Southland’s top games to watch in Week 9

SHARE Southland’s top games to watch in Week 9
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Loyola (7-1, 2-1) vs. Mount Carmel (4-4, 0-3)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday, Gately Stadium

Outlook: It’s do or die for the Caravan, which needs to win to have any chance at qualifying for the postseason. For Mount Carmel to extend its postseason streak to 29 straight years, it’s going to have to find a way to crack Loyola’s defense, which has allowed just 84 points on the season. However, it’s a defense that allowed two big plays — a 74-yard TD pass and 81-yard TD run — to St. Rita during a 38-14 Loyola win in Week 8. The Caravan have game-breakers in running backs A.J. Lewis (89 carries, 590 yards), Anthony Ries (63-580) and Jaquan Buntyn (66-501). Each is capable of producing fireworks. A win assures Loyola of a share of its fifth straight Catholic Blue title.

St. Rita (6-2, 1-2) at Brother Rice (5-3, 2-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Outlook: The Mustangs can play the role of spoiler by posting a win and denying the Crusaders a share of the Catholic Blue title. St. Rita quarterback C.J. Weydeman has a terrific target in WR Brandon Gaston (31 catches, 682 yards) and a go-to RB in Tyre Lee (132-1,055). The Mustangs would do themselves a huge favor by stringing together time-consuming drives and keeping Rice’s spread-attack offense on the sideline. Crusader QB Alex Alarcon (126 of 213, 1,791 yards) is coming off a 430-yard passing performance during a 45-42 loss to Providence. WR Ricky Smalling (48, 742) is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Ditto for RB Marcus Jones (129-692).

Joliet Catholic (6-2, 5-1) at Marist (4-4, 3-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Outlook: The RedHawks need a win to extend their postseason streak to seven consecutive years. Marist would benefit hugely from a healthy Jawan Aldridge in the backfield. QB Brendan Skalitzky (130 of 203, 1,380) has multiple targets through the air, including RB/WR Darshon McCullough (493 yards rushing; 343 yards receiving). The RedHawks’ defense must find a way to stop JCA’s ground attack, led by Nick Borgra and Michael Johnson. If the RedHawks can force JCA to the air and produce a turnover or two, they could very well pull off the upset.

Sandburg (4-4, 3-3) at Bolingbrook (5-3, 4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Outlook: The Eagles have their work cut out against a Bolingbrook team that will be motivated coming off a 23-9 loss to Lincoln-Way East. The key for Sandburg is to generate offense against a skilled Raiders defense. The Eagles are coming off a 35-21 win over Stagg, which marks the most points Sandburg has scored in one game all season. QB Alec Fidan (28 of 51, 461), RB Jim Robley (105-431) and WR Adam Valiga (28, 453) are keys for Sandburg. The Raiders are coming off one of their worst offensive performances of the season. However, they have weapons that can strike often in Julian Huff, Jaden Huff and Isaac Lane.

T.F. South (6-2, 4-1) at T.F. North (4-4, 2-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Outlook: The Rebels have won 22 of the past 25 meetings between the long-time rivals. T.F. South QB Cody Petrich (54 of 107, 842 yards) doesn’t throw often, but is more than capable of marching the Rebels down field. When T.F. South goes into Wildcat formation mode, Torian Lewis (49-353) takes the direct snap and has the ability to make things happen. T.F. North has three dangerous playmakers in RBs Dontrell Munoz and Anthony Watkins and QB Aaron Dunnigan. The Rebels defense must be on guard against a momentum-changing, big-strike play.

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