Previews of the top high school football first-round state playoff games

Breaking down the best games of Week 10.

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Glenbard West’s defense takes down Hinsdale Central’s Michael Brescia (4).

Glenbard West’s defense takes down Hinsdale Central’s Michael Brescia (4).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Class 8A: No. 7 Loyola at No. 10 Maine South, 7 p.m. Saturday

It’s the seventh playoff meeting in 12 seasons for these rivals. The Hawks have won four of the games, including the 2016 state final, but the Ramblers prevailed 17-0 in last year’s quarterfinals. A Week 9 loss to Marist bumped Loyola to 6-3, the same record it took into last year’s run to the 8A title. Before struggling last week, Loyola had been productive offensively since moving quarterback JT Wilson and running back Vaughn Pemberton into starting roles. Maine South (7-2) has rebounded from an 0-2 start behind a pair of Division I recruits: two-way lineman Peter Skoronski (Northwestern) and running back/defensive back Ryan Kilburg (Western Michigan).

Class 8A: Bolingbrook at No. 9 Hinsdale Central, 6 p.m. Saturday

Hinsdale Central (8-1) is an overtime loss to Glenbard West away from being undefeated. Quarterback Michael Brescia and receiver Braden Contreras spark a potent Red Devils offense, while cornerback Owen Goss, a Colgate recruit, leads the defense. Bolingbrook (6-3) is coming off two narrow losses: 14-13 to Homewood-Flossmoor and 24-17 in overtime to Andrew. The Raiders have plenty of Division I talent; quarterback Devyn Suggs (Yale), tight end Trevor Borland (Buffalo) and offensive tackle John Williams (Cincinnati) have committed, while junior safety Justin Walters’ 13 offers include Notre Dame and six Big Ten schools.

Class 8A: Brother Rice at Bartlett, 7 p.m. Friday

After reaching the 8A final last season, Brother Rice (5-4) came back with 11 new starters and a different scheme on offense. It was effective enough to help junior running back Willie Shaw earn offensive player of the year honors in the CCL/ESCC Blue. Linemen Denver Warren and Justin Jefferson are difference makers on the other side of the ball for the Crusaders. Bartlett (8-1) won its first conference title in eight years, sharing the Upstate Eight title with South Elgin and Glenbard East. The Hawks’ opportunistic defense had six takeaways the past two weeks after getting five interceptions vs. Larkin in Week 7.

Class 7A: DeKalb at Prospect, 7 p.m. Friday

Left scrambling for a conference home after the breakup of the Northern Big 12 East, DeKalb (6-3) landed in the DuPage Valley as the smallest school by almost 800 students. But with quarterback Trenton Kyler (1,412 yards, 11 TDs) leading a balanced offense, the Barbs earned their seventh consecutive playoff berth. Prospect (7-2) has been able to move the ball effectively through the air and on the ground with quarterback Gary Moeller, who has a 23-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and running back Luke Zardzin.

Class 5A: St. Laurence at No. 11 Hillcrest, 7 p,m. Friday

St. Laurence’s 5-4 record is deceptive. The Vikings played seven state playoff qualifiers, had three losses by a total of six points and beat Brother Rice for the first time in 36 seasons. Junior quarterback Darius Wilson has been an effective passer and runner for St. Laurence. Hillcrest (8-1) hasn’t lost since falling to Brother Rice in the season opener. The Hawks have one of the state’s most dynamic players in junior running back Mar’Keise Irving, whose 20 offers include seven from Big Ten schools.

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