No. 2 seed Rock Island (8-2) at No. 6 Crete-Monee (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. today.
Advancement: Winner plays either No.1 Danville or No. 5 Lincoln-Way North in the quarterfinals.
Breaking it down: Remember when there were some questions about just how good the Warriors really are this season? They answered them with gusto last Saturday, when they overcame a long road trip and an early 14-point deficit to down Normal West 35-28. Crete-Monee QB Jaylan Bailey led his team on a 10-play, 79-yard march that he culminated with a tie-breaking 8-yard TD run with 2:17 remaining in the contest. Prior to that, Bailey completed all six of his pass attempts for 62 yards, which made the two interceptions he threw on the preceding series nothing more than nuisances. Bailey finished 23-of-34 for 344 yards and four touchdowns. WR LaQuon Treadwell (10 catches, 186 yards) was his favorite target, and RB Julius Spicer augmented the aerial heroics with 147 rushing yards on 17 carries, as Crete piled up 565 offensive yards. Its defense had its finer moments, too, such as when it stonewalled Normal West after the hosts had advanced to the Warriors' 9-yard line on their last possession. Rock Island had even more drama attached to its first-round victory over DeKalb. A touchdown and two-point conversion run off a broken play late in regulation put the Rocks even with their foe. Then Rock Island prevailed 42-41 in OT, with Addison Williams' block of a DeKalb extra point being the difference. That came on the heels of Thurgood Brooks' batting down of a Barbs field goal try at the end of regulation. RBs Nikko Watson and Chris Glover supplied Rock Island with 328 rushing yards and six TDs between them, so Crete must be wary of that ground-gaining duo, as well as QB Nathan Gray. !~ Ken Karrson
No. 3 Marmion Military Academy (9-1) at No. 2 T.F. South (9-1)
When: 5 p.m. Saturday.
Advancement: Winner plays either No. 4 Geneva or No. 1 Lemont in the quarterfinals.
Breaking it down: The Rebels are looking to make their first trip to the quarterfinals since 2002, when they advanced to the semifinals. Last week, the defense played great in a 35-15 first-round win against Thornridge as it allowed just one touchdown. LBs Rob Stering and Seth Wielosinski have been terrors all season, while DB Brandon Byers blocked a punt to give South some momentum when the Falcons were threatening. DE Justin Smith and NT Rob Williams did a nice job containing the run and forcing Thornridge's backs inside, and DBs Kenny Jackson, Jalen Woods, DeAndre Thurman and Allante' Nelson were all solid in the secondary. Offensively, TE Wielosinski gives QB Kevin Hallberg another target, along with Smith, Thurman and Willie Cannon, who caught a TD pass and had another reception for 34 yards. RBs Nelson, Jackson, Jermaine Jones and Ben Jones, along with an occasional Wildcat formation, give the Rebels a lot of threats on offense. So does the line of Ryan Templeton, Sterling, Emanuel Brucelas, Brandon Thomas and Cameron Brown. The Rebels have several players going both ways. Marmion shut out T.F. North 24-0 and has some big guys up front. OLs Ryan Glasgow (6-foot-3, 254 pounds) and Graham Glasgow (6-7, 295) will challenge South's defensive line. RB/LB T.J. Lally is a threat on both sides of the ball. QB Bobby Peters also has Garret Becker, son of former Chicago Bears player Kurt Becker, in the backfield. Both teams are physical, so look for a good battle in the trenches. !~ Mike Nieto
No. 6 Waubonsie Valley (8-2) at No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor (8-2)
When: 7 p.m. today.
TV: Comcast Cable (CN 100), tape delay at 6 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Monday.
Advancement: Winner plays either No. 1 York or No. 9 Naperville North in the quarterfinals.
Breaking it down: The Vikings took a while to settle into a groove last Friday, but once they did, Curie had no chance. Homewood-Flossmoor's defense blanked the Condors in the second half, and the fumble it forced and recovered inside its own 5-yard line was the game-changer. Not only did it prevent Curie from possibly pulling even early in the third quarter, but the turnover set in motion a 95-yard scoring drive that sucked much of the life out of the upset-minded Condors. H-F's trio of DB Derrick Caldwell, LB Denzel Wilkins and Purdue-bound DL Michael Rouse combined to make 21 stops and five tackles for loss, and Curie collected just 58 total yards in the final 24 minutes. Offensively, the Condors -- like so many of the Vikings' opponents before them -- couldn't find a way to bottle up RB Malik Norman, who rushed for 216 yards and scored three times. RB Lantz Sims (eight carries, 89 yards) was the ideal complementary threat alongside Norman, and QB Tim Williams fired a 36-yard TD pass to Willie Ross. H-F will host a Warriors squad that ran off 33 consecutive points after falling behind Brother Rice 7-0 in a Round 1 matchup. Eric Josupiat's 87-yard kickoff return shifted momentum Waubonsie Valley's way at the start of the third period, and its defense completely stymied the Crusaders throughout the second half. Rice finished the game with 182 total yards, 56 of them coming on a run that set up the Crusaders' lone touchdown. H-F must also be wary of RB Austin Guido, who burned Rice with a 96-yard scoring dash. !~ Ken Karrson
No. 3 Mt. Carmel (8-2) at No. 11 Neuqua Valley (7-3)
When: 7 p.m. today.
Advancement: Winner plays either No. 7 Sandburg or No. 2 Lyons Twp. in the quarterfinals.
Breaking it down: The Caravan took care of business early in a 55-27 win over Bolingbrook and will need to do the same here, as Neuqua Valley hung around and scored twice in the final eight minutes to upset sixth-seeded Downers Grove South 36-22. A win would put Mt. Carmel in the quarterfinals for the seventh straight year. Defensively, DTs Jon-Stefan Bodnar, Vontrell Williams, Pat Casas and Kevin Kosiewicz have been solid, while LBs Conor Flaharty, Derrick Bryant and Gavin Vrdolyak have been dominant the second half of the season. Mt. Carmel has won four in a row. The offensive line has made it easy for QB Chris Sujka, and RBs Mike Banks and Draco Smith, while TE Frank Kelly and WR Jason Gasser give the Caravan deep threats. The Wildcats are led by RB Trent Snyder, who ran for four TDs against Downers Grove South. QB Jeff Samuel can go long if he needs to and has thrown for more than 1,000 yards. Dan Menendez, Jack Norgaard and Evan Jackson are his favorite targets. DT Leif Munson has been tough to run on. The Wildcats have size and will provide a challenge for the smaller Caravan, but Mt. Carmel has been going against bigger teams all season. RB/LB Sam Rhattigan is a tough runner and Neuqua Valley's leading tackler. !~ Mike Nieto