Football Friday 2022 // Playoffs Round One

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The playoffs are here, it’s time to begin round one of the IHSA football post season. We have three teams competing in the Class 8A bracket with dreams of making their way to Champaign on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s always a tough road, let’s get to the highlights to see who will be moving on to the second round! Football Friday is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Marist vs. Naperville North

The lone local team to earn a home game in round one is Naperville North. The Huskies are the 13 seed and play host to one of the best programs in the ESCC, 18th seeded Marist. North is making a post season appearance for the second straight season, but is in search of the program’s first playoff win since 2010.

The Redhawks come into the game 6-3, but the three losses are to three of the top teams in the state, Mt. Carmel, Loyola and Glenbard West. Quarterback Dermot Smyth keeps the ball himself on the draw and early on, Marist has a 14-0 lead.

Huskies trailing 21-0 in the second quarter in desperate need of a spark. That’s when you turn to your playmakers and senior quarterback Aidan Gray buys some time and unloads a deep pass to Luke Williams behind the defense. 73 yards later and North is on the board down 21-7.

28-7 Marist in the second half. North on its own 20 as the handoff goes to Danny Eloe who takes the ball down the left sideline. Eloe breaks free and turns on the jets for an 80 yard touchdown run. Huskies with another big play and trail 28-14.

But the Marist offense was just too much to handle all night. Chris Lofgren gets the handoff and takes it in for the score as the Redhawks end the season for Naperville North by a 42-28 score. Marist will move on to play York, the number two overall seed in Round Two.

Neuqua Valley vs. Lane Tech

Despite winning the DuPage Valley Conference outright, Neuqua Valley is forced to hit the road in week one as the 17 seed with a 7-2 record on the year. The Wildcats travel to Lane Tech in Chicago, the 16 seed with an identical 7-2 tally. Neuqua with many players returning and hoping to shake off last season’s heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to Maine South.

Good to see Mark Mennecke back under center for Neuqua Valley after recovering from his second leg injury. But the star of the show in the first half for the blue and gold is Jaden McGee who plunges in for this touchdown to make it 14-0 NV. McGee’s second TD of the game.

Later in the half, Lane Tech with the ball when Mark Seward delivers the big hit, that knocks the ball loose. Justin Dutkiewicz scoops up the ball and strolls into the end zone. Neuqua dominating up 21-0.

Just before the first half ends, McGee scores his third touchdown of the first half. Wildcat running away with this one up 28-0 at the break.

In the second half, Miles Miskel gets the handoff from Mennecke on the end around. He takes it into the end zone to cap off the scoring. Neuqua Valley moves on to the second round after an impressive 37-0 road win over Lane Tech.

Naperville Central vs. Lyons Township

Naperville Central enters the 8A playoffs at 6-3 as the 19 seed and will travel to Lyons Township out of the West Suburban Silver Conference. The Redhawks have won at least one playoff game in eight consecutive post season appearances.

LT leading 10-0 in the second quarter, but the Central offense gets right back in the game. Chris McCormack rolls left and throws to Jacob Conway in the end zone for the touchdown.

Lyons Township responds on the ensuing drive. Ryan Jackson lofts a pass to Travis Stamm who hangs on to the catch for six. The Lions build a 24-7 lead at halftime.

However, Naperville Central does not give up. McCormack throws down the sideline to Logan DeVick who makes the contested catch and goes all the way in for six. Redhawks down 24-14.

After a Logan Ellison field goal and a defensive stop, Central is pinned at their own one yard line with under a minute to play down by seven. But McCormack can not escape the pressure as his pass does not get beyond the line of scrimmage, which leads to an intentional grounding call, which is a safety since it took place in the end zone. Lyons hangs on for the win 26-17 as the Redhawks season comes to an end after a hard fought game.

Round Two Schedule

So Neuqua Valley is our lone team advancing to Round Two of the 8A playoffs. The good news for the Wildcats is that they will be playing at home, but the bad news is that the number one seed Lincoln Way East is coming to town. Here you see some other key second round matchups as well. If Neuqua wins next week, the Cats will face the winner of Warren and Andrew in the quarterfinals.

With only one team moving on, that means that this season of Football Friday has come to an end. Of course we will cover that Neuqua-Lincoln-Way East game next week and you can find the full highlights of that matchup on the Naperville Sports Weekly page of It has been such a pleasure to bring you Football Friday for a sixth year. Thanks to BMO Harris Bank for making this possible as well as all of our hard working reporters covering each game every week. And of course a huge thank you to everyone for watching. We hope to see you back next fall for Season 7. Signing off for the 2022 edition of Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell.