Quarterfinal Challenges Await Local Playoff Teams


The road to DeKalb picks up Saturday for our Stateline playoff football teams with some difficult matchups.

Auburn might face the biggest challenge of all. The Knights will host the State’s top-ranked team in class 7A undefeated Glenbard West.

“This is one of the rewards for having success is you advance to play against the best in the state,” says Auburn coach Dan Appino. “I think all of our guys knew that this was a possibility down the road and they’re excited.”

“They play a suffocating defense. That’s what they do. They’re a 3-3 stack defense and their head coach is a guru at it.”

The Hilltoppers also feature Vanderbilt commit Sam Brodner at running back. The Knights are coming off perhaps their best performance of the season last week at Reavis. They don’t mind being the underdogs for this one.

“I feel like it gives us the upper hand for Glenbard to overlook us and feel like this might be a runover type game,” says Auburn quarterback Nathan Jarrett. “So I feel like we have the element of surprise on our side.”

Lutheran will take the field in Marengo. This will be the unofficial battle for the Big Northern Conference Championship. Lutheran won the Big Northern West. Marengo won the East. Both teams are undefeated.

“What makes them dangerous is they’re fast,” says Lutheran coach Bruce Bazsali. “So are we, so its’ going to be the first time we’ve gone against a team that’s got comparable speed to us. That should make things really, really interesting.”

And Marengo throws the ball well with quarterback Zach Knobloch.

“It’s going to show who’s the best in the conference, and have bragging rights,says Lutheran receiver/return specialist Marcus Hayes.

Byron will travel to Kankakee to face 10-1 Bishop McNamara in a 3A quarterfinal.

“A great team. A lot of division one talent,” says Byron coach Jeff Boyer of McNamara. “Their running back is going to Central Michigan. We really don’t want to make it a shootout in any way. We don’t want to get into a situation like we were last week (at Wilmington) where we were trailing and playing from behind.”

“We’re going to try as much as possible to keep it out of their hands and try to pound it up the middle the entire game,” says Byron senior Avery Carlson.

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