Round 1 | Playoff Preview

October 27, 2017

As the 1st Round of the IHSA Playoffs gets ready to kickoff this weekend, here is a quick glimpse into the teams from the NUIC and their upcoming opponents.

 

#1 Lena-Winslow vs #16 Stark County

Lena-Winslow comes into the playoffs as the #1 ranked team in the state in 1A, and the #1 seed in the north and making their 24th playoff appearance and 19th straight playoff appearance. Le-Win last made the state final game in 2013 winning their 2nd title. Stark County, known to be a playoff perennial power, is entering their 22nd straight playoff appearance and their 23rd trip overall. Stark County was in the 2015 state final game coming away with 2nd place. Stark County will be facing an NUIC opponent for the 5th time in 6 seasons, with the winner of the last 3 games advancing to the state title game.

 

Lena-Winslow Panthers  9-0

Conference: NUIC Northwest

State Titles: 2010, 2013

PPGF: 46

PPGA: 8

Playoff Record: 30-21

 

Stark County Rebels  5-4

Conference: Lincoln Trail

State Runner-Up: 1997, 2008, 2015

PPGF: 24

PPGA: 23

Playoff Record: 28-22

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Le-Win 42 Stark County 7

Calpreps             Le-Win 46 Stark County 6

 

#3 Forreston vs # 14 Salt Fork

Forreston comes into the 2017 playoffs with the #3 state ranking in Class 1A and the #3 seed in the north making their 23rd trip to the playoffs and 7th straight playoff appearance. Forreston is looking for their 3rd state title in the past 4 seasons, and enter as the defending champs. Salt Fork enters the playoffs for the 18th time under their co-op/consolidation, and their 3rd consecutive appearance. Salt Fork has played spoiler in their last playoff appearances as they beat Brown County in an upset in 2015, and upset Stockton in the 1st round last year.

 

Forreston Cardinals  8-1

Conference: NUIC Northwest

State Titles: 2014, 2016

PPGF: 42

PPGA: 11

Playoff Record: 24-20

 

Salt Fork Storm  5-4

Conference: Vermilion Valley

No Title Game Appearances

PPGF: 27

PPGA: 20

Playoff Record: 14-17

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Forreston 42 Salt Fork 7

Calpreps             Forreston 44 Salt Fork 7

 

#4 Stockton vs #13 North Fulton

Stockton enters the 2017 playoffs for their 31st time, and it will be their 7th straight appearance. Stockton last advanced to the state finals in 2012, where they lost to Maroa-Forsyth. North Fulton is making their 5th trip to the playoffs.

 

Stockton Blackhawks  7-2

Conference: NUIC Upstate

State Titles: 1978, 1991

State Runner-Up: 1975, 1977, 2004, 2012

PPGF: 28

PPGA: 14

Playoff Record: 42-28

 

North Fulton Wildcats  6-3

Conference: Prairieland Black

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 23

PPGA: 27

Playoff Record: 5-4

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Stockton 35 North Fulton 12

Calpreps             Stockton 35 North Fulton 8

 

#5 Aquin vs #12 Fisher

Aquin has seen its fair share of playoff success over the years, including last year's run to the quarterfinals that ended in a close loss to Marquette. Aquin was knocking on the door for a state title game appearance in 2011 as well, before falling to state champ Dakota by 4 points in the semifinals. This is Aquin's 26th trip to the playoffs, and 2nd in a row. Fisher has not seen a lot of success in the playoffs, but they come from a conference who has seen their share of title winners over the last 5 seasons, and return to the playoffs after a 1-8 season last year. This is Fisher's 13th trip to the playoffs.

 

Aquin Bulldogs  7-2

Conference: NUIC Upstate

State Titles: 1981, 1986, 2005

PPGF: 30

PPGA: 14

Playoff Record: 35-22

 

Fisher Bunnies  6-3

Conference: Heart of Illinois Small

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 38

PPGA: 24

Playoff Record: 2-12

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Aquin 28 Fisher 31

Calpreps             Aquin 28 Fisher 35

 

#8 Milledgeville vs #9 Abingdon-Avon

Milledgeville has made their way back into the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive year and are making their 21st trip overall. The Missiles have had dominant teams over the years, but they have never reached the state final game. Their last semifinal game appearance was in 2008 in legendary Coach Gary Hartje's final year, where they narrowly fell to Stark County. Abingdon-Avon is making their 3rd trip to the playoffs, where they have come away with 1st round wins in each of their previous appearances since forming a co-op.

 

Milledgeville Missiles  7-2

Conference: NUIC Upstate

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 28

PPGA: 15

Playoff Record: 16-20

 

Abingdon-Avon Tornadoes  7-2

Conference: Prairieland Black

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 36

PPGA: 30

Playoff Record: 2-2

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Milledgeville 31 Abingdon-Avon 28

Calpreps             Milledgeville 30 Abingdon-Avon 31

 

#15 Orangeville at #2 Annawan-Wethersfield

Orangeville is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and making their 12th trip to the playoffs. Orangeville has been short on numbers over the years, but Coach Jay Doyle has persevered through the lows as the Broncos are once again making their way towards the top of the conference. Orangeville is the smallest enrolled school in the playoffs in 2017 with 101 students. Annawan-Wethersfield has seen nothing but success since they joined forces as they make their 9th straight and 9th overall playoff appearance. The Titans are coming off back to back semifinal appearances in Class 2A, but with dropping enrollments, they find themselves in the 1A field this  year.

 

Orangeville Broncos  5-4

Conference:  NUIC Upstate

State Titles: 1989

PPGF: 24

PPGA: 16

Playoff Record: 13-10

 

Annawan-Wethersfield Titans  8-1

Conference: Lincoln Trail

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 32

PPGA: 15

Playoff Record: 12-8

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings Orangeville 7 Annawan-Wethersfield 37

Calpreps             Orangeville 12 Annawan-Wethersfield 28

 

#10 West Carroll at #7 Fieldcrest

West Carroll has long been a team struggling to play with the perennial powers of their conference, but coming off a disappointing 2016 campaign the Thunder are back in the playoffs for the 5th time. Fieldcrest is also returning from disappointing year as they make their 12th trip to the playoffs. This match-up marks 1 of 3 first round match-ups between the NUIC and Heart of Illinois Conferences.

 

West Carroll Thunder  6-3

Conference: NUIC Northwest

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 26

PPGA: 12

Playoff Record: 1-4

 

Fieldcrest Knights  7-2

Conference: Heart of Illinois Large

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 34

PPGA: 18

Playoff Record: 4-11

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings West Carroll 15 Fieldcrest 20

Calpreps             West Carroll 26 Fieldcrest 17

 

#15 EPC at #2 GCMS

EPC is making their 2nd straight playoff appearance and 18th overall since their co-op began. EPC quickly turned things around after their 2014 state title and quick drop-off in 2015, but has come back to the top of the NUIC standings after their 1 year hiatus. GCMS comes from the Heart of Illinois Conference, where they boast the 2A state champions each of the last 2 years since EPC's reign in 2014. GCMS has never made the title game, but gave 2015 1A champ Arcola their closest game in a 14-13 defeat in the quarterfinals. GCMS is making their 17th trip to the playoffs and their 13th consecutive appearance.

 

EPC Wildcatz  5-4

Conference: NUIC Northwest

State Titles: 2014

PPGF: 29

PPGA: 14
Playoff Record: 14-16

 

GCMS Falcons  9-0

Conference: Heart of Illinois Small

No State Title Appearances

PPGF: 47

PPGA: 5

Playoff Record: 10-16

 

Predictions:

Massey Ratings EPC 7 GCMS 37

Calpreps             EPC 17 GCMS 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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