NUIC Playoff Football Preview
By Al Zipsie
In first-round playoff action, the NUIC won four of six games over out of league teams. And in the one all NUIC matchup it was Dakota going on the road and beating Stockton 48-8.
The five schools from the NUIC left now play in the second round this weekend. In 1A two NUIC schools will collide as Forreston (8-2) is at Milledgeville (10-0). Dakota (7-3) will host unbeaten Ottawa Marquette. Lena-Winslow (9-1) is at home playing Chicago Orr Academy (9-1). And in 2A unbeaten (10-0) Eastland/Pearl City is at Palos Heights Chicago Christian (7-3).
On Saturday Dakota beat Stockton for the first time in the playoffs, The schools had met only twice in the playoffs with Stockton beating Dakota both in the second round in 1993 and 2004. This year would be all Dakota. The Blackhawks took the opening drive and marched to the Indians one-yard line before being stopped. Dakota then drove 99 yards to take the lead for good as they never looked back. A 13 yard aerial from Josh Clark to Carter Drake gave the Indians a 20-0 cushion at halftime. Trey Engelbrecht rushed for 140 yards on 16 carries as Dakota gained a total 390 yards on the ground. Stockton's strong running game was held to 120 yards, the NUIC's leading rusher Colin Dvorak was held under 100 yards (with 96 yards on 23 carries). Dakota will now meet Marquette who they lost to in the second round two years ago 26-20 on the road.
Lena-Winslow had a 64-14 rout of Lewiston.
Forreston scored all their points in the first half as they dominated Kirkland Hiawatha 48-0. A NUIC battle looms with Forreston from the Northwest and Milledgeville the Upstate. It will be the first meeting ever between the schools in the playoffs. Milledgeville rolled over Fulton 56-22 behind four touchdowns rushing from Carson Boyer.
Also in 1A, Saturday Orangeville's season ended (5-5) as they fell to Ottawa Marquette 41-6. Friday night Polo was eliminated by Princeville 35-7. The Marcos ended their season 5-5. It was the last in the NUIC, as they go to eight-man football next year. For Polo, their best seasons were in 2015 going 11-1 with their only loss in the quarterfinals. In 1983 they finished 9-3 advancing all to the way to the state semi-final before losing.
In 2A Eastland/Pearl City easily won 58-26 over Chicago Harlan. The defense for E/PC was stingy allowing three minus yards of offense for Harlan. E/PC, led 16-0 before their offense even had to take their first snap. Jarod Kempel got it rolling taking the opening kickoff 82 yards to the house. Collin Kuberski had a 60-yard interception return for a TD. And after a safety, they led 16-0.
Stateline Sports Hub. NUIC Rankings.
- Eastland/Pearl City 10-0.
- Lena-Winslow 9-1.
- Milledgeville 10-0
- Forreston 8-2
- Dakota 7-3.
- Stockton 7-3.
- Orangeville 5-5.
- Polo. 5-5..
- Aquin 4-5.
- River Ridge 4-5.