Steve Soucie’s Class 7A second-round analysis – Shaw Local

Although the first round didn’t play exclusively to higher seed advancement, it seemed for the most part that regardless of seed the usual suspects are still in play in 7A as we move to the second round.

Lower seeds such as Brother Rice and Batavia found ways to win first round matchups, but it would have seemed out of sorts if they did not.

First-round record: 14-2

Second-round matchups

Mount Carmel vs. Downers Grove North: Buffalo Grove became the seventh Mount Carmel opponent to be held to a touchdown or less as it was trampled by the Caravan in the opening round. Downers Grove North also cruised to a first round win over the CPL’s Lincoln Park, but the gap in opponent from Round 1 to Round 2 is going to be extremely dramatic.

Pick: Mt. Carmel

Collinsville vs. Brother Rice: Collinsville was a failed two-point conversion in the waning seconds of the contest from being forced to overtime against Bradley-Bourbonnais in the first round. The Kahoks jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then stalled there. Brother Rice, who is playing quite well right now, likely won’t afford them the same luxury and possibly won’t even allow the 14 points either.

Pick: Brother Rice

St. Charles North vs. Hoffman Estates: St. Charles North’s loss to Palatine in the season-opener feels like a distant memory. The North Stars have played spectacular football since and opponents have absolutely no answer as to how to stop Drew Surges. Hoffman Estates avenged a loss earlier this season to Elk Grove in Round 1, but will need another dramatic step up to keep moving along in the bracket.

Pick: St. Charles North

Prospect vs. St. Rita: Prospect continues to give scoreboard operators a work out and that’s carried into the postseason as it put up 62 points in a Round 1 win over Reavis. QB Brad Vierneisel has been stacking statistical accomplishments all season. St. Rita’s DJ Stewart and Ethan Middleton provide a potent 1-2 punch for veteran coach Todd Kuska, who will be retiring from the post at the conclusion of the season.

Pick: St. Rita

Hersey vs. Batavia: Hersey hasn’t been contained on offense in any game it has played this season, starting with a 31-point effort and only escalated from there. Brett Kersemeier engineers the Hersey offense with a variety of weapons at its disposal. Batavia continues to surge after a rough 1-2 start to the season and deploying RB/LB Tyler Jansey for a larger role on offense only makes the Bulldogs even more dangerous.

Pick: Batavia

Yorkville vs. Moline: It isn’t all surprising that Yorkville was sparked by a defensive play in its opening round win over Libertyville, that unit has been leading the way for the Foxes all season. Moline also likes to lean heavily on getting defensive stops and then churning out offensive drives paced by a heavy dose of running back Riley Fuller who had 34 carries in Moline’s win over DeKalb in the first round.

Pick: Yorkville

Pekin vs. Normal Community: Pekin still hasn’t fully answered the question of whether or not it is fully ready to deal with the elite teams in Class 7A, but there’s no denying that the Dragons can put up some points, eclipsing 49 points for the sixth time this season in a Round 1 win over Plainfield Central. Normal Community. Early in the year it looked the Ironmen might not be up to their usual standard with just a 1-3 record, but the ship has clearly been righted.

Pick: Pekin

Wheaton North vs. Lake Zurich: The defending Class 7A state champs seem to have their sights on defending the crown and the Falcons are now in the midst of a six-game winning streak. Lake Zurich has also quietly putting together a very impressive resume, owning a regular season win over Warren and a conference crown. The Bears have held opponents to a touchdown or less in seven games this season including its opening round win over Larkin.

Pick: Wheaton North

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