Providence, Lincoln-Way East get Saturday night lights

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After Providence and Lincoln-Way East both played their opening-round playoff games Friday, it seemed logical the much-anticipated second-round match-up would be played Friday night.

However, per IHSA guidelines, playoff games are played Saturday unless both teams agree to play Friday. Providence preferred Saturday.

“We are not in school Thursday or Friday and we have an awful lot of activity going on at school this week,” Providence athletic director Doug Ternik said. “It’s just a crazy week. So, yes, we wanted to play Saturday.”

East, which also does not have school Friday, will be home and wanted to play at night, on whichever day. The result is a 7 p.m. Saturday kickoff.

“We wanted to play under the lights anyway, and we have a huge craft fair here at school on Saturday,” Griffins athletic director Mark Vander Kooi said. “It really would have been a mess had we played during the day.”

Having that second-round showdown Saturday night leaves the Joliet area with one Friday game among its eight. That one is huge in its own right.

Neuqua Valley (10-0), a No. 1 seed in the 8A bracket, will visit Bolingbrook (8-2) at 7 p.m. The Raiders are the defending 8A state champions and entered this season as candidates for a repeat.

Those lofty hopes were dealt a blow when All-State quarterback Aaron Bailey suffered a knee sprain early in the Week 6 loss to Lincoln-Way East. Bailey has not played since. However, the Raiders’ offense has been clicking lately with Quincy Woods calling the signals.

Meanwhile, with Providence and Lincoln-Way East playing Saturday night and Kaneland having played Saturday, Lincoln-Way West athletic director Ted Robbins and coach Dave Ernst decided the Warriors hosting Kaneland in the afternoon Saturday would be a good idea. That 5A game will kick off at 1 p.m.

“Dave and I talked about it, and what we wanted to do is attract some of the New Lenox area crowd that wants to go watch Lincoln-Way East and Providence at night,” Robbins said. “We’ll give them a doubleheader to see.”

Two other area 5A games also are scheduled Saturday, with Joliet Catholic hosting Tinley Park at 1 p.m. and Morris entertaining Urbana at 4 p.m.

Wilmington and Lemont both will play at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats are home against St. Joseph-Ogden in 3A and the Indians visit Richards in 6A.

Coal City is this week’s true road warrior among area teams. The Coalers journey to Geneseo for a 4A battle at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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