8A: Oswego (10-1) at Lincoln-Way East (11-0), 6 Sat.
Lincoln-Way East has topped the Super 25 since Week 2, after beating defending state champs Maine South by two points. The Griffins have dominated almost every opponent. The Griffins have one of the top defensive lines in the area, led by Northwestern recruit Devin O’Rourke. That unit is a force to be reckoned with. They’ve allowed seven points or less seven times this season. Lincoln-Way East needed a last second field goal to beat St. Charles East last week. Oswego’s defense has been excellent throughout the playoffs, led by Iowa recruit Noah Shannon. The Panthers are coming off an impressive 24-20 win against Glenbard West. Oswego is on a ten-game winning streak. The winner here becomes the Class 8A favorite.
8A: Loyola (10-1) at Marist (11-0), 7 Sat.
Two teams that have had hugely successful seasons without attracting a ton of attention along the way. Marist, the East Suburban Catholic conference champions, have the defense to win the state title. The RedHawks playoff run hinges on the success of quarterback Mike Markett and running back Delonte Harrell. Loyola, the Catholic League Blue champions, has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. The Ramblers are riding an 11-game winning streak and have plenty of momentum after a convincing win against Hinsdale Central.
7A: East St. Louis (10-1) vs. Mount Carmel (8-3) at Gately, 5 Sat.
A match-up of traditional heavyweights, this should be a good one. Mount Carmel just continues to pick up steam with each win and is hoping to stay on a roll against the defending Class 7A state champions. The Caravan beat Norma 14-13 last week. They’ve played a lot of close games this season and their defense has been strong. East St. Louis always has top talent and this year is no different with sophomore running back DeMonta Witherspoon and quarterback Eric Johnson having big seasons. If Mount Carmel can take down the Flyers, it will prove to be a real factor in Class 7A.
7A: Batavia (10-1) at Lincoln-Way West (9-2), 1 Sat.
Batavia survived an overtime thriller last week, beating Wheaton North 20-17 on a touchdown pass from quarterback Riley Cooper to receiver Eric Peterson. Jared Martin, another receiver, has also made a big impact for the Bulldogs. Batavia’s defense only allowed 31 points in the first eight weeks of the season, posting four shutouts. Lincoln-Way West traveled to Alton in the second round and grabbed a 42-13 win behind running backs Caleb Marconi and Anthony Izzarelli.
5A: Lemont (10-1) vs. Phillips (11-0) at Gately, 1 Sat.
Undefeated Phillips has tons of talented athletes. When the Wildcats are working well together they are incredibly tough to beat. Phillips opened with convincing wins over Loyola, Richards and Simeon and haven’t slowed down. Toledo recruit Terrance Taylor is one of the top performers on the defensive line along with all-purpose athlete Craig Elmore. He was responsible for six touchdowns and 232 yards in the Wildcats’ 55-14 win against Solorio last week. Lemont dominated its second round matchup, beating Lakes 42-6. Running back Anthony Martin is one to watch along with quarterback Marcus Mathias. Lemont’s defense is the star of the the show though, allowing just six points in the last four games.