By Al Zipsie

9 of the 17 teams in the NUIC have qualified for the IHSA football playoffs. Six of those teams will host first-round games.

From the Northwest. Lena-Winslow, Forreston, Dakota in 1A and West Carroll and Eastland/Pearl City in 2A. From the Upstate, all in 1A, Stockton, Aquin, Milledgeville, and Orangeville.

The eight other teams in the NUIC finished their seasons Friday. Polo with a loss to Eastland/Pearl City finished 5-4 and did not have enough playoff points to make the field.

In the Northwest, Lena-Winslow won the Conference unbeaten at 9-0. They had a 55-7 rout of Dakota in the regular season finale. Dakota is 7-2, however, when they faced the powers, they lost big to Lena-Winslow and 40-0 to Forreston.

Third-ranked in 1A, Forreston, 8-1 tuned up for the playoffs whipping Amboy 54-6. West Carroll clinched a playoff berth with a sixth win in a 43-6 victory over East Dubuque.

Durand/Pecatonica won its first game as a Coop beating Galena 20-12. The Pirates suffered through their first winless season in school history since they began in 1941. They have had five unbeaten seasons and three state championships.

In the Upstate, Stockton defended it's Conference title by holding off Orangeville 28-16. Stockton (7-2) overall was unbeaten in the Upstate. Aquin, gave Milledgeville's only it's second loss of the season. It wasn't so much that the Bulldogs won, but how with a 38-0 shutout. And Ashton/Franklin Center beat Warren 34-8.

In the crossover game, Eastland/Pearl City became playoff eligible rolled over Polo 41-7. The win allowed E/PC to make the playoffs.

In a non-conference game, River Ridge lost to Mooseheart 57-36.

Pairings for playoffs. All games Saturday.

1A. The top ranked 1A state team Lena-Winslow, 9-0, and Forreston, seeded third and ranked third in the state are both in the North bracket. Forreston, is hoping to defend their state championship. Their only loss was in conference play to Lena-Winslow. A rematch of the two teams would happen if they both make it to the semi-final. Tuscola, is the states second ranked team in 1A. Tuscola, 9-0, some thought may end up in 2A, but they are in 1A as the top seed in the South, the bottom bracket. Both Forreston and Lerna-Winslow are seeking their third state title in school history.

Lena-Winslow will open hosting Toulon Stark County (5-4) at 2 p.m. The Panthers would then play the winner of the opening round game with Milledgeville hosting Abingdon A-Avon 1 p.m. Stockton (7-2) opens at home with Cuba North Fulton Coop (6-3) 1 p.m. Aquin welcomes Fisher (6-3) with a 2 pm kickoff. If both win a remarch looms. Stockton beat Aquin earlier this season.

Also in 1A, Orangeville visits No 2 seeded Kewanee Weathersfield Coop (8-1) at 2 p.m. Dakota hopes to bounce back from the bad loss to Lena-Winslow. The Indians are at home as the seven seed and meet No 10 seeded Princeville (7-2) with a kickoff at 2:00.

Forreston opens at home with Catlin (Salt Fork 5-4) at 3:30 p.m.

Teams from the NUIC in the 2A playoffs will both be on the road as the lower seed. E/PC meets 9-0 Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley. West Carroll faces 7-2 Minonk-Fieldcrfest. Both start times are 2 p.m.

The winner of our ten panel NUIC media picks is a four way tie for first place. All with 72-9 records. Cody Cutter. Sauk Valley News. Kyle Kampmier. NUIC Football Fanatics. Mike Buda. WIFR TV. Shane Klever. NUIC Football Fanatics. In the tie breaker with the score differential of Aquin and Milledgeville. Cody Cutter was first. 30 points off. Kyle Kampmier, second 32 off. Mike Buda third 34 off and Shane Klever. 36.

Going into the final week, Kampmier and Klever were one game behind Cutter and Buda. Kampmier and Klever did prove to be NUIC Football Fanatics as they went 8-1 in the final week to force the four way tie. The difference was they both had Durand/Pecatonica. While Buda and Cutter had Galena, they were 7-2. The tie breaker was the score of the Aquin and Milledgeville game. All four had picked Aquin. No one thought the final would be 38-0.

Terry Werntz. 68-13. Former Dakota and Freeport football coach.

Scott Leber. 67-14. WTVO TV.

Matt Trowbridge. 67-14. Rockford Register Star/Freeport Journal Standard.

Joe Dredge. 67-14. WROK Radio/Stateline Sports Hub.

Al Zipsie. 66-15. Stateline Sports Hub.

Pete Leinweber. 64-17. Deep Dish Football.

Stateline NUIC Rankings

  1. Lena-Winslow. 9-0.
  2. Forreston. 8-1.
  3. Stockton. 7-2.
  4. Aquin. 7-2.
  5. Dakota. 7-2.
  6. West Carroll. 6-3.
  7. Eastland/Pearl City 5-4.
  8. Milledgeville. 7-2.
  9. Orangeville. 5-4.
  10. Polo. 5-4.
  11. Amboy. 3-6.
  12. Ashton/Franklin Center. 3-6.
  13. East Dubuque. 2-7.
  14. River Ridge. 2-7.
  15. Durand/Pecatonica. 1-8.
  16. Warren. 1-7.
  17. Galena. 0-9.

Other Stateline teams in the playoffs this weekend will be.

2A. Sterling Newman (9-0) host Aurora Christian (5-4). Rockford Christian (5-4) at Orion (7-2).

3A. Winnebago (6-3) at Farmington (9-0). Byron (9-0) host Eureka (6-3). North Boone (7-2) at Monticello (8-1).

4A. Rochelle (6-3) host Chicago Ag Science (6-3). Dixon (8-1) host Geneseo (5-4). Genoa-Kingston (7-2) host Elmwood Park (6-3). Richmond Burton (6-3) at Chicago Urban Prep Bronzeville (7-2).

5A. Sterling (9-0) host Arlington Heights St. Viator (5-4).

6A. Belvidere North (5-4) at Auburn (8-1).

7A. Rockford East (6-3) at New Lenox Lincoln Way Central (8-1). Harlem (5-4) at Hononegah (9-0).