Who: Mercer County Golden Eagles at Illini West Chargers
What: Class 2A first-round playoff game
Time, place: 2 p.m. Today, "Fuzz" Berges Field, Carthage
Records: Mercer County 5-4, Illini West 9-0
Seeds: Mercer County is No. 13; Illini West is No. 4.
Rankings: Illini West is No. 7; Mercer County is not ranked.
Current streaks: Mercer County has lost 2; Illini West has won 9.
Offensive scoring averages: Mercer County 25.9; Illini West 47.1.
Defensive scoring averages: Mercer County 19.9; Illini West 11.7.
Last week’s results: Mercer County lost to Mid-County, 28-21; Illini West beat Elmwood-Brimfield, 28-16.
Playoff history: Mercer County — The Golden Eagles are making their 10th straight playoff appearance. The Golden Eagles are 12-8 all-time in the playoffs, including winning the Class 2A state championship in 2012. Illini West — The Chargers are making their 11th playoff appearance, their third straight. The Chargers are 15-8 all-time in the playoffs, including Class 3A state championships in 2009 and 2011.
Synopsis: This is a rematch between the former Carthage and Aledo programs which met in the Class 2A state title game in 2002, a 41-40 Aledo victory in overtime. The Golden Eagles' offense is based on misdirection and deception. Quarterback Rashawn King leads the way for the Golden Eagles. He has rushed for 320 yards and passed for 922 yards and 10 scores. The Golden Eagles have five players with 225 rushing yards or more this season. Trey Essig has hauled in 12 passes for 360 yards and six TDs. The Chargers have been a ground-and-pound team with 3,167 rushing yards and 48 TDs as a team. Fullback Nick Vorhies leads the way with 1,259 yards on 151 carries and 20 TDs. Colten Sargent has rushed for 689 yards and 13 TDs. Quarterback Carter Boyer has completed 22 of 39 passes for 551 yards and seven scores without an interception. These teams rare very familiar with one another. They met in Week 2 last season at Aledo, with the Chargers coming away with a 34-12 victory. he key for the Chargers will be ball control and play sound, disciplined football on defense.
What they’re saying: “Their quarterback is their big playmaker. He's left-handed and throws a really nice ball. We have to find a way to slow down some things they do and we have to bee good open field tacklers. Yards after the catch is where Mercer County has always made a living. They always have something up their sleeve.” — Lyle Klein, Illini West coach
Who: West Hancock Titans at Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils
What: Class1A first-round playoff game
Time, place: 2 p.m. Today, Bismarck
Records: West Hancock 6-3; Bismarck-Henning 8-1
Seeds: West Hancock is No. 11; Bismarck-Henning is No. 6.
Rankings: Neither team is ranked.
Current streaks: West Hancock has won 1; Bismarck-Henning has won 2.
Offensive scoring averages: West Hancock 29.1; Bismarck-Henning 37.6.
Defensive scoring averages: West Hancock 24.0; Bismarck-Henning 21.7.
Last week’s results: West Hancock beat Sangamon Valley, 40-7; Bismarck-Henning beat Seneca, 58-34.
Playoff history: West Hancock — The Titans are are making their 21st appearance, their fourth straight. They are 17-20 all-time in the playoffs, including a state quarterfinal berth last year. Bismarck-Henning — The Blue Devils are making their 21st playoff appearance, their 10th consecutive. They are 10-20 overall in the playoffs, including a 28-12 loss to West Hancock last season at Hamilton.
Synopsis: The teams are no strangers to one another. They met twice last week, once in the regular-season finale, the other in the second round of the playoffs, a 28-12 Titans victory. The Blue Devils were without junior runnings back Caleb Lahey last year. Lahey has rushed for 1,490 yards and 21 TDs this season, while Jacob Akins has rushed for 767 yards and nine scored. Quarterback Avery McConkey has thrown for 575 yard and two TDs and rushed for 260 yards and 11 scores. The Titans have three feature backs in their wing-T offense, led by senior fullback Bryce Allen Wilson, who has rushed for 1,053 yards and 18 TDs. Peyton Dooley has rushed for 878 yards and seven scores and James Corvaia has rushed for 432 yards and three TDs. The Titans have thrown for just 216 yards this season. Whichever team is able to slow down the other team's running game will have the upper hand. The Blue Devils will have some added incentive, trying to avenge last year's two losses to the Titans.
What they’re saying: “The biggest thing for us will be the level of physicality we play with. In our three losses to three very good Missouri schools, we didn't match their physicality and we kind of got down on ourselves. Lahey is the guy for them. Teams that hve been able to shut hom down have had success against them. We have to keep an eye on him and we have to be physical and take care of the ball.” — Travis Cook, West Hancock coach
— By Matt Levins