The only Crystal Lake team that looked, for only a short time, that they might not make the playoffs was Crystal Lake Central, but the Tigers finished strong to join South and Prairie Ridge in the second season.
Now it's time for the playoffs! Here's our first round breakdown:
No. 15 Marmion (5-4) @ No. 2 Prairie Ridge (8-1) — 1 p.m. Saturday
The only questions surrounding the was whether they'd go undefeated and how far could their balanced attack take them. One of those questions was answered last Friday when Cary-Grove went for two in overtime to knock the Wolves from the unbeaten.
Although the loss slipped Prairie Ridge to a two seed, it might have given the Wolves a wake-up call after they rolled through the season. Other than a come from behind win over Jacobs, Prairie Ridge didn't seem tested until the Trojans came to town.
Marmion Academy has had an up and down season. The Cadets have been held to seven points or less four times this season but they've scored over 20 four times. They've dropped two out of their last three games and have only one win on the road all year.
No. 11 Crystal Lake Central (6-3) @ No. 6 Cary-Grove (7-2) — 7 p.m. Friday
The are on a roll after putting up only seven total points against Prairie Ridge and Grayslake Central, both playoff teams, to drop them to 3-3. Central got that offense in gear, outscoring their last three opponents 130-30. The defense has only allowed six points over the last two weeks, both wins over Hampshire and Johnsburg.
But, as the Wolves found out last week, the Trojans are no Hampshire or Johnsburg. Both the Central offense and defense will need to click if the Tigers want to advance to the second round. Cary-Grove has won four straight, their only losses have come to teams that were undefeated at the time and they've scored at least 20 points seven times this season.
No. 14 Streamwood (6-3) @ No. 3 Crystal Lake South (8-1) — 7:30 p.m. Friday
In the ' only loss this season Prairie Ridge scored 41 points against them. The other eight teams combined to score 51 points against the South defense.
The South offense shouldn't be overlooked. The Gators have put up at least 20 points six time this year, topping 30 five times. South finished the season strong, outscoring their opponents 95-20 over their last three victories.
Streamwood shouldn't give the Gators a lot of problems. The Sabres are enjoying their first winning season since 1998. They've only faced two teams with winning records all year and they lost both of those matchups by a combined score of 91-6.
They did start the season off on with five straight wins, but those were against teams that finished with a combined record of 3-42. That's right, three wins versus 42 losses.