Playoff primer: Blue Devils welcome one of Illinois’ most legendary programs to Flinn Stadium

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From left, Quincy High School captains Chris Flachs, Adon Byquist, Drennan Carver and Bradyn Little lead the team out of the locker room for the first-round playoff game against West Chicago at Flinn Stadium. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — A historic season continues with a historic opponent. That should make for an entertaining and lively Saturday at Flinn Stadium.

The Quincy High School football team reached the Class 7A state quarterfinals with last Saturday’s 33-14 victory at Wheaton North — the first time the Blue Devils have ever won a second-round playoff game — and earned the chancet to come home for a 4 p.m. matchup with defending state champion Chicago Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel, celebrating the program’s 100th season, has been to the playoffs 35 of the past 36 seasons with 14 state championships and five state runner-up finishes in their history. Among Mount Carmel’s most notable football alumni are former Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb and former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Simeon Rice.

Mount Carmel is the second winningest program in Illinois history, capturing the program’s 800th all-time victory this season.

Here’s a closer look at the state quarterfinal showdown:

Chicago Mount Carmel (10-1) at Quincy High School (11-0), 4 p.m.

Radio broadcasts: WTAD 930 AM, WGEM 105.1 FM

Livestream: NFHS Network

Scouting the Caravan: Mount Carmel won its first eight games of the regular season, running its win streak to 22 consecutive games, before suffering a 23-21 loss to Loyola Academy, which is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 8A. The Caravan, ranked No. 1 in Class 7A throughout the season, have outscored two postseason opponents 88-25. Darrion Dupree, Mount Carmel’s 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior running back, is committed to Wisconsin, while his backup, Alonzo Manning Jr., is committed to Navy. Jack Elliott, the Caravan’s starting quarterback, is drawing recruiting interest from Akron and Kent State. Darrion Gilliam, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound wide receiver, has committed to Kent State, while Dillon Conway, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound cornerback, holds an offer from Illinois State. Mount Carmel is holding opponents to 12.8 points per game, while scoring 34.8 points per game. Former Macomb standout Jayden Jones, who won a Class 2A state track and field championship in the long jump last spring, is playing cornerback for the Caravan.

Scouting the Blue Devils: Quincy’s defense locked down Wheaton North after a tough start last week and didn’t allow a point over the final three quarters. Junior quarterback Rico Clay returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown, giving him five interceptions overall and three touchdown returns. Senior linebacker Ty Douglas leads the Blue Devils with 102 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Quincy’s defense has forced 18 turnovers this season. The Blue Devils have not scored fewer than 33 points in a game this season and are averaging 44.7 points per game. Junior quarterback Bradyn Little has thrown for 3,196 yards and 44 touchdowns with junior wide receiver Tykell Hammers enjoying the first 1,000-yard receiving season in school history. He has 73 catches for 1,023 yards and 15 touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Adon Byquist has 960 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving. Junior running back Jeraius Rice Jr., who has heard from Wisconsin, among other schools, has rushed for 1,596 yards and 20 touchdowns.

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