Considering its top offensive and defensive players were on the field for only a handful of snaps each, Downers Grove North's 10-7 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in Class 7A might have been the biggest surprise in an upset-filled second round of the playoffs.
Considering Downers Grove North coach John Wander's assessment of Mount Carmel's defense, the Trojans will be big underdogs again in the quarterfinals against Mount Carmel, regardless of how much quarterback David Edwards and defensive end Vontae Diggs play.
"Pretty good is not the word I would use," Wander said. "Awesome is what I would say. They are large and fast and physical. Very sound football team."
After returning almost the entire core from the team that advanced to the Class 7A quarterfinals last season, North, understandably, had high expectations coming into the season.
Edwards, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound junior who brings a bruising running style to Wander's split-back veer option, missed several games with a leg injury as the Trojans limped into the playoffs with a 5-4 record.
Wander said he'd know more about Edwards' status Monday, and he was optimistic Diggs (ankle) will play.
"This has been our team all year," Wander said. "I'd love to have my full team once."
Thrice as nice: The Catholic Blue, North Suburban Lake and Lincoln-Way school district 210 all have three teams in the quarterfinals — the most of any conference or district.
In all three cases, it's possible for all three schools to win state championships.
Needing a Week 9 win simply to make the Class 6A playoffs, Providence will join Mount Carmel (7A) and Loyola (8A) in the quarterfinals.
Lincoln-Way East (7A), North (6A) and West (5A) combined for 141 points in their second-round victories.
North Suburban Lake champion Stevenson (8A), runner-up Lake Zurich (7A) and Lake Forest (6A) recorded impressive second-round wins.
No tryout necessary: With its senior class banged up, three outstanding juniors – WR/DB Cameron Green, two-way lineman Nick Dillon and QB Willie Bourbon – were the leaders of Stevenson's 20-16 upset of Glenbard North.
That's not to say Stevenson isn't hoping for the services Michigan State-bound safety/receiver Matt Morrissey in the Class 8A quarterfinals against Barrington.
The status of Morrissey, who suffered a hamstring injury in practice Wednesday, may not be known until game day.
"He's a wait-and-see guy," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "We are hoping. He isn't going to do anything until Wednesday or Thursday. He made our team already. He knows the plays. We just want to see if he's ready for the game."
Familiar strangers: Montini and Joliet Catholic combined for 77 points in last season's Class 5A semifinals.
The season before, it was 115 in the 5A championship game.
They'll meet for the fourth time in five postseasons Saturday in the 5A championship game, but they may not recognize each other.
Montini, the four-time defending champion, has allowed a total of 13 points in its last four games following the Broncos' 40-7 victory over Marian Central.
Joliet Catholic, a 40-8 winner over Kaneland, recorded shutouts over two playoff teams this season.
Montini reached the quarterfinals for the sixth straight season, the longest streak in the area. Joliet Catholic, Lake Zurich and Loyola are all at five.