High School Football

Class 7A playoff preview: Glenbard North faces tough test at East St. Louis

No. 15 GLENBARD NORTH (8-2) at No. 2 EAST ST. LOUIS (10-0)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday at Clyde Jordan Stadium, East St. Louis

Last Week: Glenbard North defeated Pekin 49-0; East St. Louis defeated Lincoln-Way West 44-7

Next Week: Winner advances into a quarterfinal round game against the winner of Glenbrook North vs. Willowbrook

GLENBARD NORTH PANTHERS

Coach: Ryan Wilkens (12th year, 94-40)

Rank: Unranked in Class 7A

Playoff History: The Panthers are making their 20th playoff appearance and second straight in Class 7A. Glenbard North is 29-19 all-time in the postseason with four second place finishes. The Panthers were second in Class 6A in 1991 and 200 and placed second in Class 8A in both 2007 and 2012.

Scouting Report: The Panthers have one of the premier offensive players in the state in workhorse Vittorio Tricase who has carried the football 295 times for 1,893 yards and 34 touchdowns. Quarterback Shane Conway hasn’t been bad either completing 71 of 120 passes for 1,375 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior Jace James has been Conway’s favorite target, hauling in 43 receptions for over 900 yards and six scores. The Panthers have been devastating in the first half of games this season, outscoring their opponents 236-38. On defense, Northwestern recruit James James has intercepted 11 passes. He heads a top secondary including Tyrik Henderson, Greg Newsome and Josh Flowers. Senior defensive end Chris Noeun (6-1, 225) is their top front-7 guy though undersized defensive linemen Ladell Hughes (6-0, 210) and Colin Rosado (5-10, 200) are quick and cause havoc. Sophomore MIke Wellman has emerged at linebacker along with junior Anthony Marre (5-11, 175).

EAST ST. LOUIS FLYERS

Coach: Darren Sunkett (15th year, 129-45)

Rankings: East St. Louis is ranked first in Class 7A

Playoff history: Ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 7A the entire ‘16 season, the Flyers have been on a mission after having their playoff hopes taken away by the East St. Louis Teachers Strike last year. They are making their 36th playoff appearance and have an 83-28 playoff mark with seven state championships and three second place finishes. East St. Louis last won the state championsahip in 2008 when it defeated Geneva 33-14 in the Class 7A title game.

Scouting report: Led by senior linebacker James Knight, the East St. Louis defense, which has given up just 7.6 points per game, was tough again last week as for the seventh time in 10 games this season, the Flyers held an opponent to 10 points or less. East St. Louis defeated Lincoln-Way West 44-7 in its first round playoff game. Knight (109 tackles, 83 solos), LaMontre’ Harvey (90 tackles, 59 solos, 9 sacks) as well as Terrion Williams (80 tackles, 55 solos) lead the Flyersde defense. Averaging over 43 points on offense, University of Missouri recruit Reyondous Estes has completed 108 of 193 passes for 1,803 yards and 17 touchdowns, while Junior running backs Jarrell Anderson and Kevin Brown have combined for over 1,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. All-American wide receiver Jeff Thomas has 37 receptions for over 650 yards and seven touchdowns.

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