Playoff pairings set; Titans, Harlem host first-round games

By Matt Nestor

Sports Columnist

Six teams from the NIC-10 have qualified for the IHSA football tournament, with games starting this Friday, Oct. 30, in each of the eight classes.

The Boylan Titans, fresh off another conference title, are the third seed in the Class 7A tournament. Boylan gets to play at home against Wheaton North (5-4) in the first round.

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to study our opponent and, take each week, each game and play like its our last, and we’ll be right one of these times,” Boylan coach Dan Appino said.

Boylan will again be without running back Paul Barmore in the first round, but hope to have him back if they should advance any farther.

“Not this week, but we’re hoping the week after,” Appino said. “It all depends on how his knee progresses.”

For Harlem, they look to move on after their only loss, which came to the Titans. Elk Grove Village (6-3) will come into Husky Stadium. The Huskies lost in the first round last year.

Coach Tim Sughroue and his Hononegah Indians lost to the top two teams in the conference, but still hope to make a long run in the tournament. They will take to the road to face 7-2 St. Charles East.

“We talk about football, and hopefully it’s more than just football, it builds character,” he said. “So we’re going to find out what type of character we have. We’re going to come back and try to play tough in the playoffs and get some wins.”

Here are how the matchups look:

Class 7A

υ Boylan (9-0) vs. Wheaton North (5-4)—Boylan won their fourth straight conference title. … Boylan set the conference record for consecutive wins this year. … Boylan is outscoring opponents by 30 points per game this year, averaging 38.7 and only allowing 8 points. … Wheaton North opponents have a combined record of 44-37. … Wheaton North is one of two teams in Class 7A to be outscored by opponents this year, getting outscored by an average of 5 points a game

υ Harlem (8-1) vs. Elk Grove Village (6-3)—Harlem was the highest-scoring NIC-10 team, averaging 40 points a contest. … Harlem is in the playoffs for the second straight year. … Elk Grove attacks through the air, with junior quarterback Nick Meyer throwing for well more than 2,000 yards this season.

υ Hononegah (7-2) at St. Charles East (7-2)—The Indians used a tough running game, led by Forrest Wiltfang and Ben Rothmaller, to make the playoffs for the third year in a row. … St. Charles East is the champion of the Upstate Eight conference.

υ Guilford (5-4) at Glenbard West (9-0)—Guilford has made the playoffs a NIC-10-leading six straight years. … Glenbard West wins by an average margin of 29 points a game behind two-way star Nick Burrello.

Class 6A

υ Belvidere North at Chicago Robeson (7-2)—Belvidere North, in the playoffs for the second straight year, only beat their opponents by an average of 1 point. … Robeson has won six straight games entering the playoffs, scoring more than 30 points in all but one game.

Class 5A

υ Belvidere at Woodstock Marian (7-2)—The Belvidere Bucs are led by the two-headed running back monster of Marcus Gooden and Kyle Harris. … The Bucs have been outscored by opponents this year. … Woodstock Marian has won four state titles in their history.

From the October 28 – November 3, 2009

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