ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — At some point during the IHSA football playoffs, at least one of our local teams is going to run into IC Catholic of Elmhurst. Usually, it’s Byron or Stillman Valley. Even Du-Pec faced IC Catholic a couple years ago.

This Saturday for the first time it’s Boylan that will face the Knights in a showdown of Catholic school powerhouse programs.

Yep, with the Titans dropping down to 4A this year and IC Catholic moving up a spot from 3A to 4A we will see this matchup. The Knights won the 3A state championship last year defeating both Stillman Valley and Byron along the way. It was the Knights’ fourth state championship in the last seven years.

“We have all the respect in the world for IC, and we’ve been telling our kids all along if you want anyone to even talk about you being in that same conversation as being the best you’re going to go here and beat the best,” said Boylan head coach John Cacciatore.

8-2 IC Catholic is only a seven seed in Class 3A but throw that out the window. In their conference, the Knights have to go heat-to-head with Wheaton St. Francis, Nazareth Academy and Fenwick. The Knights only two loses this season were by one point to St. Francis which dominated Rochelle last week in class 5A, and to Loyola Academy of Wilmette which is the number one ranked team in the state in 8A.

Cacciatore says IC Catholic’s offense is very similar to Boylan’s.

“They’ve got some spread components. They’ve got some power components, a good-looking running back. They want to run the ball at you.”

The Knights also have two players who have committed to Texas A&M of the SEC. Quarterback Dennis Mandala is going there as a preferred walk-on. 6’5 tight end Eric Karner is headed there on a scholarship. Karner is a load as the Byron Tigers found out last year in the semifinals when he broke free for a couple touchdowns.

“Everybody wants a tight end that can do the things that this kid can do,” said Cacciatore. “When he’s blocking a gap is canceled. You put the ball up for him, he’s got excellent hands. We’ve seen guys like Cole Kmet around here. I would put him in that kind of category.”

Cacciatore knows that this will be one of those games where the Titans need to minimize mistakes and bring their ‘A’ game.

“We’re going to come and play and hopefully we can put our best foot forward, and then if we’ve got a chance in the back half of the fourth quarter, maybe we come away with one.”

NOTE: This game will kickoff at 2 p.m. Saturday at Titan Stadium.