Naperville Sports Weekly Football Friday Playoffs Round Two

Donate Today Buy This Video

Two local teams remain standing in the IHSA 8A high school football playoffs as we enter round two of the Football Friday post season coverage. The top two teams in the DVC this fall, Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central now go head to head with two of the top teams in the state of Illinois! The playoffs week two of Football Friday is sponsored by BMO.

Neuqua Valley vs. Loyola Academy

Following a home victory over Palatine in week one, this is the second year in a row that Neuqua Valley has had to play the top overall seed in the playoffs. Last season, the Wildcats gave Lincoln-Way East all they could handle in a 17-14 defeat. This time, the blue and gold travels to face the team that took down Lincoln-Way East in the 8A championship game last fall, Loyola Academy. The undefeated Ramblers are no strangers to Naperville area teams in 2023, having already defeated Benet Academy and Naperville North earlier this year.

The Ramblers with a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter and Loyola adds to that advantage as quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald hits Brendan Loftus in the end zone for the touchdown. Ramblers leading 13-0 in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats are unable to move the ball on the ensuing drive and are forced to punt. Donovan Robinson fields it for Loyola and he breaks the initial tackle and heads to the sidelines. Robinson is able to outrun the angles and takes the punt all the way back for six. The Ramblers rolling with a 20-0 lead after the first quarter.

Kiet Truong gets the start for Neuqua in this game after Ryan Mohler suffered a shoulder injury during the round one victory. Truong is under pressure and the pass sails into the arms of Quinn Herbert to give the ball back to the Ramblers. Loyola takes a 26-0 lead into halftime.

In the fourth quarter, Truong and the Wildcats are still battling. The quarterback tosses a deep ball to Cooper Lehman who makes a nice adjustment on the catch as he finds the end zone. But it would not be enough as the Neuqua Valley season comes to an end with a 7-4 record after a 33-6 loss to Loyola. The Ramblers advance to take on St. Ignatius in the quarterfinals.

Naperville Central vs. Barrington

Naperville Central is coming off an impressive round one victory over Downers Grove South after a DVC championship season. The Redhawks will need their best effort on the road against the undefeated #3 seed Barrington, who easily dispatched of Glenbrook South in the opening round.

The Redhawks get rolling early as quarterback Jack Cook drops back and finds Logan Devick for a forty yard connection. The drive ends with a QB sneak from Cook to make it a 7-0 lead for Naperville Central.

Redhawks with the ball back again later in the quarter inside Barrington territory once again. Cook finds running back Aiden Clark who takes it in for a 21-yard touchdown. Naperville Central comes out firing with a 14-0 lead.

Still in the first quarter, it’s 14-7 after a Barrington touchdown, but once again the red and white drive down and put the ball in the end zone as Aiden Clark runs it in for his second score. 21-7 Redhawks after the first.

The Broncos get their offense rolling in the second quarter. Dillon Fitzpatrick takes the handoff and runs it around the edge in from 37 yards out for the score. Barrington goes on to tie the game at 21-21 heading to halftime.

In the fourth quarter, Barrington is deep in Redhawk territory. Nick Peipert connects with Connor Fitzpatrick for the 12-yard touchdown to give the Broncos their first lead of the game with just minutes to play.

Naperville Central looking to end the 21-0 run but facing fourth down. Jack Cook drops back but is immediately under pressure and sacked. Barrington takes over and runs out the clock. A heartbreaking loss for the Redhawks after an outstanding season. The Broncos move on to face Maine South in the semifinals as Naperville Central ends the year 8-3.

The post season moves on, but not for the Naperville schools

So with that, the 2023 season of Football Friday comes to an end following round two of the playoffs after all six local schools are done for the year. Some local teams to keep an eye on who are moving on to the quarterfinals include St. Francis in the 5A quarterfinals against Morgan Park and Montini Catholic in the 3A quarters against Princeton. It has been a pleasure bringing you this segment for the past 11 weeks and thank you to everyone who helped make this possible including our teams, coaches, fans, reporters and our presenting sponsor BMO. I hope you have all enjoyed the ride this fall and we hope to see you back for another fun filled season next August. For Football Friday, I’m Justin Cornwell, thanks for watching!

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!