had impressive seasons. Oswego East has lost two of its last three games, but did beat Plainfield East 26-3 last week. The Bengals calling card is defense, led by linebacker B.J. Graves and cornerback Antwain Walker, an Illinois recruit.
Class 8A: West Aurora (7-2) at Naperville Central (7-2), 7 Fri.
West Aurora is averaging 42 points in each of its seven wins. The Blackhawks offense has hit another gear with the return of Camron Donatlan. The three-sport standout focused on receiver before an injury forced him to sit out the majority of the season. He came back with a vengeance in Week 8, played running back and is ready to make a major impact in the playoffs. Naperville Central has plenty of talented athletes on the roster and has heated up for playoff runs before, especially in 2013 when it rolled to the Class 8A state title. The Redhawks clinched the DuPage Valley title with a win against Lake Park last week. Senior running back AJ Deinhart has helped Naperville Central establish the run this year.
Class 8A: Warren (6-3) at Bolingbrook (7-2), 7:30 Fri.
Bolingbrook has put together an impressive season. The Raiders lost to Lincoln-Way East and Homewood-Flossmoor, two of the state’s best teams. Bolingbrook’s talented athletes, including junior running back Quentin Pringle, started turning heads midway through the season. Senior defensive lineman Deshaun Mallory and electric athlete I’Shawn Stewart have also impressed for the Raiders. Warren has its own quick-strike athlete in receiver Micah Jones, a Notre Dame recruit. Junior running back Martin Walker has been a big contributor for the Blue Devils in the last few games. Warren knocked off a solid Stevenson team 21-14 in Week 9, so it is on a high heading into this game.
Class 8A: Palatine (6-3) at South Elgin (8-1), 1:30 Sat.
South Elgin’s only loss came in a close game against No. 11 Batavia. Quarterback Nate Gomez’s connection with receiver Jaron Wells has been evident all season. The pair has helped the Storm’s offense average more than 40 points. Palatine claimed the second spot in the Mid-Suburban West and picked up its sixth win last week against talented Hoffman Estates. The Pirates have that momentum, plus the experience the gained after winning conference the past three years. Palatine has a very strong defense, led by linebacker Cortez Hogans and a host of other tough athletes.
Class 7A: Simeon (6-3) at St. Rita (7-2), 7 Fri.
St. Rita has been a quiet success story this season. The Mustangs enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. Their offense is strong, led by consistent quarterback Jake Zylman. Quarterback Alante Brown is the Simeon player to keep your eye on. The Wolverines have won their last six games after starting the season 0-3. Those losses were all to quality teams. Wide receiver Marques Ray and running back Jamari Fowler have both been playing well for Simeon.