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Prep Football Preview Capsules: Playoffs Round 1

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No. 15 DeKalb (5-4) at No. 2 Batavia (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday

Location: Batavia High School, 1201 Main St., Batavia

2012 playoff results: Batavia lost to Downers Grove, 38-26 in the first round of the Class 7A tournament. DeKalb did not make the playoffs.

Scouting the Bulldogs: The Batavia offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, averaging more than 45 points a game. Quarterback Micah Coffey is an extremely accurate passer, and tailback Anthony Scaccia is a touchdown machine on the ground.

On the other side of the ball, Batavia hasn’t given up more than 14 points in a game since a 49-20 victory against Geneva in Week 3. Since then, the Bulldogs have rolled through their schedule with a 6-0 record and an average margin of victory of 39 points.

Keys to victory: Tonight brings a chance for the Barbs to extend their surprise season with a huge upset win. DeKalb has the big-play ability to put more pressure on the Bulldogs than anyone has since early in the season.

The biggest question, however, is whether the Barbs’ defense can slow Batavia. It’ll be a tall task for a unit that gave up 41 points to Rochelle a week ago.

– Luke Srodulski,

No. 12 Hampshire (6-3) at No. 5 Kaneland (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday

2012 playoff results: Kaneland advanced to the second round in Class 5A, losing 31-15 to Lincoln-Way West. Hampshire did not qualify for playoffs.

Scouting the Whip-Purs: Hampshire took third place in the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division, and the Whip-Purs have won three of their past four games and scored more than 40 points in each victory. Hampshire beat only one playoff team all season, defeating DeKalb, 35-34, in Week 2.

The Whip-Purs will rely heavily on their running game. Nick Kielbasa has run for 1,189 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Nick Mohlman is efficient, having thrown for 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Keys to victory: With a victory, Kaneland likely will face Joliet Catholic in the second round. Last season, the Knights would have met the Hilltoppers in the quarterfinals, but lost at Lincoln-Way West in the Class 5A second round. Kaneland can’t afford to look past the Whip-Purs.

If the Knights play as they should and avoid mistakes, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be heading into Round 2 for the fourth consecutive year.

– Steve Nitz,

No. 13 Genoa-Kingston (5-4) at No. 4 Geneseo (8-1)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday

Location: Geneseo High School, 700 N. State St., Geneseo

2012 playoff results: Genoa-Kingston did not qualify for playoffs. Geneseo won its first three 5A playoff games against St. Viator, Rochelle and Rock Island Alleman before losing to Morris, 35-0, in the Class 5A semifinals.

Scouting the Maple Leafs: It might be a little tough to judge exactly how good the 2013 Geneseo team is because of its weak schedule. The Maple Leafs faced only two playoff teams (Sycamore and Chicago Raby), and the Spartans shut out Geneseo, 19-0.

Senior quarterback Luke Snyder is in his third year as the starter and he threw for three touchdown passes last week. But he’ll make his mark in the run game, for the most part, and has amassed 2,557 total yards this season.

Running backs Rayce Singbush and Ryan Webster are the two main threats out of the backfield, but the Maple Leafs also will mix in Lane Akre and Joey Medina.

Keys to victory: Although the results haven’t been positive, Genoa-Kingston has played well in its big games.

The Cogs will continue to rely heavily on the ground game with Sal Lopez and Eli Thurlby. G-K also will need to take advantage of its opportunities in the passing game.

G-K coach Travis Frederick hasn’t been afraid to take risks all season. Twice, he’s opted to go for two-point conversions late in games, and it would be surprising if Frederick opted for that choice once again if the Cogs keep it close.

– Ross Jacobson,

No. 15 Antioch (5-4) at No. 2 Sycamore (9-0)

Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday

2012 playoff results: Sycamore advanced to the second round in Class 5A, where it lost to Montini, 24-22. Antioch did not qualify for playoffs.

Scouting the Sequoits: Antioch’s three in-state losses came against teams with a combined record of 25-2. The Sequoits started 2-4, but won their final three games to qualify for the postseason.

Antioch racked up 412 rushing yards in its Week 9 victory over Vernon Hills as three players gained more than 90 yards each, including sophomore Griffin Hill.

Starting QB Zach Andre was injured last week and was replaced by Alan Taylor, who ran for 137 yards on 10 carries in the second half.

Keys to victory: Sycamore proved last week that it can win – and dominate – even when missing a couple of key starters.

Whether it’s been Devin Mottet or Nick Feuerbach playing quarterback, Sycamore consistently has taken care of the football, winning the turnover battle. If Mottet can’t make the start, Feuerbach will have to continue to make good decisions on run and pass plays.

Dion Hooker appears to be healthy, so Sycamore can lean heavily on Hooker and Riley Hurley if their offensive line consistently gets a good push as it has throughout the season.

Run-heavy offenses aren’t anything new to Sycamore, which has beaten Geneseo, Rochelle, DeKalb and Morris this year. The Spartans’ strong linebacking corps once again will be a big factor.

– Ross Jacobson,

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