No. 2 Mount Carmel vs. No. 6 St. Rita
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Where: Gately Stadium.
Records: Mount Carmel 9-1, St. Rita 9-1.
On the offensive
Mount Carmel RB Matt Domer and his offensive linemen were big in the Caravan's 24-3 victory over Rita in Week 5 and again in last week's 49-6 first-round victory over Benet. Rita's output against Mount Carmel was its lowest of the season by 25 points.
Both teams want to turn the opposing quarterback into a passer. Enoch Smith and Mount Carmel's D-line had something to do with St. Rita QB Tommy Mister's rare struggles in the first meeting. St. Rita needs to put up a better fight at the point of attack this time.
The number: 5.
Previous playoff games between the storied rivals. Mount Carmel won four of the five, including a 32-21 victory in the last postseason meeting in 2005. Rita's lone playoff win over Mount Carmel came in 1994.
The powers are meeting this early in the playoffs because the southern half of the 7A bracket was split into regional quads.
Helfgot's pick: Mount Carmel 28-27. Mister plays well, but Domer comes to the rescue.
No. 17 Maine South at No. 9 Oak Park
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Records: Maine South 8-2, Oak Park 9-1.
On the offensive
Maine South is 8-0 and averaging 42.5 points a game with sophomore Brian Collis as its starting quarterback. Running back Clay Burdelik is underrated. Quarterback Lloyd Yates, RB Jamal Baggett and WR Simmie Cobbs are all home-run threats for Oak Park.
Oak Park has a talented secondary led by Xavier Rowe. From an athletic standpoint, the Huskies match up well with the Hawks' prolific offense. Maine South and LB Vinny Labus may be up against the fastest offense they've faced this season.