East St. Louis (10-0) at Rock Island (8-2)
Today: 1 p.m. at Almquist Field. Twitter: @jaydub_DA. On the air: QCSportsNet.com
GameDay: The Rocks have won four straight, allowing 16.0 points per game. ... RI standout JáKye Hill missed last week's game against Dunlap with an injury. Hill, who leads the Rocks with 23 receptions for 433 yards, is expected to be back today. ... The Flyers have seven freshmen linemen on the roster, they go 6-foot/230-pounds, 6-1/240, 6-3/250, 5-11/260, 6-4/300, 6-6/330 and 6-3/360. ... ESL quarterback Tyler Macon has completed 154 passes on 226 attempts for 3,091 yards with 29 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
RI coach Ben Hammer: "They are fast. They are big. They are athletic. They are fast. Did I say that before? Yeah, they are fast. I don't know if they have seen a defense that is as aggressive as we will be. I have faith in our defense. ... Us coaches know the history and tradition of East St. Louis, but our kids don't know or care about that."
Kewanee (7-3) at Coal City (10-0)
Today: 1 p.m. at Coal City High School. On the air: WKEI-FM 100.1 & WKEI-AM 1450 & regionaldailynews.com.
GameDay: Eighth-seeded Kewanee's 50-0 first-round win over Chicago Agricultural Science, a game in which sophomore Josh Nimrick scored three touchdowns, was the Boilermakers' first playoff victory since the second round of the 1999 Class 3A postseason. ... This is the first meeting between Kewanee and Coal City. ... Champions of the Illinois Central Eight Conference, the top-seeded Coalers have outscored their opposition 402-87 through 10 games and at one point posted three consecutive shutouts; they got their fourth with last week's 49-0 win over Chicago Phoenix. Senior RB Daniel Jezik leads Coal City with 1,829 yards and 21 touchdowns, while senior QB Payton Hutchings has thrown for 648 yards and 15 TDs.
Kewanee coach Brad Swanson: "He (Jezik) is everything you want out of a running back; he runs hard, runs downhill and has a low center of gravity. He's the man, they want to hand it to him 20 to 25 times and let him do the work. (Hutchings) is capable, but they want to ride (Jezik) to the next round. But, I think we can play physical football and take them out of what they want to do. We've talked all week about just playing Boilermaker football, put yourself in good situations and play the game, and you never know what'll happen."
Up next: The Kewanee-Coal City winner will face either Wheaton St. Francis (9-1) or Genoa-Kingston (9-1) in next weekend's 4A quarterfinals. If the Boilermakers win, they would either host St. Francis or travel to Genoa-Kingston.
Mercer County (7-3) at Clifton Central (10-0)
Today: 3 p.m. at Central High School. On the air: WRMJ-FM 102.3 & wrmj.com
You have free articles remaining.
GameDay: Riding high after shutting out Palos Heights Chicago Christian 41-0 last Saturday for their first postseason win since the 2013 Class 2A quarterfinals, MerCo's sixth-seeded Golden Eagles look to ride big first-round efforts by junior RB Braden Williams (176 yards, three TDs) and freshman QB Matthew Lucas (108 passing yards) into the Elite Eight. Williams has 828 yards and 10 TDs rushing and 1,026 total yards through 10 games, seconded by fellow junior Raven Gutierrez's 339 yards and five TDs; Lucas has thrown for 545 yards. ... Champions of the Sangamon Valley Conference, Central's third-seeded Comets are led by the arm of junior QB Jay Lemenager (1,628 yards, 21 TDs), with junior Jacob Shoven his top target with 28 catches for 682 yards and eight TDs. Fellow junior Chandler Burrow has 25 catches for 483 yards and eight TDs. On the ground, Central is led by Lemenager (546 yards, six TDs) and another junior, Garrett Graham (778 yards, 13 TDs).
Mercer County coach Andrew Hofer: "They've got some weapons, they're a very explosive offense that can hit you at any moment. A couple of keys for us to stop that is to try and get pressure on (Lemenager) and put them in some uncomfortable positions where they could make mistakes. They run a 4-4 defense that has been solid all year, but there's some things we think we can do against them. Really, it's the play up front in the trenches that'll be paramount to who comes out on top."
Up next: The MerCo-Central winner plays either Elgin St. Edward (7-3) or Minonk Fieldcrest (10-0) in next weekend's 2A quarterfinals. If the Golden Eagles win, they would host regardless of opponent.
Annawan-Wethersfield (10-0) at Forreston (8-2)
Today: 5 p.m. at Forreston High School. Twitter: @jaydub_DA. On the air: WKEI-FM 102.1 & regionaldailynews.com.
GameDay: The top-seeded A-W Titans kept their perfect season going in style, rolling past Lewistown 52-0 last week behind 232 total yards and four TDs from junior QB Coltin Quagliano and a 97-yard, two-TD rushing performance from classmate and HB Reece Gripp. The Lincoln Trail Conference champions have outscored their opposition 410-79 and have recorded five shutouts in 10 games. ... Led by the senior duo of Dom Christensen and Ethan Mulder, who have combined for 1,236 rushing yards, Forreston has won 20 of its last 22 playoff games, taking 1A state titles in 2014, '16 and '18; the Cardinals' only losses this year are to unbeaten Lena-Winslow and Freeport Aquin.
A-W coach Logan Willits: "We feel like this is a huge matchup, the level of competition raising itself. I think it's a chance for us to kind of prove what this co-op and what our football family is able and capable of doing. It gives us the opportunity to showcase ourselves against the defending champions and a team from arguably one of the best 1A/2A leagues (the Northwest Upstate Illini) in Illinois, and going on the road to do it. If we put our best foot forward and play our best game, it should work out for us."
Up next: Either A-W or Forreston will advance to next weekend's 1A quarterfinals to face the winner between Kirkland Hiawatha (9-1) and Morrison (10-0). If the Titans win, they would host the next round.
Kirkland Hiawatha (9-1) at Morrison (10-0)
Today: 1 p.m. at Bud Cole Field. Twitter: @DLansman_DA. On the air: QCSportsNet.com
GameDay: Both hosting and winning their first playoff game in eight years, Morrison's fourth-seeded Mustangs look to build upon a dominating 56-8 first-round win over Ridgewood. The Three Rivers Rck Division champions boast a potent offensive weapon in senior speedster Keegan Anderson, who has rushed for 503 yards and seven TDs and caught 11 passes for 502 yards and three scores. On the ground, senior Riley Wilkens leads the way with 632 yards and 13 TDs, while junior QB Nathan Helms has thrown for 804 yards and nine scores. ... The fifth-seeded Hiawatha Hawks boast a solid passing game behind junior QB Matthew Korb (1,290 yards, 18 TDs), with senior Ty Kilcullen his favorite target with 41 receptions for 668 yards and 13 TDs. On the ground, senior Kyle Thompson is the main main with 1,603 yards and nine TDs.
Morrison coach Ryan Oetting: "They've got some nice skill players and run a good spread offense, but we've seen that throughout the year, and we're prepared for it. Our sophomores have been helping us this week as our scout team, and they're doing a good job; we've had a wonderful week of practice. For us, our line play has been good, so we need to continue that, and we've been working on cutting down on our penalties."
Up next: The Hiawatha-Morrison winner advances to next weekend's 1A quarterfinals against either Annawan-Wethersfield (10-0) or Forreston (8-2). If the Mustangs win, they are on the road.