Third-and-1s killed Bolingbrook. A key to Marist’s 21-7 victory over Bolingbrook was third-down conversions. The RedHawks converted their first four third downs, all four on third-and-1s. The first time they were stopped short on third down, they converted on fourth-and-1. All that happened in the first quarter, when Marist took a 7-0 lead. The RedHawks did not break away from a 7-all tie until scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 7:25 left and on a fumble return two plays later. The third-down conversions helped Marist run 15 more offensive plays than Bolingbrook.
The Lincoln-Way East shuffle is paying dividends. Being banged up at running back played into it, but the Griffins’ insertion of quarterback Mike Weller and the shift of Jordan Wirtz from quarterback to running back in Week 9 is looking more like a stroke of genius all the time. In East’s 57-40 Round 2 victory over Oswego East, Weller completed 13-of-26 passes for 254 yards and four TDs and Wirtz ran for 182 yards on 22 carries.
Seneca’s 1-2 ground punch can be devastating. In the Irish’s 46-6 win over Robeson, Tommy Lovett ran for 205 yards on 20 carries and Bo Taylor added 181 on 18 attempts. The Irish rely on the running game and defense. That sets up a classic 3A quarterfinal against Aurora Christian, which employs a wide-open attack under former NFL receiver Don Beebe.