Check out the top first-round performances from Rockford's playoff football games

Matt Trowbridge Jay Taft
Rockford Register Star

The high school football playoffs are here.

Each week, the Rockford Register Star will take a look at the top performing teams and players from football games across the Rockford area.

Two players from Belvidere North head our list for the first round of the IHSA state playoffs:

Nico Bertolino, Belvidere North

Belvidere North's Nico Bertolino runs for a touchdown past Grayslake Central's Luca Maravola in the second quarter of their Class 6A playoff game on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at Belvidere North High School in Belvidere. Grayslake Central beat Belvidere North, 27-22.

The sophomore halfback ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns on only seven carries in North's 27-22 Class 5A loss to Grayslake Central. His first five carries all went for at least 10 yards and all seven of them went for at least seven. He had 119 yards in the first half.

Mason Weckler, Belvidere North

Belvidere North's quarterback Mason Weckler runs against Grayslake Central in the third quarter of their Class 6A playoff game on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at Belvidere North High School in Belvidere. Grayslake Central beat Belvidere North, 27-22.

North's quarterback ran 21 times for 105 yards and a touchdown and was 3-for-5 passing for 37 yards, including a 27-yarder on a fourth-quarter TD drive that pulled North within five points in its 27-22 loss to Grayslake Central.

All the scores:Scores and schedules of Rockford-area teams in the playoffs

Marey Roby, Lena-Winslow

Roby rushed for 169 yards on just eight carries as Lena-Winslow plowed through Aurora Christian 54-7 in Saturday's Round 1 action. Le-Win, ranked fifth in the last Class 1A polls, rushed for 352 yards as a team while holding Aurora Christian, ranked 10th headed in, to 80 yards on the ground.

Tyler Mathias, Boylan

Mathias had 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception to lead a Boylan defense that held Chicago Brooks to 81 total yards and forced five turnovers in a 41-8 road victory.

Rasheed Johnson, Boylan

Johnson ran for 94 yards and three TDs on 17 carries to lead Boylan (7-3) over Chicago Brooks 41-8.

Joe Appino, Boylan

Appino, subbing at quarterback for Connor Dennis, who sat out with a sore shoulder, ran 13 times for 84 yards and a TD in Boylan's 41-8 win at Chicago Brooks.

Garrett Gensler, Rochelle

Gensler rushed for 176 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Hubs pounded Chicago Payton 36-3 in a first-round 5A game. Gensler averaged 10.4 yards per carry in leading Rochelle (8-2) into the second round.

Cody Stover-Cullum, Rochelle

Stover-Cullum added 110 yards and a TD to the mix for the Hubs, who rushed for 446 yards in the dominant first-round win. Rochelle had 28 first downs to Payton's eight, never punted, and led the time of possession battle 31:05-16:55.

Fernando Balderas, South Beloit

Balderas scored two touchdowns in South Beloit's 20-8 victory over Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland. That was the first playoff win for the Sobos (6-4) in more than 20 years. The Sobos improved to 6-4 in their 8-man season and F-C-W finished 7-3.

Stuart Hale, Hononegah

Hale ran for 227 yards and four TDs in Hononegah's 53-29 Class 7A win over Plainfield East.

Drake Emanuel, Hononegah

Emanuel caught four passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, had an interception and ran once for 24 yards on a fake punt in Hononegah's 52-28 win over Plainfield East.

Forreston O-line

Forreston used seven ballcarriers to rush for 409 yards and 3 TDs during the Cardinals' 22-14 win over Galena in 1A action. Forreston needed to score the game winner with 6:44 left on a Jacob Fiorello 12-yard run, and the Cardinals used the three seniors — Fiorello (14 carries for 105 yards), Matthew Beltran (11-74) and Noah Johnson (13-70) — on that last drive.

Saturday's game:Can Stillman Valley football rebound again? Here's what 4 stars have to say

Byron's Chandler Binkley runs for a touchdown during the second quarter of the first-round Class 3A Playoff game in Byron on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Byron rolled over Chicago Catalyst Maria 58-0.

Braden Smith, Byron

Smith played strong on both sides of the ball, hauling in a pair of interceptions from his safety spot as the Tigers held their first-round foes to 14 yards of offense, and turning into a field general from his quarterback position as 10 different Byron ballcarriers pounded out 249 yards. Byron smashed Chicago Catalyst Maria 58-0 for a first-round 3A win.

Byron's Jake Lenz sacks Chicago Catalyst Maria quarterback Tymaryon Brown-Mays during the first quarter of the first-round 3A playoff game in Byron on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Byron led 51-0 at the end of the first half.

Jacob Lenz, Byron

The senior lineman not only started the game off with a sack for a safety on Catalyst Maria's first possession, but he led the stingy Byron defense with five tackles, three sacks and two tackles for loss. Catalyst Maria finished with minus-8 yards rushing in the game, 257 fewer than the Tigers.

Chandler Alderman, North Boone

Although Alderman threw for 218 yards and a TD while completing 18 of his 33 passes during North Boone's 3A playoff matchup in Princeton, the junior also threw two interceptions as Princeton ran off with a 47-14 win. Alderman, who led the Big Northern Conference in passing, still finished up with strong numbers, throwing for 1,879 yards and 25 touchdowns with just six picks.

Will Doetch, North Boone

The senior wideout added seven catches for 70 yards and a TD in the North Boone loss. Doetch finished the regular season as the BNC's leader in all three categories, and closed out his stellar prep career with 86 catches for 1,170 yards and 16 TDs this year.

Deterrace Dotson, East

Dotson scored on an 18-yard run as East (5-5) lost to No. 1 seed Cary-Grove 41-8 in Class 6A.

Stillman Valley O-line

Stillman Valley dominated in every phase, running off with a 62-14 win over Chicago Hyde Park in Round 1 playoff action in 4A on Saturday.