Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton (1-6, 1-6) at Chester (5-2, 5-2)
The nightmare is over in Franklin County, where the Bearcats snapped a 24-game losing streak Saturday with a 15-8 win over Johnston City, Anthony Hargrove’s first win in nearly two seasons as the coach. The Yellow Jackets can wrap up a playoff berth if they can win their sixth straight game. They’re coming off a 35-0 blanking of Carmi-White County on the road, their second straight shutout. Quarterback Nick Meyer and the offense are playing at a high level.
Carmi-White County (1-6, 1-6) at Hamilton County (2-5, 2-5)
Both teams are out of the playoff picture, so this is mostly about pride and trying to finish strong. The Bulldogs dropped their fifth straight game last week as surging Chester shut them out, while the Foxes fell, 46-40, in a shootout at Sesser-Valier-Waltonville. The Carmi-White County defense has burped up at least 35 points in each of the last three games after allowing only 36 total in the first four games.
Edwards County (4-3, 4-3) at Johnston City (2-5, 2-5)
Back-to-back home losses to Fairfield and Eldorado have put the Lions in a difficult spot tonight. This is pretty much a must-win if they are to become playoff-eligible, as the season finale is against Chester at home. The Indians were eliminated from postseason consideration with their loss to C-Z-R on Saturday in a game where they committed critical turnovers. But both of Johnston City’s wins this year are at home.
Sesser-Valier-Waltonville (6-1, 6-1) at Vienna-Goreville (1-6, 1-6), Saturday
The Red Devils are still battling injuries, but did manage to pull out a high-scoring win last week against Hamilton County to clinch a spot in the Class 1A playoffs. With unbeaten Fairfield on the docket next week, S-V-W needs this one to give itself a chance at a home game in the first round. The Eagles have lost six straight since routing C-Z-R in the season opener, including a 40-6 verdict last week to Fairfield
Sparta (1-6, 0-4) at Anna-Jonesboro (5-2, 4-0)
After losing their first two games to good teams in West Frankfort and Murphysboro, the Wildcats have responded with five straight wins, including a dramatic 36-35 verdict last week at Du Quoin. A-J can clinch the conference title and a playoff berth in one shot against the Bulldogs, who have lost five in a row since toppling Benton in Week 2. Sparta has permitted at least 49 points in each of the last three games.
Pinckneyville (3-4, 1-3) at Carterville (2-5, 1-3)
For the Panthers, it’s win or else in their last two games, and that’s just to become playoff-eligible. They have scored just 16 points in losses against Du Quoin, A-J and Nashville, and have to get something going on offense if they want to turn things around. The Lions have nothing but pride at stake, but were able to snap a five-game losing streak last week by walloping Sparta 49-26.
West Frankfort (6-1, 3-1) at Massac County (0-7, 0-4)
After the biggest win of the Brian Beery era, a 33-28 defeat of Herrin in which they led 33-7 at the half, the Redbirds try to clinch at least a share of the conference title against the winless Patriots. At this point, West Frankfort is basically playing for a first round home game in the Class 3A field. Massac County was blanked for the third time this year in its 14-0 setback last week to Benton.
Herrin (5-2, 3-1) at Harrisburg (2-5, 2-2)
The Tigers might have a tough time earning a first round home game in 4A now after last week’s loss at West Frankfort. They’ll need to win this week and next against Breese Central, as well as get some help. Herrin has showcased an improved passing attack the last two weeks, but continues to get gashed on the ground. The Bulldogs saw their playoff hopes end last week with a 60-15 pounding at Murphysboro.
Murphysboro (5-2, 3-1) at Benton (1-6, 1-3)
The Red Devils are clicking on all cylinders offensively, getting big plays from multiple backs and outstanding work from an offensive line which understands angle blocking is the key to a double-wing offense. They can also clinch a playoff berth outright and no worse than a share of the conference title with a win here. The Rangers gave first-year coach Justin Groves his first win last week at Massac County.
Cahokia (6-1, 4-0) at Althoff (1-6, 1-3)
The Comanches locked down a playoff spot last week by overwhelming Mount Vernon in the second half for a 43-6 win. A victory here assures them of the South Seven title outright and improves their chances of hosting a first-round game in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Crusaders will miss the postseason for the first time in eight years, but are still playing hard. They led playoff-bound Carbondale in the fourth quarter last week before losing, 24-21.
Centralia (1-6, 1-3) at Mount Vernon (1-6, 0-4)
Two teams who started playing out the string last week play some more of it out in their final conference game. The depth-shy Orphans were smacked 38-14 a week ago by Marion, while the injury-riddled Rams gave Cahokia a good game for a half before expiring in the second half. Mount Vernon has had all sorts of trouble offensively, where it has used four quarterbacks. It has managed just 53 points and been blanked three times.