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5 dangerous teams in the upcoming IHSA preps football playoffs

1 year agoEdgy Tim

With the end of the 2022 IHSA Football regular season upon us this weekend, we will also find out which 256 teams make the 2022 IHSA State Football Playoff field on Saturday night. While much of the interest and attention Saturday night will focus on several of the state’s top programs with impressive winning records, I like to think a bit out of the box at times. 

Below are 5 teams that will wind up being lower seeded squads in each Class that opponents will not want to face in Round 1 of the 2022 IHSA State Playoffs. 

Class 8A

Edwardsville (6-2) Edwardsville is one of the few Class 8A schools outside St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The Tigers play in the Southwestern conference and its two losses come at the hands of O’Fallon (7-1) and East St Louis (6-2) and nothing is guaranteed this Friday when the Tigers travel across the Mississippi River and take on Catholic school power CBC (7-1) who is one of the top ranked teams in the St. Louis area.

Edwardsville head coach Matt Martin has the Tigers playing solid football this season and keep an eye on QB Jack Curry along with RB Jordan Bush while senior LB Dalton Brown is a three-year varsity starter and leader on the defensive side of the football. Also keep an eye on Edwardsville sophomore DL/TE Iose Epenesa (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) who is the younger brother of former Edwardsville/Iowa great and current Buffalo Bills DL AJ Epenesa. Iose Epenesa already is holding several early Power 5 scholarship offers this fall. 

Class 7A

Brother Rice (5-3) The Crusaders and first year head coach Casey Quedenfeld has led a less experienced Crusaders team this season into the state playoff field. The Crusaders have found a way to survive a schedule that has seen the likes of Loyola, Mount Carmel and St Rita while neighborhood rival Marist (5-3) awaits this Friday in one of the biggest rivalry games found anywhere in Chicagoland.

Regardless of which class they wind up in (currently they are a 8A/7A bubble team), the Crusaders have an offense clicking at the right time of the season led by QB Ryan Hartz and a deep group of backs and receivers while senior DT Roderick Pierce III (Wisconsin) is a game-changer on the Rice defensive line this fall.

Class 6A

Kenwood (5-3) The Broncos have been up and down this season, including losses against Glenbard North, Morgan Park and Simeon but the Broncos have plenty to offer here including several high level D1 athletes. Kenwood has also dealt with various injuries including losing starting junior QB Nacari McFarland in Week 1.

McFarland is now back for Kenwood and has several key targets including senior WR Logan Lester (Western Michigan) and senior WR Omarion Lewis. The Kenwood defense is also stacked with senior DB Kahlil Tate (Iowa), senior LB K’Vion Thunderbird plus senior S Kiwaun Davis (Western Michigan) while junior 4-star ranked DE Marquise Lightfoot (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) will be one of the most sought after names in the Class of 2024 in the nation.

Class 5A

Kaneland (5-3) Kaneland and head coach Pat Ryan have played better than its record indicated this season and they still have regular season work still to do this Friday hosting LaSalle-Peru (5-3). The Knights have losses this season to state playoff bound Geneva (5-3) along with Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 White conference rivals Morris (7-1) and Sycamore (8-0).

Kaneland features one of the far western suburbs better pass/catch combinations in junior QB Troyer Carlson and junior WR Arik Johnson while the running game continues to be a positive led by RB Chris Ruchaj.

Class 4A

Providence Catholic (4-4) Former Providence Catholic player and now first-year head coach Tyler Plantz inherited a program that didn’t have a ton of varsity experience or overwhelming talent back for this season. While the Celtics are starting their playoff run this Friday needing a win Friday night hosting St Laurence (3-5) — IF Providence Catholic gets its fifth win, they will be a handful for anyone they face whether they wind up in 4A or 5A on Saturday night.

Providence Catholic is led by senior QB Lucas Proudfoot along with junior RB Jamari Tripplett and a defense that has kept the Celtics in every game this season. Providence Catholic is as battle tested as anyone in either class with losses this season coming against state playoff teams in St. Rita, Loyola Academy, Joliet Catholic and Wheaton North.

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