Chester (5-4) at Tuscola (9-0)
Game time: 4 p.m.
Outlook: Chester qualified for the playoffs with a 47-35 win over Edwards County. As the 16th seed, the Yellow Jackets drew the unenviable task of traveling to Tuscola.
Meanwhile, Tuscola rolled through the Central Illinois Conference. The Warriors outscored their opponents 408-128 this season. Their average margin of victory was 31 points.
Tuscola was pushed just twice this year, winning 47-44 at Shelbyville and eking out at 24-21 win at Decatur St. Teresa.
The Warriors have a rich playoff tradition. They have qualified for the playoffs 28 times and are 47-25 in postseason play. They reached the Class 1A title game five times since 2006.
Chester has made 15 playoff appearances and had a 5-14 postseason record.
Carmi (6-3) at Bismarck-Henning-Rushville-Alvin (6-3)
Game time: 2 p.m.
Outlook: On paper, this game could be a toss-up. Carmi is the 9th seed while Bismarck-Henning is 8th.
The Blue Devils placed second in the Vermilion Valley Conference, their only league loss was to undefeated Westville. In non-conference action, Bismarck-Henning lost to undefeated Hamilton and 7-2 Watseka.
The Blue Devils out-scored their opponents 351-22 this year.
This is Bismarck-Henning’s 20th playoff appearance and ninth straight. The Blue Devils are 9-19 overall in postseason play.
Carmi also comes into the game with a 6-3 record. The Bulldogs placed fourth in the Black Diamond, losing to undefeated Fairfield, 8-1 Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn and 7-2 Eldorado.
The Bulldogs are 7-15 overall in the postseason. This is their 13th time in the postseason.
Red Bud (6-3) at Eldorado (7-2)
Game time: 1 p.m.
Outlook: Eldorado drew the fifth seed after finishing third in the Black Diamond Conference. The Eagles losses were to conference champion Fairfield and runner-up Sesser-Valier.
The Eagles lost 22-14 to Sesser-Valier and fell to undefeated Fairfield 14-8 in Week 8. Eldorado was stingy defensively all season, fiving up just 114 points.
This marks Eldorado’s 17th postseason appearance and fifth in a row. The Eagles are 4-16 overall in postseason.
Eldorado is under the leadership of first-year head coach Joe Clark.
In the meantime, Red Bud, the 12th seed, finished as runner-up in the Cahokia Conference. Undefeated conference champion Wesclin hammered the Musketeers 49-14. Their other conference loss was 36-33 to Carlyle.
The Musketeers outscored their opponents by just 62 points, 279-217 this season.
This is Red Bud’s seventh time in the playoffs. The Musketeers are 4-16 overall in the postseason.
Vandalia (6-3) at Fairfield (9-0)
Game time: 2 p.m.
Outlook: Fairfield draws the No. 2 seed after completing a perfect 9-0 regular season.
The Mules have one of the stingiest defenses in the state, yielding just 36 points all season. The Mules had six shutouts, and allowed just eight points in their Week 8 win over Eldorado and just six points against Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn in Week 9. SVWW was undefeated coming into that game and Eldorado had just two losses.
Those were the only two games the Mules won by less than three touchdowns.
Offensively, Fairfield averaged nearly 39 points per game.
The Mules have qualified for the playoffs 16 times, including five straight seasons. The Mules are just 3-15 in postseason play.
Vandalia is the 15th seed. They finished tied for fifth in the South Central Conference
The Vandals losses were to Greenville, Carlinville and Pana. Vandalia outscored its opponents 433-278.
This is the 15th time Vandalia has reached the postseason, the second year in a row. Like Fairfield, the Vandals have struggled in the playoffs, winning just four times in 16 games.
Carterville (7-2) at Belleville Althoff (8-1)
Game time: 2 p.m.
Outlook: This is the second season in a row that Carterville makes the first-round trip to Belleville. Althoff handled the Lions 53-14 last year. The Crusaders advanced to the 4A semi-finals last year before losing 48-47 to eventual state champion Rochester.
Besides last year’s game, both schools have rich playoff histories. This is Althoff’s 24th playoff appearance the seventh in a row. The Crusaders are 42-20 in the postseason with three state titles and two runner-up finishes.
For Carterville, this is the 31st playoff appearance and sixth in a row. The Lions are 27-29 in playoff action and have a state championship to their credit.
Despite the gaudy records of these two teams, Carterville is the ninth seed and Althoff eighth.
The Lions lost to SIRR Ohio Division opponents Anna-Jonesboro and Du Quoin. Anna-Jonesboro finished 9-0 and Du Quoin 7-2. Carterville finished second in the SIRR.
Carterville outscored its opponents 315-188.
On the other hand, Althoff’s lone loss came to Centralia. As a result, the Crusaders finished in a three-way tie with Centralia and Marion for the conference championship. The Crusaders’ opponents posted just 28 wins this season.
Morton (6-3) at Centralia (7-2)
Game time: 2 p.m.
Outlook: Centralia earned the seventh seed and a first-round home game with its 7-2 record. Ironically, one of the Orphans’ losses was a 50-42 defeat at Morton in Week Two. Centralia’s other loss was to Marion.
The Orphans finished tied with Althoff and Marion for the South Seven title.
Centralia was involved in a number of high-scoring games this year. The Orphans put an average of 42 points on the board each game, but their defense gave up 28. Morton’s numbers are similar. The Potters scored 41 points per game and gave up 33.
Morton comes into the game on a two-game skid, losing to Canton and Washington in the last two weeks of the season. The Potters other loss was to Dunlap. They finished third in the Mid-Illini Conference.
This is just Centralia’s sixth playoff appearance. The Orphans are 1-5 overall in the postseason.
Morton had 18 playoff appearances and the Potters are 4-17 in postseason play.