No. 1 Loyola at No. 5 Marist, 6 p.m. Friday
With no playoffs, the biggest prize available this season is the final No. 1 ranking. No. 2 Lincoln-Way East has a strong case too, but running the table in the state’s toughest conference could wrap it up for Loyola (5-0, 2-0 CCL/ESCC Blue). No one’s been able to slow down Ramblers running back Vaughn Pemberton, and the Ramblers defense has passed every test. Marist (4-1, 1-1) has a dominant lineman in Notre Dame-bound Pat Coogan and a productive quarterback in Dontrell Jackson.
No. 4 Mount Carmel at No. 11 Brother Rice, 6 p.m. Friday
If Marist beats Loyola, Mount Carmel (4-1, 1-1) could grab a share of the CCL/ESCC title with a win. Dual-threat quarterback Justin Lynch, a Temple recruit, makes the Caravan go. Illinois recruit Kenenna Odeluga is an impact player on both sides of the ball for Mount Carmel. Brother Rice (3-2, 0-2) has the conference’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year in running back Willie Shaw.
No. 14 Prospect at No. 13 Barrington, 7 p.m. Friday
The beginning of the IHSA playoffs in 1974 meant the end of the Mid-Suburban League Super Bowl matching the conference’s division champs. It’s back for at least one year as a showdown between 5-0 teams with powerhouse offenses. Prospect is led by quarterback Gary Moeller and running back Luke Zardzin, who will be preferred walk-ons at Wisconsin and Northern Illinois respectively. Quarterback Peter Anderson has passed for 11 touchdowns and run for five more for Barrington.
No. 15 WW South vs. St. Charles North, 1 p.m.
No. 19 Wheaton North vs. No. 16 Batavia, 4 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium, DeKalb
The DuKane Conference has established itself as the state’s premier Class 7A league, and it’s wrapping up the pandemic season with the closest thing we’ll get to playoffs: the four best teams playing a doubleheader at one of the IHSA’s rotating state final sites. With a number of juniors making an impact on offense and sophomore Ross Dansdill sparking the defense, Wheaton North (4-1) will be a force this fall. Batavia (4-1) has one of the state’s premier linebackers in Arizona-bound Matt Weerts (53 tackles, seven tackles for loss) and a balanced offense. WW South (4-1) features an elite pass-and-catch duo in Parker Brown and Brandon Bell, who teamed up on a 99-yard TD last week. Jordan Nubin, who will be a preferred walk-on at Minnesota this fall, is one of several two-way standouts for St. Charles North (3-1).