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Goss: Providence at Lincoln-Way East looms in Round 2

Sandburg's Lemonte Booker (1) Bolingbrook's Julian Huff could run ineach other aganext weekend when their teams meet first round playoff

Sandburg's Lemonte Booker (1) and Bolingbrook's Julian Huff could run into each other again next weekend, when their teams meet in the first round of the playoff — three weeks after playing in the regular season. | File photo

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Updated: November 22, 2012 6:35AM



Fans in the New Lenox and Frankfort areas, get ready.

If Providence (7-2) and Lincoln-Way East (9-0) win their Class 7A opening-round games in the IHSA state football playoffs, they will clash in the second round at East.

Now, that’s a game we want to see.

Anybody out there itching to see Bolingbrook vs. Sandburg II, Peotone vs. Coal City II or Plainfield North vs. Oswego II? Didn’t think so. But that’s the way it has worked out.

The IHSA announced the brackets Saturday night for the playoffs, which begin next weekend. The 256 teams were placed in eight classes of 32 teams each according to football enrollment. Within each class, the teams were split into 16-team “northern” and “southern” brackets, into eight-team quadrants or some combination of the two.

Once the qualifiers are grouped by geography, it always is possible that these repeat games will happen. Perhaps you disagree, but I dislike that immensely.

So does Coal City coach Lenny Onsen, who said, “Nothing against Peotone or anyone else, but the playoffs are all about playing somebody different. We always like to see someone else.”

Plainfield North coach Tim Kane voiced similar sentiments Saturday night.

Regardless, the thought of Lincoln-Way East at Providence in Round 2 stokes the fires. And that in no way takes anything away from Plainfield Central (6-3), which visits Lincoln-Way East in the opening round.

Let’s take a look at the classes that have area representatives.

Class 8A

No. 9 Bolingbrook (7-2) will visit No. 8 Sandburg (7-2). In the Raiders’ first game without senior quarterback Aaron Bailey, they lost to Sandburg 13-6 in overtime. Now sophomore Quincy Woods has gained some valuable experience, so Bolingbrook is better again.

As for Bailey, he is expected to see the doctor Monday about his sprained knee. If he is cleared to practice, he should play.

Class 7A

As noted, the No. 8 Plainfield Central (6-3) at No. 1 Lincoln-Way East game carries local interest. No. 4 Providence will shake off the rash of mistakes it suffered against Mount Carmel in Friday’s 17-0 loss and get off and rolling when it hosts No. 5 Bradley (6-3), which lost to Lincoln-Way West on Friday.

No. 6 Plainfield North (7-2) lost at No. 3 Oswego (8-1) 35-7 a couple of weeks ago. Here we go again? Not so fast. The Tigers came away from that game knowing they did not play well, and in Kurt Palandech, they have one of those quarterbacks — a la Bailey and Lincoln-Way East’s Tom Fuessel — who can beat you with his legs as well as his arm.

A rematch is a bummer. But if it has to happen, based on what happened the first time, I might rather be North than Oswego.

Class 6A

No. 3 Lemont (8-1) opens at home against No. 6 Morgan Park (6-3). I have two gut feelings. One, this is not the strongest Lemont team we have seen in recent years. And two, 6A is so wide open that, who knows, maybe the Indians will return to the title game for a third time in six years.

Class 5A

No. 12 Joliet Catholic (5-4) opens at No. 5 Elmwood Park (7-2) in the 16-team upper bracket, where No. 9 Lincoln-Way West (6-3) travels to No. 8 Rochelle (6-3).

With due respect to Tinley Park or Chicago Washington, the Hilltoppers, especially if wingback Ty Isaac is healthy, have a good shot at reaching the quarterfinals, where No. 1 Kaneland (9-0) or Lincoln-Way West could be the opponent.

Morris (8-1), which lost to Kaneland 33-30 in Friday’s battle of unbeatens, is in an eight-team quadrant in the lower bracket and would not meet Joliet Catholic until the championship game. Take that, those who feel the IHSA intentionally will find a way to match Joliet Catholic and Morris in Round 1.

Incidentally, I do feel the No. 2 Redskins, who open at home against No. 7 Rich East (7-2), can get to the title game. “We’re happy with the draw,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said.

Marian Central (9-0) and Montini (7-2) have a rematch looming in the quarterfinals, with the survivor possibly facing Joliet Catholic in the semifinals.

No doubt about it. Class 8A and 7A are loaded, but 5A does not take a back seat.

Class 4A

Peotone (5-4) lost at Coal City 28-7 in Week 7, and here we go again. The Coalers (8-1), No. 2 in the quadrant, will have to beat No. 3 Sandwich (7-2) in Round 2 and then would get a shot at No. 1 Rock Island Alleman in the quarterfinals. One thing for certain, defensive-minded Coal City, whose offense is on the upswing, would love to avenge a 14-10 loss to Sandwich in Week 5. And not having to face mighty Rochester until the title game is a comforting thought in itself.

Class 3A

No. 11 Wilmington (7-2) will take the long trip to No. 6 Byron (7-2). Coach Jeff Reents noted the strength of the 16-team “north” bracket, but if the Wildcats can survive that long, they will not have to face defending champion Aurora Christian (8-1) until the semifinals.



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