Richwoods vs. Morton
2 p.m. at Carper Field
Records: Richwoods 6-4; Morton 7-3.
Outlook: The magic number is 40. Each team is 1-3 this season when it gives up 40 or more points. Mid-Illini Conference program Morton is 7-0 when scoring 40 or more points this year, while Richwoods of the Big 12 is 4-0 in such games. Defenses will be called upon to generate turnovers and limit big plays. The Knights will lean on the playmaking ability of QB Keenan Streitmatter and WR Sharod Danage. RB T’Nahleg Hall helps sustain drives. Special teams has been big all year for the Potters, who have five return touchdowns. Morton's offense is led by QB Nolan Donald and RB Bradley Getz. First meeting in three decade for two schools located 20 miles apart. Richwoods won the only previous meetings, 20-14 in 1986 and 39-6 in 1987.
Decatur MacArthur vs. Washington
2 p.m. at Babcook Field
Records: MacArthur 8-2; Washington 8-2
Outlook: Washington’s line play has been impressive on both sides of the ball, wearing teams down teams and opening holes in the rushing attack late in games. Defensively, they’ve been able to get penetration and keep opponents behind the chains. MacArthur’s speed could present problems if they get in space. The Generals come off their first playoff win since 2008, 34-33 over Notre Dame. They have speed in the secondary and will make it tough on Washington’s passing attack led by QB Caleb Fisher. The Panthers lean on RBs Josh Schellenberg and Sam Walter.
Rich Central vs. Dunlap
3 p.m. at Eagles Field
Records: Olympia Fields Rich Central 8-2; Dunlap 10-0
Outlook: Something’s got to give. Dunlap is allowing just 13 points per game, while Rich Central scores averages 39.2 (excluding the game forfeited by River Valley). The Eagles defense — led by top defenders Charlie Mangieri and Luke Bennyhoff — have not allowed more than 21 points in any game this season; Rich Central is 1-2 when scoring 28 points or fewer. Rich Central allowed 44 and 47 in its two losses; Dunlap averages 41.1 per game. It’s going to be a battle at the point of attack with Rich Central’s experienced offensive line and Dunlap’s front seven. Olympian running back Sean Tyler (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) isn’t afraid to take a hit, despite his size. On the flipside, Mangieri, Bennhyoff and other Dunlap skill players like WR Isaac Guyton and QB Myles Burke have to capitalize on big play opportunities against a fast defense.
Aaron Ferguson can be reached at 686-3207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Sports_Aaron.