The Class 6A Game of the Week features a contrast in styles as the 5-4 Niles Notre Dame Dons travel to the 8-1 Grayslake North Knights Friday night at 7 p.m.
The 14th-seeded Dons hit some roadblocks late in the season, losing three of their last four games, including a 20-13 loss to Carmel during the final week of the season. Chris James had over 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the loss for Notre Dame, but the Dons had enough playoff points to qualify for the postseason. The Dons are averaging 24 points per game while giving up 21 on average during the regular season.
The 3rd-seeded Knights make their first playoff appearance in school history and have won eight straight games in rolling to the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division title. North defeated Woodstock North 35-29 last week to finish divisional play undefeated. Knights quarterback AJ Fish has led the team all year long and rushed for over 240 yards and four touchdowns on 44 carries in the win last week. The Knights are averaging nearly 43 points a game and are giving up nearly 20 points along the way.
While these two teams have a large difference in seeding, this game is a lot closer than people may think. James is the real deal for Niles Notre Dame and if he can run the ball with force, keep the clock going and keep North off the field, there is an upset brewing. Fish has to keep doing what he has been doing all season and that is to be the multi-dimensional quarterback who keeps the Knights on the field. This game will come down to the final minutes and I think the No. 3 seed is going to be on the sidelines the rest of the way. I’ll go with Niles Notre Dame 28-27 for the upset.