Class 6A playoff preview: Lake Forest at Belvidere North

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Fourth-seeded Belvidere North (8-1) plays host to 13th-seeded Lake Forest (6-3) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Here’s a look at what you should expect this weekend:

DIFFERENCE MAKERS

Lake Forest

Wes Janeck, running back, sr. — Lake Forest rotates between Janeck, a 5-foot-10, 190-pounder, and junior Quinn Julian. Janeck possesses speed to outrun tacklers on the perimeter, and the power to barrel through gaps and get yards after contact. He had 129 carries for 950 yards and 17 touchdowns in the regular season.

Jack Traynor, linebacker, sr. — This is not one of the Scouts’ better defensive teams. In four regular season games against playoff teams, Lake Forest gave up an average of 29 points. But Traynor gives the unit a consistent tough-mindedness that was missing during stretches of the season. His 2014 production is off the charts: 108 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, four sacks and four interceptions.

Belvidere North

Jace Bankord, quarterback, sr. — A 6-2, 175-pound senior, Bankord broke two NIC-10 records this season. He holds marks in career passing yards, completions and touchdowns. Bankord captained a Blue Thunder team that scored 346 regular-season points and won its first conference title in the school’s nine-year history.

Kevin Tevebaugh, wide receiver, sr. — When a team’s quarterback tosses 47 touchdowns, as Bankord has in his career, someone has to catch the throws. Tevebaugh is equal to his trigger man in career proficiency. The 6-2, 180-pounder holds conference records in catches and receiving yards. He will be difficult matchup for the Scouts’ secondary.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

When Lake Forest passes the ball…

A work in progress all season, junior quarterback Danny Carollo is playing his best football now. Carollo struggled after an injury to favorite target Sage Lawrence against Stevenson in Week Four. But over the Scouts’ final three regular season games, Carollo’s numbers — 35-of-55 passing for 435 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions — showed a confident, efficient quarterback. Junior Brian Doherty has emerged as a receiving threat.

When Belvidere North calls on experience…

The Blue Thunder are a veteran, seasoned group. They went undefeated as freshman. This season, 10 offensive starters are seniors. It’s a team that outscored opponents by 200 points. If Lake Forest is to pull out a victory, it will have to outplay its opponent. Belvidere North will not beat itself.

When Lake Forest plays the run…

Lake Forest was torched for 494 yards in back-to-back losses to Warren (Oct. 3) and Lake Zurich (Oct. 10). Those were playoff teams. In their last two regular season games, against non-playoff teams Zion-Benton and Mundelein, the Scouts improved, but still allowed 318 yards on the ground. The Blue Thunder feature a good running back in junior Jared Cantu. Lake Forest needs to stop the run in order to prevent play-action passing from Bankord.

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