No. 3 Joliet Catholic at No. 2 Brother Rice, 6 p.m. Friday
The Blue gets most of the attention in the CCL/ESCC super conference but there are teams in other divisions with big playoff dreams too, including St. Rita and Fenwick. But the one getting the most attention statewide is Class 4A favorite Joliet Catholic (6-0), which gets its biggest test of the regular season here. Illinois-bound running back Jordan Anderson is back after missing time with an injury and ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns on just seven carries vs. St. Laurence last week. Linebacker Malachi Hood is a fellow Illini recruit. Quarterback Jack Lausch of Brother Rice (5-1), headed to Notre Dame to play football and baseball, is at his best in big games. Against Loyola and Mount Carmel, he had 810 yards of total offense and 10 TDs.
No. 15 Lockport at No. 18 Bolingbrook, 6 p.m. Friday
Lockport (6-0, 2-0 Southwest Suburban Blue) has been one of the season’s feel-good stories under third-year coach George Czart, clinching its first IHSA playoff berth since 2016. Identical twins Cody and Cole Silzer, both headed to Eastern Illinois, and returning state wrestling champ Andrew Blackburn-Forst are defensive line anchors for a unit that has allowed only 20 points all season. Bolingbrook (5-1, 2-1) has one of the state’s top juniors in safety Damon Walters, whose six offers include Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
No. 20 Hinsdale Central at No. 22 York, 7 p.m. Friday
York (6-0, 4-0 West Suburban Silver) is another team having a breakout season, highlighted by its first win over Glenbard West in 14 years, 12-10 last week in Glen Ellyn. Dual-threat quarterback Matt Vezza and linebacker Jeff Coglianese are playmakers for the Dukes, who will be in the postseason for the first time since 2011. Thomas Skokna, who scored three touchdowns last week against Downers Grove North, is someone to watch for Hinsdale Central (5-1, 3-0).
No. 8 Batavia at Geneva, 7:30 p.m. Friday
It’s rivalry week in the DuKane, with Wheaton North traveling to Wheaton Warrenville South and St. Charles East hosting crosstown rival St. Charles North. Then there’s this series, which dates back to 1913 and has been dominated lately by Batavia with 10 straight wins. The Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0) have a balanced offense led by running back Jalen Buckley, who has 850 total yards and 10 TDs, and sophomore quarterback Ryan Boe, who has completed 71% of his passes for 966 yards and 11 touchdowns. Geneva (4-2, 2-2), led by first-year coach Troy Thorgesen, is yet another team having a bounceback season and needs one win to become playoff-eligible for the first time since 2015.
Morgan Park vs. Simeon, 1 p.m. Saturday at Gately
The Battle of Vincennes is back for the first time since 2019 after being canceled because of COVID this spring. Both teams look different from their last meeting with some younger standouts leading the way. This is a chance to see two of the best up-and-coming receivers in the state. Simeon (3-3, 3-0 Illini Red Bird) has four-star junior Malik Elzy, whose 13 offers include Notre Dame and four SEC schools (Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt). Morgan Park (3-3, 2-1) has sophomore Tysean Griffin, who has two SEC offers of his own (Arkansas, Tennessee).