We started with a dozen area high school football teams in the opening weekend of state playoff action. That group got cut in half, now down to six survivors, heading into this Saturday’s second round of games. Dunlap, Washington, Morton, Richwoods, Farmington and Princeville all advanced.
Our main Red Zone Game of the Week on Saturday afternoon will feature the Mid Illini – Big 12 matchup that no one would’ve predicted at the start of the season: 7-3 Morton hosting 6-4 Richwoods in a second round Class 5A playoff at 2 pm from magnificently renovated Carper field.
Morton and Richwoods had won a combined 8 games over the previous two seasons. Morton’s renaissance has been more surprising, with new facilities and new head football coach Tim Brilley leading the charge. Richwoods, meanwhile, has been one of the top area programs since it opened (41 playoff wins is second in Peoria area alltime), but fell on hard times and missed the past two playoffs.
Last weekend, Both teams traveled long distances to pull off wins against higher seeded teams. The Knights pulled off the bigger upset at 2nd-seeded Troy Triad in round one, with kicker Alex Nieves, who’d missed a PAT earlier in the game, drilling a 34-yard field goal with 11.4 seconds left to lift Richwoods to the shocking, 15-13 road win.
Morton had to travel for a rematch with Centralia, a team the Potters beat early in the season at Carper. Two, late defensive plays triggered the win: Cam Hopkins’ interception and return and Tag Grampp’s scoop and score with under two minutes left, helping Morton win, 41-33, at Centralia.
Richwoods’ Big 12 Peoria brothers both were ousted in round one. Defending Class 5A champ Peoria High lost 31-12 at Country Club Hills, the Lions’ worst offensive night of the season. Peoria Notre Dame lost a heart-breaker, 34-33, at Decatur MacArthur when the Irish failed to convert a 2-point conversion late in the game.
Decatur MacArthur will be Washington’s opponent in the second round from Babcook Field, our secondary game of the week. Washington rolled over Tinley Park, 42-18, while Dunlap shredded Streator, 64-20, in our main Red Zone game of the week last weekend.
In the small school playoffs, 10-0 Farmington advanced easily in Class 3A and will host 9-1 Wilmington Saturday at 2 pm. 8-2 Princeville gets a second round home game against 9-1 Annawan/Wethersfield, 1 pm, Saturday.
Eureka, Stark County, Elmwood/Brimfield and defending Class 2A champ Dee Mack all fell in round one.
Former Illini lineman Tony Johnson and I, along with stats guy Tyler Busch, will be in Morton. Tom Meredith will be at Washington, and Jason Glick produces in the studio this weekend. Listen Saturday, with the pregame starting at 1:30 pm, for score updates and our two Red Zone Games of the Week presented by Illinois National Bank on Peoria’s home for classic rock and football, 95.5, GLO.