Class 8A playoff preview: Benet at Hinsdale Central

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Third-seeded Hinsdale Central (7-2) will play host to sixth-seeded Benet (6-3) at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs. Here’s what you should expect this weekend:

DIFFERENCE MAKERS

Hinsdale Central

Juwan Edmond, running back, sr. — The 5-8 senior has been solid for the Red Devils all season. He ran for 217 yards on 33 carries against Oak Park-River Forest in Week 8 and had and 115 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns against rival Downers Grove North in Week 9.

Matt Rafferty, quarterback, sr. — The 6-7 senior quarterback has shown poise and good decision-making skills after sitting out football last season. He has thrown 10 touchdowns in the last three games and led the Red Devils to victories over Oak Park-River Forest and, in Week 1, to top-ranked Bolingbrook.

Benet

Jack Snzajder, running back/defensive back, sr. — The older of the two Snzajders, he has been a workhorse in the backfield throughout the season. He had 24 carries for 205 yards and three touchdowns in the Redwings’ lopsided 66-7 Week 9 win against Marian Catholic.

Brad Snzajder, quarterback, so. —The 6-1 sophomore has been an efficient manager in his debut season after Jack Beneventi transferred to Fenwick. He went 9 of 16 passing for 114 yards with two TDs and he added 42 yards rushing against Marian Catholic.

THEE THINGS TO WATCH

When Hinsdale Centralthrows the ball …

Rafferty has a solid core of receivers as targets, which gives the Red Devils’ offense some versatility and balance. He’s had 13 completions in each of his last three games. He’s been accurate throwing the ball, with a 63.9-percent completion rate. His best receivers include senior receiver Thomas Ives, who had three TD receptions against Downers North, and junior receiver Bradley Huth, who had the game-winning catch against OPRF.

When Hinsdale Central runs the ball …

Edmond is an efficient running back able to collect yardage with his speed and quick-cut moves. The offensive line, led by senior Stefan Ivanesevic, has been very consistent, as well, clearing the way for Edmond to average 143 yards in his last three games and 6.7 yards per carry.

When Benet runs the ball …

Senior running back Jack Snzajder will be expected to carry the load for the Redwings and his success will have a major impact on the rest of their offense. In the Redwings’ 27-0 Week 8 loss to Joliet Catholic, he was held to 10 carries for 17 yards. He’ll need to produce like the Week 9 win at Marian Catholic and their Week 3 victory over Notre Dame when he ran for 253 yards on 23 carries.

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