Dunbar vs. Simeon
When: 7:15 p.m. Friday at Gately.
Outlook: Dunbar took its lumps early, losing 35-8 at Lake Forest and 56-8 at St. Rita. But with dual-threat QB Demoria Harris running an explosive offense, the Mighty Men (3-3, 2-1 Illini Red Bird) have played themselves back into contention for an IHSA postseason berth. A win here clinches at least a share of the conference title for No. 21 Simeon (5-1, 3-0), which has won five in a row since losing 28-26 to St. Rita in Week 1. The speedy, physical Wolverines defense vs. Harris’ free-wheeling style is the matchup to watch here. Simeon’s offense has a variety of options, including RB Dion Earls Jr. and QB Timon Watkins.
Homewood-Flossmoor at Bolingbrook
When: 7 p.m. Friday, HighSchoolCube.com.
Outlook: No. 5 Bolingbrook (5-1, 4-0 SouthWest Suburban Blue) was a consensus preseason No. 1, thanks in large part to a defense loaded with Division I prospects such as DT Micah Dew-Treadway (Notre Dame); DBs Jacob Huff (Minnesota), Armani McNulty (Ball State) and Isaac Lane; and LBs Julian Huff (Minnesota) and Tuf Borland. The Raiders were stunned by Hinsdale Central in their opener, but have been on cruise control since, winning five straight by an average of 36 points. No. 14 H-F (4-2, 3-1), whose losses were to No. 1 Stevenson and No. 9 Lincoln-Way East, has the size up front and the playmakers in the backfield to challenge that Bolingbrook defense.
Richards at Reavis
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Outlook: There are few better motivators — or more entertaining sideline presences – than Reavis coach Tim Zasada, who has revived a program that hasn’t had much to cheer about since its ’80s heyday. This will be by far the toughest test of the season for the Rams (6-0, 4-0 South Suburban Red), who have played just one team with a winning record. QB Isiah Alpuche and RB Khalid Norvell have been productive for the Rams and will need to be again. Dual-threat QB Hasan Muhammad-Rogers and a deep receiving corps led by Spencer Tears make No. 18 Richards (5-1, 3-0) a headache for opposing defenses.
Joliet Catholic at Nazareth
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, HighSchoolCube.com.
Outlook: No. 19 Joliet Catholic (5-1, 4-0 East Suburban Catholic) has been known for its stout running game for decades and Nick Borgra is the latest productive back produced by the Hilloppers. But QB Cade Earl also has made some big plays during Joliet Catholic’s five-game winning streak. No opponent has come closer than 21 points to No. 6 Nazareth (6-0, 4-0), which has one of the state’s premier RB tandems in Neuqua Valley transfer Nolan Dean and Julian Love. They and QBs Carson Bartels and Jonah Beauduy all are playmakers on offense, while LBs Dan Bakovich and Decx Kelly-Martin lead the defense.