(2011 records in parentheses)
SHEPARD (5-5) at BROTHER RICE (8-5)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
The breakdown: QB Jimmy McClinton, WR Londell Lee and RB Larenzo Lashley are potential game-breakers for Shepard. Sophomore WR Kyle Dye is another Astro to keep an eye on. Rice’s defense, led by Brian Craft, Marcos Cheatom and Danny Johnson, must be ready. Rice QB Matt Page has a big arm and can do some damage with his legs. Shepard K Tommy Eyer, with a Division I-caliber leg, ultimately could be the difference.
RICH EAST (7-4) at EISENHOWER (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last season: Rich East 25, Eisenhower 19
The breakdown: Rich East has won five straight against Eisenhower. Cardinals QB Dion Parker will try to make fans forget about four-year starter Justin Geiter. Parker doesn’t boast the same powerful arm, but he’s more than capable of leading the Cards down field. RB Kenny Baker will help Eisenhower try to move the chains against a physical Rockets defense, led by LB Nick Horne. Rich East QB Malcolm Miller, a three-year starter, has multiple weapons at his disposal.
JOLIET CATHOLIC (11-3) at PROVIDENCE (6-4)
When: 7:08 p.m. Friday, ESPNU
The breakdown: The good news for Providence is that it returns a good majority of returning starters on defense. They’ll all be needed to contain Joliet Catholic RB Ty Isaac, a USC recruit. The Celtics are down to their third-string QB after their starter opted to not come out and second-stringer was ruled ineligible. RB Brandon Price and WR Chad Weaver are keys for the Providence offense. Don’t be surprised if sophomore Myles Boykin, slated for receiver, takes some snaps for the Celtics.
HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR (8-4) at MARIAN CATHOLIC (4-5)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
The breakdown: One of the area’s finest rivalries returns after a year absence. H-F lacks experience, with just five starters back. But there’s a ton of firepower available, led by RB Taje Smith and TE Willie Ross. Marian Catholic, too, returns little in the way of experience. QB Patrick Schmidt, RBs Troy Nutall and Eric Hurley and WR Lorenzo Aldridge are likely candidates to find the end zone for the Spartans.
CARMEL (7-4) at LINCOLN-WAY EAST (9-2)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday
The breakdown: Interesting beginning of the season for Lincoln-Way East as the Griffins face Carmel and Montini before jumping into the SouthWest Suburban Blue portion of the schedule. QB Tom Fuessel, who can throw, adds another dimension to the East attack with his running ability.
MARIST (7-3) vs. ST. RITA (10-3)
When: 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Soldier Field
The breakdown: It’s unlikely Marist changes its approach on offense despite St. Rita boasting a good deal of experience on “D.” The RedHawks offensive line, led by three-year starter Josh Hickey and Rob Hall, is skilled and savvy. QB Ian Woodworth should have time to do some damage. St. Rita will rely on RBs Tim Lombard and Guerbe Ministre to carry the load on the ground. QB John Kelley could target receivers Julian Crum, Tom Adent and Malik Space often.
Compiled by Pat Disabato and Dick Goss.