Area teams preparing for first-round football playoff games

News-DemocratNovember 2, 2013 

Here's a look at some of the metro-east state football playoff matchups for Saturday:

Class 2A

Eldorado (7-2) at Carlyle (8-1)

Date and time: Saturday at 1 p.m.

What to watch for: The Carlyle Indians entire roster is smaller than most, but a heavy influx of talent, skill and a wide-open spread offense has kept them flying high this season.

What coach Randy Dooley and his staff do with such small roster numbers each year is a testament to their ability and belief in the players.

In four playoff appearances since 2000, Carlyle has won its first-round game three times. That includes a 35-28 win last season over Carmi.

Former Carlyle basketball coach Joe Clark is now the basketball coach and a football assistant at Eldorado. Former Harrisburg Hall of Fame coach Al Way is also an Eldorado assistant.

Eldorado players to watch: RB Tyler Deaton; RB Dylan Roberts (136 carries, 952 yards, 15 TDs); QB Nathan Burnett; DL Austin Miller.

Carlyle players to watch: QB Billy Cummins (69-of-126, 1,314 yards, 12 TDs, 4 Ints.); RB Deven Hicks (117 carries, 682 yards, 5 TDs; 16 catches, 346 yards, 4 TDs); WR Tommy Cummins (19 catches, 496 yards, 4 TDs); RB-WR Logan Zachry (22 carries, 77 yards, 8 TDs; 11 catches, 102 yards, 1 TD) and LB Jordan Rainey (81 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 int.)

--Norm Sanders

Class 3A

Freeburg (5-4) at Greenville (9-0)

Date and time: Saturday at 1 p.m.

What to watch for: Greenville has the highest-scoring offense among all 4A qualifiers at 49.8 points a game, but the Comets' defense has also surrendered a lot of points.

Greenville has allowed 84 points in its last two games, but scored 122.

Freeburg has to hope its defense can limit Greenville's constant big-play threat or this could be a long afternoon for the Midgets. Freeburg's first-round win over Mount Zion in 2009 is the Midgets' only playoff victory since 2001.

South Central Conference champ Greenville is 9-0 for the fifth time in seven years and has made four semifinal appearances in the last six years.

Freeburg players to watch: RB-DB Keegan Baxmeyer (55 carries, 328 yards, 4 TDs; 11 catches, 194 yards, 2 TDs; 48 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 Ints.); RB-LB Robby Vall (67 carries, 397 yards, 5 TDs; 20 catches, 143 yards, 2 TDs; 81 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 Int.); QB Joseph Wolf (61-of-112, 638 yards, 6 TDs, 5 Ints.) and LB Kile Bailey (59 tackles, 5 sacks).

Greenville players to watch: QB Tyler Hutchinson; RB Theo Gibbs; RB Eric Turok; RB Derrick Dunn; WR Devon Leitschuh; WR-Craig Faulkner; WR Daulton Young and WR Austin Lawrence.

-- Norm Sanders

Central (6-3) at Mount Carmel (8-1)

Time and date: Saturday at 1 p.m.

What to watch for: Playoff football and the Mount Carmel Aces have become synonymous.

The Golden Aces have qualified for the playoffs in 30 of the last 31 seasons with the 2005 season when they posted a 4-5 record being the lone blip in that span.

The Central Cougars are making their fourth playoff appearance in five years under coach Brian Short.

The Golden Aces' lone loss was 35-29 decision to Mount Vernon in their final regular-season game.

The Golden Aces have scored 27 or more points in every game. They've put up more than 40 points four times.

Mount Carmel players to watch: QB Reece Metcalf (136 of 201 passing for 1,948 yards with 23 TDs with 5 Ints.); RB Shaun Flickenger (81 carries for 409 yards and four TDs); WR Austin Thompson (37 catches for 644 and 11 TDs); WR Levi Laws 31 catches for 558 and five TDs); DB Dax Peach (47 tackles) and DB Riley Raber (43 tackles).

Central players to watch: QB Josh Dunning (106 of 203 passing for 1,344 yards with 10 TDs and 9 Ints.); RB Cody Frohn (114 carries for 657 yards and eight TDs); WR Jacob Timmermann (34 catches for 480 yards and five TDs); LB Jake Albers (72 tackles, 1 sack); LB Caleb Thomas (70 tackles, one sack) and DL John Timmermann (66 tackles, four sacks).

-- Steve Korte

Class 4A

Mater Dei (6-3) at Olney (7-2)

Date and time: Saturday at, 1:30 p.m.

What to watch for: Mater Dei hasn't forgotten a 29-23 first-round playoff loss to the Tigers last season, especially with the Knights missing several injured players. Then-Olney quarterback Justin Baile threw for a career-best 355 yards and the Knights came up short.

Olney relies on a quick-strike offense led by quarterback Nolan Shan and have a fairly balanced attack. Mater Dei has a balanced attack featuring the running of Jordan Ratermann, the running and throwing of quarterback Sam Toennies and a trio of solid receivers led by Nick Hitpas.

Mater Dei players to watch: RB-LB Jordan Ratermann (170 carries, 876 yards, 14 TDs; 18 catches, 211 yards, 2 TDs; 48 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 Int.); QB Sam Toennies (112-of-218, 1,563 yards, 12 TDs, 8 Ints.; 83 carries, 359 yards, 7 TDs); WR-DB Nick Hitpas (44 catches, 622 yards, 6 TDs; 28 tackles, 2 Ints.); TE Ben Lampe (23 catches, 351 yards, 4 TDs) and WR-DB Jared Thole (16 catches, 246 yards; 52 tackles, 2 Ints.)

Olney players to watch: QB Nolan Shan (55-of-122, 715 yards, 6 TDs, 4 Ints.; 66 carries, 606 yards, 10 TDs); WR Carson Waggoner (26 catches, 403 yards, 5 TDs); DL Quentin Pillsbury (47 tackles, 2 sacks); RB-LB Tony Kuhlig (49 carries, 303 yards, 6 TDs; 84 tackles; 3.5 sacks); LB Ian Miller (117 tackles); RB Gus Lathrop (62 carries, 479 yards, 6 TDs)

--Norm Sanders

Class 5A

Carbondale (5-4) at Highland (9-0)

Date and time: Saturday at 2 p.m.

What to watch for: The Carbondale Terriers are quarterback driven with senior Jake Hoffmann, who has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in his career.

Hoffmann threw for 201 yards and five touchdowns as the Terriers clinched a playoff berth by beating Harrisburg 42-14 in their regular-season finale.

"The key to this team is their quarterback,'' Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke said. "Everything runs through him. He's a guy that reminds me of (former Mater Dei High School quarterback) Tyler Detmer in a sense that a defense can do absolutely everything right and he can still hurt you. He can extend those drives and get those first downs by scrambling for 15 yards. We're not going to stop him, but just trying to contain him as much as we can is really our philosophy going in.''

The two teams have one common opponent -- Waterloo. Highland beat Waterloo 48-17 in Week 7, while Carbondale beat Waterloo 40-17 in Week 3.

The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 452-99 this season. That's an average score of 50-11.

Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke: "We're fresh. I don't think there are two fresher tailbacks in the state of Illinois than our two guys to be honest with you. They get eight or nine carries a game. They're ready to break out in this postseason. They're looking forward to having the ball fed to them.

"I pulled our boys into the grandstands on Monday and had a long talk with them. We talked about adversity, and how we didn't have to face a whole lot of that this year. A lot of people look at that and think, 'If you haven't experienced adversity, you're not going to be able to handle it.' I told the boys that I don't think that's the case at all. I couldn't disagree more with that. I think how you handle adversity has a lot to do with your character and how determined you are to achieve a goal or a outcome.''

Carbondale players to watch: QB Justin Hoffmann, RB Djimon Slaughter, WR Shamarc Bursey and WR Devontavius Payne

Highland players to watch: QB Mack Waldman (76 of 105 passing for 1,540 yards with 19 TDs and 2 Ints.); RB Andrew Winning (86 carries for 1,046 yards and 13 TDs); RB Gage Geiger (102 carries for 957 yards and 24 TDs); WR Logan Geiger (21 catches for 513 yards and eight TDs); DE Blake Perfetti (61 tackles, five tackles, 2 Ints.).

--Steve Korte

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