Previewing and predicting the Class 8A state football playoffs

Previewing and predicting the Class 8A state football playoffs

Loyola’s Mike Regan (22) runs the ball during the game against Rochester. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Loyola is the heavy favorite but who will the Ramblers face in DeKalb?

If the sight of 32 high school football teams neatly displayed on a clean bracket almost brought a tear to your eye, you probably aren’t alone.

It’s been two long, difficult years since high school football players, coaches and fans were able to look forward to a state tournament.

“Playoff pairing night is always special, but it feels even bigger this time around,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “256 teams and communities are going to get the opportunity to hear their name called and be recognized for the hard work they have put into qualifying for the postseason. It is a major accomplishment and I hope they take a moment to enjoy and celebrate it amidst all the recent challenges.”

Loyola, the top seed in Class 8A, has won 23 consecutive games. The last loss for the Ramblers was to Montini on Sep. 29, 2018. Loyola went on to win its final eight games in 2018 and capture the Class 8A state title. The Ramblers went 6-0 in the spring season and are currently 9-0. They will host Downers Grove South in the first round.

Class 8A bracket

#32 Downers Grove South (5-4) at #1 Loyola (9-0)
#17 Naperville Central (6-3) at #16 Naperville North (6-3)
#25 Minooka (5-4) at #8 York (8-1)
#24 Oswego East (6-3) at #9 Lincoln-Way East (7-2)
#29 Lyons (5-4) at #4 Lockport (8-1)
#20 Oswego (6-3) at #13 Glenbard West (7-2)
#28 Barrington (5-4) at #5 Warren (8-1)
#21 Glenbard North (6-3) at #12 Bolingbrook (7-2)
#31 Edwardsville (5-4) at #2 South Elgin (9-0)
#18 Marist (6-3) at #15 Glenbard East (7-2)
#26 Sandburg (5-4) at #7 Hinsdale Central (8-1)
#23 O’Fallon (6-3) at #10 Glenbrook South (7-2)
#30 Bartlett (5-4) at #3 Neuqua Valley (8-1)
#19 Palatine (6-3) at #14 Taft (7-2)
#27 New Trier (5-4) at #6 Maine South (8-1)
#22 Evanston (6-3) at #11 Plainfield North (7-2)

Class 8A Preview

Favorite: Loyola

Top Contender: Maine South

Darkhorse/Bracket Buster: Naperville North

Best first round game: Naperville Central at Naperville North

Toughest path to title game: Naperville Central

Class 8A Predictions

First round

Loyola defeats Downers Grove South

Naperville Central defeats Naperville North

York defeats Minooka

Lincoln-Way East defeats Oswego East

Lyons defeats Lockport

Oswego defeats Glenbard West

Warren defeats Barrington

Glenbard North defeats Bolingbrook

South Elgin defeats Edwardsville

Marist defeats Glenbard East

Hinsdale Central defeats Sandburg

Glenbrook South defeats O’Fallon

Neuqua Valley defeats Bartlett

Palatine defeats Taft

Maine South defeats New Trier

Evanston defeats Plainfield North

Second round

Loyola defeats Naperville Central

Lincoln-Way East defeats York

Lyons defeats Oswego

Warren defeats Glenbard North

Marist defeats South Elgin

Hinsdale Central defeats Glenbrook South

Neuqua Valley defeats Palatine

Maine South defeats Evanston

Quarterfinals

Loyola defeats Lincoln-Way East

Warren defeats Lyons

Hinsdale Central defeats Marist

Maine South defeats Neuqua Valley

Semifinals

Loyola defeats Warren

Maine South defeats Hinsdale Central

Championship

Loyola defeats Maine South

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