Prep Football Playoff Preview Capsules: Second Round
No. 2 Sycamore (10-0) at No. 10 Nazareth Academy (8-2)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday
Location: Nazareth Academy 1209 W Ogden Ave., La Grange Park
How they got here: Nazareth defeated Brooks on road, 37-13, in first round. Sycamore defeated Antioch, 48-24, in first round at home.
Scouting the Roadrunners: Nazareth uses a balanced attack that includes a lot of personnel rotations. The Roadrunners will switch in and out with three different quarterbacks, two of which are brothers, and use a handful of running backs as well.
Their only losses on the season came to Joliet Catholic and Marist, but have reeled off six consecutive wins since the back-to-back losses. A year after missing the playoffs, Nazareth will look to get back to the quarterfinals for only the third time in its history.
Keys to victory: Much as Sycamore has done all season long, the Spartans must limit mistakes and not turn the ball over. Both Nick Feuerbach and Devin Mottet have done an excellent job at making plays with both their arm and feet, but not forcing throws too often.
Another big game from a healthy Dion Hooker could mean the Spartans advancing to the quarterfinals for only the second time in the Joe Ryan era.
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com
No. 5 Kaneland (9-1) at No. 4 Joliet Catholic (9-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Saturday
Location: Joliet Memorial Stadium, 3200 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
How they got here: Kaneland defeated Hampshire at home, 35-0, in first round. Joliet Catholic defeated Chicago Urban Prep Charter/Englewood at home, 69-12, in first round.
Scouting the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic is one of the most historic programs in the state of Illinois, posting an Illinois-record 13 state championships. The Hilltoppers won the strong East Suburban Catholic Conference, with its only loss being a one-point defeat against Chicago St. Patrick, a Class 7A school.
This year, despite the loss of tailback Ty Isaac, who’s now at USC, Joliet Catholic hasn’t missed a beat. Mike Ivlow is now the Hilltoppers primary running back and has run for 2,140 yards, with an average of 9.6 yards per carry.
Keys to victory: The Knights are going have to play a nearly flawless game to come up with a victory. Kaneland does have good size, which will play a big factor in containing the Hilltoppers’ wing-T rushing attack.
The Knights offense will have to be at their best in what could be a high-scoring game, with quarterback Drew David playing mistake-free football.
– Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org