Playoff primer: Undefeated teams hit road for second-round games, QND comes home with momentum


Quincy High School senior offensive lineman Chris Flachs and the Blue Devils travel to Wheaton North for a Class 7A second-round playoff game. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The second round of the Illinois football playoffs means a five-hour road trip for Quincy High School, a rematch for Camp Point Central and the return to Advance Physical Therapy Field for Quincy Notre Dame.

Here’s a look at what Saturday’s slate looks like:

Quincy High School (10-0) at Wheaton North (7-3), 2 p.m.

Class 7A second-round playoff game

NFHS Network livestream

Scouting the Blue Devils: Quincy has never won a second-round playoff game in program history, and it will take a long road trip to get it done. Should the Blue Devils win, they will get to play at home in the state quarterfinals next week against Mount Carmel, the No. 1-ranked team in the Associated Press state poll throughout the season. The Blue Devils have rewritten the record books with possibly more to come. Quincy’s 459 points are nine shy of breaking the 2018 team’s record for most points in a season, while junior quarterback Bradyn Little has already new single-season records for passes completed, passing yards and passing touchdown. Junior wide receiver Tykell Hammers has set the record for single-season yards receiving, receptions and receiving TDs.

Scouting the Falcons: Wheaton North senior defensive end Joe Barna, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound backfield wrecker, was named the DuKane Conference Outstanding Defensive Lineman. Committed to the University of Illinois, Barna spearheads a defense that shut out Whitney Young in the first round 34-0. In the regular season, Falcons senior quarterback Max Howser completed 130 of 210 passes for 2,182 yards with 18 touchdowns. He also had two rushing TDs. Walker Owens, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior running back/defensive lineman, has three NCAA Division I offers. He is a two-time first-team All-DuKane Conference selection.

Nashville (7-3) at Quincy Notre Dame (5-5), 1 p.m.

Class 2A second-round playoff game


Scouting the Hornets: The Raiders know what’s coming. Nashville runs a no-huddle, tempo-based offense where the Hornets are snapping the ball usually between seven and 11 seconds after the play clock starts. It works. The Hornets are averaging 37.5 points per game and coming off a 49-7 victory over Pana in the first round. Senior quarterback JT Malawy threw five touchdown passes last week, connecting with Isaac Blazier on 13- and 18-yard strikes and hitting Samuel Kollbaum on 47-, 70- and 35-yard scoring tosses. The Hornets have allowed 35 or more points four times this season, and they went 1-3 against playoff-qualifying teams in the regular season.

Scouting the Raiders: QND is going to hang its hat on a defense that has allowed 29 total points in the last four weeks. The return of junior safety Wyatt Mueller, who suffered a broken leg early in the season, has been a boon, as has the big-play capabilities of sophomore defensive back Gavin Doellman. The havoc caused by linebackers Taylin Scott and Reese Frericks is what sets the defense apart. Scott, who had 16 tackles in last week’s victory at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, has more than 100 tackles on the season. Frericks, a senior, has multiple NAIA and NCAA Division II programs recruiting him. Offensively, the Raiders will continue to feed their bell cow the ball. Junior running back Ivan Hun rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries last week and has four 100-yard games in the last six weeks.

Camp Point Central (10-0) at Hardin Calhoun (7-3), 2 p.m.

Class 1A second-round playoff game

Central Illinois Sports on YouTube

Scouting the Panthers: Central beat Calhoun 30-22 in Week 2 and has allowed only 31 points in the eight weeks since. The Panthers have posted three shutouts and allowed only 61 points the entire season. Senior lineman Reese Wilkey and sophomore lineman Kadin Niekamp have been complete disruptors. Wilkey has 52 tackles and 10 tackles for loss, while Niekmap has piled up 64 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and six sacks. The Panthers have forced 25 turnovers, while committing just two turnovers themselves. The Panthers have five players with six or more rushing touchdowns this season, led by Elijah Genenbacher with 15 scores. Drew Paben leads Central with 853 yards rushing and 12 TDs.

Scouting the Warriors: After losing three of its first five games, Calhoun turned its season around on defense. The Warriors posted four consecutive shutouts and have allowed only 14 points the last five weeks. Junior linebacker Bo Lorsbach anchors the middle of the defense and cleans everything up, accounting for 151 total tackles this season. Offensively, the Warriors rely on a balanced option attack with senior quarterback Miles Lorton accounting for 773 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, while passing for 496 yards and nine TDs. Junior running back Conner Longnecker has rushed for 676 yards and eight touchdowns, while senior Chris Stanley has 608 yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior wideout Pat Friedel has 362 yards receiving and eight TDs. 

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