No. 16 New Trier Trevians (5-4) at No. 1 Stevenson Patriots (9-0)
When: 7 p.m., today
Last week: New Trier lost to Maine South, 42-21; Stevenson def. Antioch, 36-21.
Playoff history: New Trier is making its eighth straight playoff appearance and its 14th in the last 15 years. The Trevians' lone miss during that stretch was in 2002. Stevenson is making its 22nd-straight playoff appearance. Last year, the Patriots, who finished as the Class 8A state runner-up in 2002, lost to Mt. Carmel in a Class 8A second round game, 23-16. Last year, ironically, enough, New Trier and Stevenson matched up in the first round of the playoffs. Stevenson came out on top, 28-7.
Head coaches: Dan Starkey, New Trier; Bill McNamara, Stevenson
Fast facts: New Trier has lost two of its last three games and three of its last five. The Trevians are scoring 21.8 points and allowing 18.6 points per game. Stevenson won its second straight North Suburban Lake Division championship. The Patriots are scoring 36.8 points and are allowing 14 points per game.
New Trier leaders: Rushing: John Nykaza, 139 carries for 740 yards and 10 touchdowns; Kevin Samuelson, 61 carries for 328 yards and 1 touchdown. Passing: Connor Deloach, 44 of 79 attempts for 590 yards, 3 interceptions and 8 touchdowns. Receiving: Scott Schoder, 10 receptions for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns; Charlie Tilson, 18 receptions for 209 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tackles: Connor Casas, 37 tackles; Jack Piermarini, 34 tackles; Taylor McGinnis, 34 tackles.
Stevenson leaders: Rushing: Joe Cassata, 121 carries for 1,044 yards and 17 touchdowns; Nathan Kahn, 75 carries for 331 yards and 6 touchdowns. Passing: Kevin Earl, 75 of 138 attempts for 1,262 yards, 3 interceptions and 12 touchdowns. Receiving: Steve Salata, 42 receptions for 742 yards and 8 touchdowns; Joe Cassata, 9 receptions for 104 yards and 1 touchdown; Anthony Bozin, 9 receptions for 160 yards and 1 touchdown. Tackles: Brion Wood, 96 tackles; Carl Miller, 79 tackles.
Line on New Trier: What's in a number? Stevenson coach Bill McNamara sure isn't putting too much stock in New Trier's 5-4 record. "New Trier's record is deceiving," McNamara said. "They are very well-coached and look good on film. They are very much a playoff-ready team. They are very physical on defense and have the ability to put points on the board. I am very impressed with the physical nature of their defense and skilled players on offense."
Line on Stevenson: The Patriots may be 9-0, but they're not sitting around counting their laurels. "Although we have had many successes, we are not stagnant," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "We work very hard to get better in all three phases of the game." The Patriots have great offensive balance, between the passing attack of Kevin Earl and Steve Salata and the running of Joe Cassata. The three account for about 2,000 yards of offense. "Our team's biggest strength is that we are a team," McNamara said. "We have asked many of our players to step up at different times this year and all have accepted the challenges. Our defense is aggressive and runs to the football very well. Our offense has the ability to attack in many ways. Our special teams has been solid all year."