#16 Belvidere (5-4) at #1 Maple Park Kaneland (9-0)
Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m.
Belvidere and Kaneland met this time last year, with Belvidere finishing the 2011 season at 5-4 and Kaneland at 9-0. Early this season, much of the attention on the Bucs’ offense was focused on receiver Kane Steger. Steger has put up big numbers in individual games, including his 175 yards on just six catches in week four, for the second most yards in a single game in school history. Only two of his receptions have been for touchdowns this season, however. Running back Maurice Jackson has seven touchdowns on the year, and teamed up with Steger on the interception/TD run that gave the Bucs their needed win over Belvidere North to make it into the playoffs. These two teams met this time last year. In 2011, Kaneland defeated Belvidere 51-45.
#16 Auburn (5-4) at #1 Cary-Grove (9-0)
Saturday, October 27 at 4 p.m.
At 5-4, the Auburn Knights knew they would face a number one team in their first visit to the postseason since 1990, but the Knights caught a slight break by dropping down a class to 6A to play Cary-Grove. This is the second consecutive week that Auburn will meet an undefeated team, after losing 60-6 to the Boylan Titans in the last week of the regular season. This is the ninth year in a row Cary-Grove has made the playoffs. They were 6A State Champions in 2009, finishing the season at a perfect 14-0. Auburn will need to be firing on all cylinders this week, and should hope for a few more big plays like last week’s kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter if they are to move on to round two.
#9 Libertyville (7-2) at #8 Harlem (7-2) – Game of the Week
Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Number three in the NIC-10 standings and number eight in Class 7A, Harlem faces #9 Libertyville at home on the only Friday night game this week. Libertyville has not won a playoff game since 2006, and was shutout by Boylan (40-0) in the first round of 2011. But in head coach Mike Jones’ first season, the Wildcats finished 2012 at 7-2 and outscored their opponents by nearly double (250-113). This appears to be the most evenly-matched meeting on the bracket in round one. That’s why it’s our Game of the Week!
#14 Villa Park (Willowbrook) (7-2) @ #3 Hononegah (8-1)
Saturday, October 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Hononegah ended the season with their only loss coming to Boylan in week one. They meet #14 Villa Park who, like Auburn, did not win a single game in 2011. Villa Park was actually outscored 312-319 points on the season, but still managed to finish at 7-2. This is their first trip to the playoffs in five years, but they haven’t advanced to the second round since 1990. They will face a Hononegah team that has been solid on both sides of the ball, and has won each of their last eight games by double digits.
Algonquin (Jacobs) (5-4) @ #2 Boylan (9-0)
Saturday, October 27 at 1:00 p.m.
This is the third year in a row Jacobs has made it to the playoffs under head coach Bill Mitz. They finished this season at 5-4, which included two very close losses to Cary-Grove and Huntley. They travel to Boylan this week to take on a team who still has not lost a single game since their 17-13 loss to Wheaton North back in 2009. Boylan and Hononegah both have a good shot at winning their first two rounds and meeting each other in the quarter finals.
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