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Local Sports

Irish, Indians fighting to keep playoff hopes alive

Fieldcrest, FCWRB facing HOIC foes

Here is a look at the Week 8 matchups awaiting the Seneca Fighting Irish, Sandwich Indians, Fieldcrest Knights and Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland/Roanoke-Benson Falcons:

Sandwich Indians (3-4) at Lisle Lions (7-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Benedictine University.

Last week: Sandwich lost 26-20 to Plano; Lisle won 23-20 over Streator.

Scouting report: To remain in playoff contention, the Sandwich Indians — a team which has struggled the past few seasons winning close games — will have to beat a team which has excelled at it this season.

The difference between the undefeated season the Lions are enjoying and being in the same win-or-you're-done situation the Indians find themselves in is only a handful of points. Lisle has won four of its seven games by seven or fewer points — against Manteno, Peotone, Reed-Custer and last week as Streator missed a potential game-tying field goal in the closing seconds — and for the season is outscoring opponents by an average score of 23.4-13.9.

The first Interstate Eight Small champs not from Wilmington since 2007 are led by do-it-all quarterback/kicker Jay McGrath out of a spread/jet attack, complemented by running backs Dylan Laue, A.J. Casmer and Michael Walker.

In what looks likely to be a close, relatively low-scoring game in the 20s or teens, the Indians will counter with their three-headed rushing attack featuring Dylan Baumbach (848 yards, 7.1 per carry), Devin Carrera (370, 5.1) and Nic Lidinsky (228, 4.5).

— J.T. Pedelty

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Momence Redskins (1-6, 1-3) at Seneca Fighting Irish (3-4, 2-3)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday in Seneca.

Last week: Momence lost 54-7 to Georgetown-Ridge Farm; Seneca lost 22-16 to Watseka.

Scouting report: Seneca, coming off a gut-wrenching Sangamon Valley Conference loss in the final seconds last week against Watseka, will now likely have to win its final two games to hope for an at-large bid to the IHSA playoffs, starting with a visit from SVC foe Momence.

The Redskins fell in their opening three games this season and have lost the last three weeks, with their only victory coming in Week 4 against winless Iroquois West, 27-7. They are led by senior quarterback Kobey Mazur (6-0, 190), who is 132-of-227 passing for 1,591 yards, 10 TDs and 10 INTs. He also leads the team with 181 yards rushing, just ahead of senior Jalen Williams at 41 carries for 175 yards and three TDs.

Momence, which has been outscored 103 to 264 for the year, is a team that likes to move the ball through the air, as 238 of its 412 plays from scrimmage have been passes.

Seneca, which has scored 150 points and given up 156, will look to control the clock with leading rushers Logan Bruss (133-823-9) and Brody Baudino (105-521-5), who have combined for seven 100+-yard rushing efforts. The Irish have posted 1,762 of their 1,976 total yards on the ground and will look to pound the ball against a Momence defense that gave up 434 yards rushing last week.

— Brian Hoxsey

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Fieldcrest Knights (4-3, 1-2) at Eureka Hornets (6-1, 2-1)

Game time: Friday 7 p.m. at McCollum Field, Eureka.

Last week: Fieldcrest won 47-14 over Ridgeview-Lexington; Eureka won 36-6 over Tremont.

Scouting report: The 2018 showdown for the Veterans Bowl will be a key one to both the Knights' playoff hopes and the Hornets' desires to host a first-round playoff game.

Eureka has won five straight since its Week 2 loss to state-championship favorite Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, and other than the 41 surrendered in that loss has not allowed more than 18 points in any game this season. The Knights will attack that stingy defense with an offense led by quarterback Tyler McKay (1,051 yards passing, 300 rushing) and a wealth of talent-position players who have been sharing receptions and carries including Michael Morse (327 yards rushing the last two weeks), Derek May and Jaxon McKay-Cusac.

A pair of sophomores — quarterback Matt Martin (770 passing yards, 669 rushing this season including a 246-yard rushing effort last Friday) and running back Hunter Gladson — provide the sting to the Hornets attack.

— J.T. Pedelty

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Tremont Turks (3-4, 1-2) at FCWRB Falcons (0-7, 0-3)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at the Wood Shed, rural Streator.

Last week: Tremont lost 36-6 to Eureka; FCWRB lost 44-0 to El Paso-Gridley.

Scouting report: After opening the season 0-2, head coach Zach Zehr's Turks have won three of their last five and are in prime position to make a push for the playoffs with winless FCWRB and 1-6 Heyworth remaining on the schedule. Other than last week's defeat at the hands of Eureka, all of Tremont's losses have been close — 14-13 to Dee-Mack, 26-21 to Fisher and 28-22 in quadruple-overtime to LeRoy.

Fullback Caiden Buster leads the Turks offense and is closing in on a 1,000-yard season, with quarterback Nathan Hately and tailback Nate Nguyen other main components.

Tremont is one of two 3-4 teams remaining on FCWRB's schedule as the Falcons look to snap a 26-game losing streak which is approaching the length of Woodland's 30-game streak which ran from Week 1 in 2000 until Week 4 of 2003. Falcons coach Tyler Matteson is hopeful the return of a handful of players will allow FCWRB to play the full 48 minutes after injuries forced the team to halt last week's loss to EPG at halftime.

— J.T. Pedelty

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