WEEK EIGHT MATCH-UPS
NTA GAME OF THE WEEK (on nta.fm and 100.5 FM)
BOYLAN (7-0) at BELVIDERE NORTH (4-3)
Last Year: Boylan won 45-14
This Year: Boylan has clinched just about everything. North (with next weeks win over Jefferson) will reach 5 wins , and hope for a playoff spot. They do squeak in in my latest playoff projections but do get no strength of schedule help with a win over a 0 win team. Jace Bankord and Keven Tevebeaux and crew will try to give it to the Titans at Milt Brown stadium. North could use a good game as it will now be their last game of the regular season.
LUTHERAN (6-1) at STILLMAN VALLEY (7-0)
Last Year: Lutheran clinched a share of the Big Northern Title with a 45-24 win.
This Year: For a shot at the Big Northern West title, Lutheran must go to Stillman Valley and bring home a victory. A Lutheran win tonight, added to a Stillman win over Bago would force a three-way tie. The Cardinals are 7-0 but haven't beat a winning team (with their schedule backloaded with Lutheran and Winnebago). Arguably the two best runningbacks in the conference go head to head in James Robinson (1,473 yards) and Zach Hare (852 yards).
BELVIDERE (3-4) at EAST (2-5)
Last Year: In what may have been the surprise game of the year The Bucs won a 46-44 thriller in double-OT.
This Year: Belvidere clings to playoff hopes (it would take the upset of the year at Boylan next week to get there). Garrett Hyser and crew can play the what-if game and wish for one more win, but they can not afford to add a loss to East into that. Maurice Jackson has been a star (one of the best runningbacks in the NIC-10), and that should show tonight.
AUBURN (2-5) at FREEPORT (1-6)
Last Year: Auburn clinched their playoff bid with a 27-20 win over the Pretzels.
This Year: Both are out of the playoff picture but Coach Dan Appino and crew are going to try to show that the program is headed in the right direction. Last year's playoff appearance may have spoiled fans but for a school that went YEARS without a victory... Christian Lopez, Marc Trautmann and crew could still go out on a high note, with a couple wins to end the season (after two heartbreaking losses to Guilford and Harlem.)
GUILFORD (6-1) at HONONEGAH (5-2)
Last Year: Hononegah spanked the Vikings 29-8
This Year: A big test for the Knights who end their season by playing two of the "big three" in Harlem and Hononegah. Guilford would clinch second place with a win or with two losses could drop to fourth. Both teams already should have the playoff tickets punched , but some late season momentum helps either squad. Guilford's acclaimed defense should be more than tested by RB Alex Martin and the Indians' league-dominating rushing attack.
HARLEM goes to (6-2) with a forfeit win over JEFFERSON (0-8)
OTHER GAMES OF NOTE: CHRISTIAN LIFE (6-1) at HIAWATHA (3-4) WINNEBAGO (7-0) at BYRON (2-5) NORTH BOONE (3-4) at RICHMOND BURTON (5-2)