Bloom Township coach Tony Palombi wasn't in shock when he found out his Blazing Trojans (5-4) drew Class 8A No. 1 Bolingbrook (9-0) in the first round of the playoffs.
"We figured we would get them or Homewood-Flossmoor," Palombi said. "It is a huge challenge and Bolingbrook is a tremendous program with a lot of tradition."
The road to DeKalb got started Saturday night with the IHSA playoff pairings.
Palombi said he is happy to be back in the playoffs for the second straight year. It's the first time Bloom has made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1988 and 1989 as Bloom High School. Bloom and Bloom Trail combined athletic programs in 1995.
"We are happy to be part of the playoffs again and I think it says something for our program," Palombi said. "We know it is going to be a tough game against a top program."
In Class 6A, T.F. South is also 5-4 and is the No. 7 seed. It will play at No. 2 seed Lincoln-Way North (8-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Rebels coach Tom Padjen said he is happy to be playing in the postseason for the 17th time in the last 20 years.
"We were 2-3 and I think some people counted us out," Padjen said. "Our kids won three of their last four and we hope to carry that momentum over.
"We are happy to play a local, regional game against a great opponent, and not have to travel halfway across the state for a first round game."
Also in class 6A, defending champion Crete-Monee (8-1) is the top seed in its quadrant and hosts No. 8 Providence (5-4). Warriors coach John Konecki said neither he nor his team is fooled by the Celtics' record.
"They are a good team and coach (Mark) Coglianese is a great coach," Konecki said. "We figured we would see them in the second round."
Konecki said he would like to play Saturday night. He said being in close games might be a plus.
"With the exception of a few games, we were in a lot of close ones and I think that might help us," Konecki said. "Our kids have been battle-tested."
Defending Class 8A champ Mount Carmel (8-1) is in 7A and is the No. 2 seed in its quadrant and will host No. 7 Benet (6-3).
The Caravan have won state titles in Clas 5A, 6A, and 8A.
Mount Carmel has had a chance to play a lot of kids this year.
"Anytime you can rest some of your starters and get other kids valuable playing time, that is a plus," Caravan coach Frank Lenti said. "You never know when you have to put someone in and if they have that experience, they are ready."
Mount Carmel was able to rest Matt Domer, who has been hampered with a sore knee.
In Class 8A, Homewood-Flossmoor (8-1) is the No. 2 seed in its quadrant and hosts SouthWest Suburban Blue foe No. 15 Sandburg (5-4) at 7 p.m. Friday.
H-F won 48-10 at Sandburg on Oct. 4. Vikings coach Craig Buzea said it is tough to play the same team twice.
"Especially when it's a conference opponent, but you have to be ready to play," Buzea said. "I guess we know a lot about what they do and they are just as familiar with us."