By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Things could not have gone much worse for the Rockford Boylan Catholic Titans in the first half of their IHSA Class 6A playoff game against Cary Grove.
The top-seeded and undefeated Titans had to travel in the second round to last year’s runner-up Trojans, and found themselves trailing 3-0 at halftime. They had only gained 32 yards in the first half, and Cary Grove had outgained them by more than 100 yards.
But in the second half, Demry Croft woke up at quarterback, leading Boylan to a 14-3 lead before settling in for a 17-10 win and moving Boylan on to the third round of the playoffs.
Croft finished with 101 passing yards and added another 50 on the ground. Combined with the Titans’ defense causing turnovers, that was enough to push Boylan on.
The Titans will host Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge in a third-round game. The Titans are now the only NIC-10 representative left in the playoffs.
Rockton Hononegah was the only other team from the conference left, and they fell in Class 7A to the No. 1 seed Lake Zurich Bears.
The Indians, who had rushed for more than 400 yards in their previous three games, were held to only 64 rushing yards in a 20-0 loss. The Bears have one of the best defenses in the state, and it showed in this game.
Things are going much better for the Big Northern West Conference in the playoffs.
Winnebago used 20 points in the second half, as well as four turnovers and 113 rushing yards from Michael Pate, to knock off traditional power Kankakee McNamara 27-12.
Stillman Valley went on the road and knocked off Erie-Prophetstown 24-14.
Both teams are in Class 3A of the IHSA playoffs. Their wins have set up a match-up of two of the best teams in the Big Northern West.
Winnebago will travel to Stillman Valley. In the first match-up between the two, Winnebago was able to prevail to wrap up the conference championship.
That game was at Winnebago, and match-ups that are this close can come down to home-field advantage. The winner of that game will be one game away from going to DeKalb.
In Class 4A, Rockford Lutheran is set up for the same. Their defense held on after the offense turned the ball over and they were able to hold off Rochelle for a 27-22 victory.
James Robinson led the way again for the Crusaders, rushing for 201 yards before his late fumble gave the Hubs a chance.
The win for the Crusaders gives them a chance to host another playoff game. This time, it will come against the undefeated Big Northern East champion Harvard.
From the Nov. 13-19, 2013, issue