Five playoff football games to watch for Aurora area in Round 1

SHARE Five playoff football games to watch for Aurora area in Round 1


Metea Valley (5-4) at Waubonsie Valley (8-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

Next up: Brother Rice (6-3) at Naperville Central (7-2) winner.

Key players: Metea Valley — RB Bryson Oliver, DE Erin Morgan; Waubonsie Valley — QB Zack Bennema, RB Tony Durns.

Outlook: Call it The Rematch. No. 22 Warriors eked out 38-37 decision earlier in the season in Upstate Eight Valley play as Oliver and Durns each had four rushing TDs. Both teams have been playing better than they did earlier by opening up the passing games. Mustang QB Kyle Mooney (1,355 yards, 18 TDs) has been impressive throwing to Nick Dodson and Kris King, while Bennema has broken out, too.

Joliet West (5-4) at Oswego (8-1), 7 p.m. Saturday

Next up: Bolingbrook (6-3) at Bloom (7-2) winner.

Key players: Joliet West — WR Kyle Henderson, RB Brenton Thompson; Oswego — QB Steven Frank, RB Treshon Weddington.

Outlook: Tigers are making first appearance in school history and have a minus-3.7 point differential, averaging 23.9 and allowing 27.6. “They look pretty well-oiled,” Oswego coach Brian Cooney said. “They’re fast at the skill positions. This is one of the first times we’ve been a No. 1 seed. That’s just a reflection of what we did in the regular season. This is a new season and Joliet West will be ready to go.”


Mount Carmel (5-4) at Batavia (8-1), 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Next up: Belleville West (6-3) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (7-2) winner.

Key players: Mount Carmel — QB Anthony Thompson, RB Anthony Ries; Batavia — LB Jake Hlava, SS Nick Bernabei.

Outlook: Marquee matchup of first round pits defending 7A champ Caravan against 6A champion Bulldogs. Coach Frank Lenti’s club was on the brink of playoff elimination at 2-4 after Week 6 but won three straight to clinch 29th straight playoff berth in his tenure. The Caravan have won 11 state titles. “They run the veer option, in itself a big challenge because you don’t see it as much,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “They’ll run, run, run and then hit you with a big pass play. They graduated a ton last year, it just took them awhile to get their feet. They’re considered one of the top 10 programs in the country, not just the state.”

Hersey (6-3) at Geneva (8-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

Next up: Auburn (6-3) at Hononegah (8-1) winner.

Key players: Hersey — RB Bryan Castaneda, DB/WR Cole Monckton; Geneva — QB Daniel Santacaterina, WR/DB Pace Temple.

Outlook: Huskies were 3-3 but finished strong, outscoring final three opponents 125-27. O-line had injuries early but is back to full strength. Hersey claimed share of Mid-Suburban League East title after beating co-champ Rolling Meadows (minus its injured starting QB) 48-6 last week, when Huskies rushed for 300 yards. Hersey had four runners top 50 yards each and QB Eric Portenlanger threw for 160 yards and four scores.


Aurora Central (6-3) at Johnsburg (8-1), 1 p.m. Saturday

Next up: Plano (6-3) vs. Phillips (8-1) winner.

Key players: Aurora Central — QB Matt Rahn, RB/WR/DB Brandon Babler; Johnsburg — RB/DB Alex Peete, WR/OLB Haden Franzen.

Outlook: Johnsburg coach Mike Maloney, who played at Joliet Catholic and Illinois, took over struggling program in 2012. Skyhawks ended 25-game losing streak last season and enter with eight straight wins and first playoff appearance since 2009. Peete, a sophomore, has run for 1,225 yards and QB Nick Brengman has thrown for 1,042 out of wing-T attack Maloney learned in high school.

The Latest
Raised by his mom after the divorce, he barely knows his biological father and suspects the couple has reunited for the wrong reason.
Defensive end Montez Sweat and the Bears’ invigorated defensive front faces another challenge against right tackle Penei Sewell and the Lions’ offensive line. Can the Bears’ sustain their takeaway excellence — eight in the last two games?
Rabbi Barry Axler and his wife, Morene Dunn, of River North, are heading to Israel and near Gaza this weekend to feed members of the Israeli Defense Forces, which include two of his grandchildren.
The Bears are backsliding toward a remarkable opportunity. Were the season to end today, they’d draft first overall — a product of the Panthers, owners of the worst record in the NFL, having traded them the pick — and at No. 5.
Don’t become a statistic: Lots of Americans have had at least one package stolen from their homes or cars.