Playoff matchups set for eight football teams from Northwest suburbs

After a year off in 2020 due to COVID and a shortened spring 2021 football season, it is finally high school football playoff time in Illinois.

On Saturday, the Illinois High School Association announced the pairings for the 256-team field that will make up the 8 classes. It will culminate on Thanksgiving weekend with the title games this year being played at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Opening round days and times will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Thanks to an upset win on Friday against Prospect, Rolling Meadows was able to secure a playoff berth with a 5-4 record. The •Mustangs, who kept their playoff streak alive with 10 consecutive appearances, were given a 23rd seed in Class 7A where they will play at No. 10 St. Rita.

"Getting that win was so big," Rolling Meadows coach Sam Baker said. "It was a huge program win. For us to get that it was huge otherwise we are sitting at home. Happy to be in the dance."

•Also, in Class 7A, Buffalo Grove moved up to a 6th seed thanks to its win over Hersey on Friday. Buffalo Grove will host 27th-seed Lincoln-Way West.

"I know Hersey played them earlier and beat them," Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk said. "We have struggled offensively the last two games. Hopefully we can turn that around. It is crazy. We are doing OK."

•Prospect, which won the MSL East, was awarded an 11th seed. The Knights will host 22nd-seeded Shepard of Palos Heights.

"When you have what happened to us Friday night, you are anxious to get back on the field, "Prospect coach Dan DeBoeuf said. "I know where Shepard is and that is about it. We are going to get our film exchange going and go from there."

•Hersey, which lost each of its last two games by 1 point, received a 14th seed. The Huskies will host 19th-seeded Jacobs.

"Talk about emotional highs and emotional lows," Hersey coach Joe Pardun said. "We are excited to be back at it. We don't know much about Jacobs, but we will ready."

•Hoffman Estates, which won a share of the MSL West for the fist time since 1994, moved to a 13th seed after the Hawks lost to Palatine Friday. Hoffman will host 20th seed Thornton Fractional South.

"We do not know much about them," Hoffman Estates coach Tim Heyse said. "It will be good. We are excited to be playing. Friday night left a bad taste in our mouth. It is playoff football, and we will be ready."

•In Class 8A, two Northwest suburban teams will have rematches.

Maine South, which has won four state titles under coach Dave Inserra, was awarded a 6th seed. The Hawks will host Central Suburban South rival and 27th seed New Trier. Maine South beat the Trevians 49-42 Friday night in Winnetka.

"It has happened before," said Inserra, whose Hawks are making their 29th consecutive appearance in the playoffs, the longest active streak in the state.

"It is New Trier and they are a conference rival. That's all we have to say."

•Barrington won its final two games of the season to earn its eighth consecutive appearance. The Broncos were given a 28th seed and will travel to Gurnee to play 5th-seeded Warren. The two teams played in the opening week of the season and Warren won 19-0.

"We are grateful to be in this position," Barrington coach Joe Sanchez said. "It is a special time of year. We obviously know what we are up against. Both teams know each other."

•Palatine earned a share of the MSL West title with its win Friday and moved up to the 19th seed. However, the Pirates will have to play at 14th seed Taft of the Chicago Public League.

"We pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and I credit our seniors." Palatine coach Corey Olson said. "This is a great draw for us. We are excited to play Taft."

Nearly all teams that went 5-4 this season qualified for the payoffs. Warrensburg was the only 5-4 team not to qualify for the playoffs.

There were a record number of Chicago Public League teams that qualified this season. They will send 24 teams to the state series spread out through all eight classes.

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