Please welcome aboard Thomas Gibbons. Gibbons, who is currently a college student and volunteer assistant high school football coach will also be a contributor here this season. Follow Thomas Gibbons on Twitter @ThomasGibbons_3
Thomas Gibbons takes a look ahead and predicts his Class 8A thru 1A potential semifinal matchups.
Lena-Winslow vs. Marquette
Lena-Winslow is consistently one of the best teams in 1A, and are outscoring opponents 263-52. It could be a special run to DeKalb. Marquette has put up 50 or more points in four games. They should have no problem rolling to the semifinals.
Tuscola vs. Mt. Sterling
The Warriors are 6-0 and two of them are shutouts. The best part about this team is they are very young, setting up success for years to come. The Hornets should finish the year undefeated and continue their dominance all the way to the semifinals.
Sterling-Newman vs. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.
Sterling-Newman has earned the title of one of the best in 2A every season. The only thing that can stop them is themselves. The Falcons have two shutouts and three games allowing seven points or less.
Tri Valley vs. DeQoin
Tri Valley has a freshman at quarterback, but that has not been a problem so far since they are 5-1 on the season. DeQuion junior Shamar Adams is one of their best players. As long as he stays healthy, the Indians could see themselves as one of the final four in 2A
IC Catholic Prep vs. Monticello
IC Catholic Prep has dominate their opponents so far this season, with their only loss coming vs. 6A St. Laurence. The Knights depth is a big reason why they may see themselves back in the semifinals for the third straight season. Monticello’s ability to put up points early in games puts their opponents away quickly. Until someone is able to stop their run game, they should have no problem facing the Knights once again.
Carlinville vs. Anna-Jonesboro
Carlinville is a young team and has the weapons to take over games. Currently 6-0, I do not see anyone getting in their way. The Cavaliers highest point total this season, 71. Senior RB/CB Arieh Hart will look to lead his team to DeKalb
Tolono Unity vs. Althtoff
Tolono is expected to move up to 4A this season. While they may see tougher teams, their high scoring offense is not going away. Althoff is one of the most dangerous teams in 4A. They have very good size in the trenches and that should propel them to a matchup with Tolono.
Herscher vs. Johnsburg
Herscher was the No.1 seed last season, but lost to Phillips in the quarterfinals. The Tigers have a good amount of returning starters which will vye well for them because of playoff experience.
Phillips vs. Sterling
Phillips petitioned to be in 5A and they will get their wish. The Wildcats numerous potential division one athletes will be very tough to stop. Sterling currently ranks 2nd in Edgy Tim's 5A top 10 poll. The most points their defense has allowed this year, 14.
Highland vs. Dunlap
Highland has solid depth at multiple positions. As long as their offense does not drop off and they can rotate players, there is no reason why the Bulldogs cannot make it to the semifinals.Dunlap currently sits 4th in Edgy Tim's 5A top 10 poll. They have not lost yet this season and their QB Ryan Erickson is legit. 6A
Prairie Ridge vs. Nazareth
Samson Evans, Iowa commit, ranked 2nd in Edgy Tims Chicagoland top 30 poll. The Wolves may be the best team in 6A and unless you contain Evans, you have no chance. Nazareth has been very impressive this season. They may not put up big numbers, but they are disciplined and playing great team football.
Sacred Heart-Griffin vs. Crete-Monee Sacred Heart-Griffin always finds a way into the semifinal conversation. The Cyclones have been in the state title game twice in the past three seasons.
Lake Zurich vs. St. Rita Lake Zurich ranks 2nd in 7A according to Edgy Tim's 7A poll. Their chances of being one of the last four standing is very high at the moment.The Mustangs are 4-2, but I expect them to win out. They are always dangerous come playoff time and their heavy senior class will provide plenty of leadership to get the job done.
East St. Louis vs. Benet East St. Louis is never short of athletes. Quarterback Christian Perez, Navy comitt, is surrounded by playmaking WRs who will tear up opposing secondaries.Benet Academy is going to surprise a lot of people come playoff time. Senior WR Jack Eschenbach is capable of the big play and can be relied on to lead his team deep into the playoffs.
Lincoln Way-East vs. Homewood Flossmoor
Lincoln Way-East is the best team in Illinois. Star WR A.J. Henning leads a stacked offense and are the clear favorite to win it all.Homewood Flossmoor has established a winning culture. Their conference, the Southwest Suburban, may be one of the toughest in the state and that prepares them for playoff success.
Maine South vs. Marist The Hawks are on the path to defend their state title. Their recent win over Evanston, 56-14, let everyone know they are real threat to the 8A title again this season.Marist has put up at least 42 points in their last five games. I like their chances to take it the semifinals because QB Mike Markett has been very efficient this season, only one interception through six games