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Breaking down the top five semifinals

No. 11 Waubonsie Valley (8-4) at No. 10 Marist (8-4)

The facts: 6 p.m. Saturday

The storyline: Both the Warriors and Redhawks lost four in the regular season. That means one team is guaranteed to play for the Class 8A state championship after barely finishing over .500 in the regular season. Waubonise Valley and Marist are playing great football and each have knocked off three quality opponents in the playoffs. Marist’s offense can put up points quickly. Quarterback Brendan Skalitzky who threw for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns against Oswego in the quarterfinals, leads the way. Waubonsie Valley defensive back Trevor Moore had a big performance last week, with a fumble recovery and an interception against Naperville Central.

Marengo (12-0) vs. No. 6 Phillips (12-0) at Gately Stadium

The facts: 5 p.m. Saturday

The storyline: The goal is getting closer for the Wildcats. Only undefeated Marengo stands in their to a return to the Class 4A state title game. Phillips’ defensive line was dominant in the 24-7 win over Geneseo in the quarterfinals. With top-rated recruit Amir Watts and big performances from juniors Chris Elmore and Kamari Mosby, the Wildcats are clicking on all cylinders. Marengo’s offense is explosive. Receivers Jarrell Jackson and Craiton Nice are game-breakers. Nice recorded 202 yards and three touchdowns in the quarterfinals against Rockford Lutheran.

No. 8 Cary-Grove (11-1) vs. No. 2 Glenbard West (12-0) at Glenbard South

The facts: 1 p.m. Saturday

The storyline: The Hilltoppers host another hard-hitting team, Cary-Grove. Running back Sam Brodner has been unstoppable this season. He ran for three touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a 45-14 win over talented Rockford Auburn last week. Cary-Grove returns for another try at the state game. The Trojans only loss this season came to Huntley in Week 5. Cary-Grove features a solid running attack, led by junior running back Ryan Magel, who was instrumental in a 42-21 win over Batavia last week.

No. 15 Crete-Monee (10-2) at No. 13 Hinsdale South (9-3)

The facts: 6 p.m. Saturday

The storyline: Crete-Monee proved a ton last week by knocking off two-time defending state champions Sacred Heart-Griffin. Crete-Monee rushed for 359 yards in the 38-35 win over the Cyclones. Clint Ratkovich led the way with 204 yards and three touchdowns. Hinsdale South beat undefeated Lincoln-Way North 42-35 and quarterback Sean McCormack is coming into his own with constant big performances. He threw for five touchdowns, three to receiver Ravon Johnson.

No. 3 Libertyville (12-0) at No. 21 Bradley-Bourbonnais (9-3)

The facts: 3 p.m. Saturday

The storyline: Undefeated Libertyville faces a strong Bradley-Bourbonnais team coming off a run-heavy performance in a 28-17 win over Niles North. Vikings running backs Noah Fritz and Donnie Ringo ran for just shy of 300 yards. Libertyville is led by standout quarterback Riley Lees, a Northwestern recruit, who scored four rushing touchdowns and threw for two touchdowns in a 41-27 win over Normal last week. Lees has been virtually impossible to stop this season and is averaging 15 yards a throw and 12 yards every run.

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