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O’Brien: Week 5’s four downs

Justin Hall (3) of Homewood-Flossmoor runs for a touchdown against. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Highlights and observations from Week 5 and a look ahead at Week 6.

FIRST DOWN: Buckle up, Friday is going to be fun in Flossmoor. The No. 7 Vikings host top-ranked Lincoln-Way East.

Both teams are loaded, but the special bit of oomph comes from H-F senior Justin Hall and Griffins sophomore A.J. Henning. They are the two most dynamic playmakers in the south suburbs and possibly the state. Hall is known and feared throughout the area, Henning has been a revelation this season. He was the difference again this weekend, scoring three touchdowns in Lincoln-Way East’s 28-14 win against rival Lincoln-Way Central.

The Knights led 14-0 at half. Henning ran 63 yards for a score on the first play of the second half, his first touch of the game. He went on to score on a 51-yard touchdown catch and an eight-yard run.

SECOND DOWN: Naperville North’s high-flying offense, led by Player of the Year contender Drake Davis, was shut down on Friday by Glenbard North. The Panthers knocked off Naperville North 20-7. The Huskies (4-1) didn’t manage to score until the final two minutes, they were averaging more than 40 points heading into the matchup.

Glenbard North’s defense received some hype early in the season, but then allowed at least 21 points in each of the first three weeks. The Panthers (3-2) may have started turning the corner. They held McCracken (KY) to just three points in Week 4 before asserting themselves against Davis and the Huskies this past week. Glenbard North travels to Wheaton North in Week 6 and Naperville North has a big showdown at Neuqua Valley.

THIRD DOWN: Naperville Central vs. Wheaton-Warrenville South is one of the state’s most storied rivalries. Running back AJ Deinhart rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns to give the undefeated Redhawks a 31-17 win over the Tigers on Friday.

That may be the last game between the two rivals for quite awhile, which is a shame. The western suburbs are currently undergoing a seemingly nonstop conference shuffle.

Lake Park, Glenbard North, Wheaton North and Wheaton-Warrenville South will leave the DuPage Valley conference and will play in the newly formed DuKane conference next season. Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North will leave the Upstate Eight for the DuKane.

That will leave the DuPage Valley with five teams: Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley.

The Upstate Eight has added Glenbard South and will do away with the two division setup and become a 10-team, one division conference.

Things are also volatile in the Interstate Eight. It’s likely that eight of the twelve current schools will be leaving the conference in the near future.

FOURTH DOWN: High school football guru Steve Soucie (@thesouc) is a must-follow on Twitter. He’s always tracking the state playoff scene. Per Soucie, there are 61 undefeated teams remaining in the state. The Week 5 action trimmed the list of potential playoff teams from 534 to 464.