Playoff preview: Niles West at Maine South

SHARE Playoff preview: Niles West at Maine South
tst.0444.305180.85c4d783da74cded4a80b3fc48617a03_630x420.jpg

Class 8A: No. 12 Niles West (6-3) at No. 5 Maine South (7-2), 4 p.m. Saturday

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Andrew Mihulet, Niles West — The star senior defensive back recorded his sixth interception in three weeks on Friday against Glenbrook South.

Tommy Galanopoulos, Niles West — Labeled “a heck of a player” by Niles West coach Scott Baum, the junior quarterback was limited to mostly short passes in his first matchup against Maine South this season.

Justin Fahey, Maine South — The junior, who helped put Niles West away earlier this season with 83 rushing yards in the second half, is coming off a three-score performance at Waukegan on Friday.

Tommy Bazarek, Maine South — The junior has helped lead a solid Hawks secondary. He had an impressive pick Friday when he successfully fought Waukegan star Jaleel Darr-Duffie for position on an underthrown ball.

KEY MATCHUP

Maine South’s aerial attack was off and on in Friday’s regular-season finale against Waukegan. Sophomore quarterback Brian Collis went 12 of 15 for 216 yards, including touchdown strikes on three consecutive passes, in the first half, before going 3 of 11 for 33 yards in the second half. Collis was picked three times by Mihulet in the first half on Oct. 11.

ON THE OTHER SIDELINE

Glenbrook South’s Brett Laurie and Michael Gentile burned Niles West for 221 yards on 42 carries (5.4 yards per carry) on Friday, which could bode well for Fahey.

HISTORY

The two teams meet less than a month after Maine South beat Niles West 35-20 in what Inserra termed a “very good, very competitive game.”

The Latest
The Railsplitters avenged last season’s championship loss to Nazareth with a resounding 60-44 IHSA Class 3A state championship win over Glenwood. Froebe set a Class 3A championship scoring record with her dominant 36-point performance.
The Ramblers (38-0) came back and won the IHSA Class 4A state championship 44-40 over Nazareth, but not because of their lethal offense. They won because they got gritty on defense.
The lowly Jackets — who have won only 18 of 58 games this season against teams other than the Hawks — cruised to a 5-2 victory Saturday, outscoring the Hawks 12-5 across their two meetings this season.