Class 7A’s No. 1 seed Simeon puts its unbeaten record to the test in the quarterfinals with a tough matchup against No. 8 seed Nazareth (10-1) on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of the Sun-Times’ Super 25 and boast impressive playmakers who could make for a high-scoring game at Gately Stadium.
Receiver Rashaan Palmer earned Player of the Week honors last week after powering Simeon (11-0) to a 48-35 second-round victory over Lincoln-Way West. The 6-4 wideout caught five passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, including a 70-yard score, proving to have strong chemistry with senior quarterback Alante Brown.
Nazareth will likely turn to running back Michael Love to try to match Simeon’s attack. Love made plays all over the field for the Roadrunners in their big win over Hersey last week, including a 84-yard punt return touchdown, a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a forced fumble on defense that likely saved a score. He’ll need to be stellar again Saturday to keep Nazareth’s playoff run alive.
Marist (10-1) at Homewood-Flossmoor (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
Coming off a shootout win over Naperville Central last week, Marist may have a much different kind of game on its hands against defensive-minded Homewood-Flossmoor. The Redhawks defense allowed more points in the second round (35) than it had in the previous five weeks combined. The Vikings will be more than happy to play that way: They’ve have allowed a total of 10 points in their last four games.
Loyola (8-3) at Maine South (10-1), 1 p.m. Saturday
Can Loyola continue its playoff run after an underwhelming regular season? The Ramblers came to play in a 22-0 shutout of Oswego last week but face another big challenge Saturday against Maine South, the team that beat them in the 2016 state final. The Hawks had little trouble with Huntley and Waubonsie Valley in their first two postseason games, but Loyola looks to be back in form at just the right time.
East St. Louis (9-2) vs. Mount Carmel (10-1) at Gately, 5 p.m. Saturday
Ignore the seeding in this matchup because these two teams are far better than No. 7 vs. No. 15. Mount Carmel narrowly squeezed by Lake Zurich, 17-14, in the second round but hasn’t lost since August. East St. Louis, arguably the fastest team in the state, slams the pedal down and keeps it there. The Flyers are coming off a 56-0 shellacking of previously unbeaten Glenbard East and have averaged 67 points per game over their last four contests.
Phillips (9-2) at Cary-Grove (11-0), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
The Jahleel Billingsley show hits its next stage with a matchup against the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A bracket. Cary-Grove hasn’t lost this season, and most weeks, it hasn’t been close, either. Phillips will likely need Billingsley, the two-way star committed to Alabama, to be at his best again in order to reach the semifinals.
More Sun-Times high school sports stories
- VIDEO: Watch the CST Game Week show for playoff predictions
- SUPER 25: Loyola returns to rankings
- PLAYOFF BRACKETS: All eight classes
- Beth Long’s predictions for Class 8A
- Beth Long’s predictions for Class 7A
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