Brother Rice (4-1, 1-0) vs. Mount Carmel (2-3, 0-2)
When: 7 p.m., Friday at Gately Stadium
Outlook: Don’t think for a second the Crusaders aren’t cherishing this opportunity at inching the Caravan closer to the playoff ledge. For Rice to register the road win, its defense must read and react properly to the Caravan’s option attack. At the same time, the Crusaders offense, led by QB Alex Alarcon (62 of 115, 858 yards) and RB Marcus Jones (86 carries, 525 yards), must sustain drives and chew clock. Mount Carmel is coming off its best performance of the season on offense, posting 49 points during a win over De La Salle. A.J. Lewis (65-375) and QB Anthony Thompson key the Caravan’s attack.
Lincoln-Way Central (4-1, 3-0) at Lincoln-Way North (5-0, 3-0)
When: 7:15 p.m., Friday
Outlook: The Phoenix have outscored their foes 226-58 in posting a perfect record. However, those opponents have a combined 5-20 record — or one win less than Central has recorded in five games. The Knights’ competition thus far is 14-11, which should have prepared them well for this encounter. Central will go as far as RB Sean Studer (148-810) will take them. North will try to slow down Studer and force Central to the air. The key for the Knights will be to find a way to slow down North’s offense, which features QB Ryan Arthur (41 of 57, 941 yards), RB Jaylen Branch (60-449) and WR Jake Hradek (16 catches, 358 yards).
T.F. South (3-2, 2-1) at Tinley Park (4-1, 2-0)
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Outlook: If T.F. South has any intentions of remaining in the South Suburban Blue battle for supremacy, it must win here. The Rebels have struggled to score points, recording just 94 on the season. The good news, however, is that they’ve allowed just 62. Big games by QB Cody Petrich and RB Torian Lewis would go a long way in securing the win for the Rebels. Tinley Park’s offense has resembled a juggernaut, with QB Quinn Kelly (89 of 178, 1,055 yards) & Co. registering 180 points. Kelly likes to spread it around, connecting with five different receivers on touchdowns against Argo. When the Titans run the ball, Jamari McDonald (80-428) is the go-to guy.
Crete-Monee (3-2, 2-0) at Bloom (4-1, 1-0)
When: noon, Saturday
Outlook: Is this the year someone other than the seven-time defending conference champion Warriors claims the Southland? Bloom would put itself in ideal position with a win here. QB Jordan Benavides has been getting the job done with his arm and legs. RB Emmanual Williams has been dynamite out of the backfield and twin brother Rapheal Williams provides a dangerous threat at receiver. Since a Week 3 loss to Sycamore, Crete-Monee has outscored its last two opponents 86-24. QB Frank Douglas (87 of 153, 824 yards) and RB Xavier Ledet (36-334) are keys to the offense. LB Omari Stringer, an Indiana recruit, anchors the Warriors’ defense.
Providence (5-0, 2-0) at Loyola (4-1, 0-1)
When: 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: A victory by the Celtics eliminates the Ramblers from the Catholic Blue race. If there’s one team in the Blue capable of slowing down Providence’s offense, it’s Loyola, which has allowed just 54 points on the season. It’s unlikely, though, that the Ramblers’ defense has faced an offense as balanced and explosive as the Celtics’. QB Justin Hunniford (101 of 131, 1,247) has been remarkably efficient. WR Miles Boykin (34, 529) is the best pass catcher in the area. RB Richie Warfield (64-342) quickly is developing into an elite runner, though he’s just a sophomore. Since a 16-13 loss to Brother Rice in Week 3, Loyola outscored its next two foes by a 97-13 margin.