Sure, Week 9 will have its usual amount of marquee matchups, Chicagoland IHSA football games which we will break down later this week. Yet if you're looking to capture the excitement, nervousness and overall playoff intensity of the IHSA state playoffs, this might be your week to get a head start.
Week 9 has some playoff buzz-worthy games to watch to say the least.
Let's try on one of the oldest rivalries in the state when New Trier (4-4, 44 playoff points) travels over to Evanston (5-3, 41 playoff points) to take on the Kits in this Central Suburban South conference game. Simply put this is a must win for the Trevians, who at 4-4 needs a win to get into the state playoffs. Evanston you ask? It will be fine win or lose here, yet ask any Evanston fan if they have no issues losing to the Trevians at anything, and I'm sure they will give you a very decisive answer if not a few strange looks in the meantime.
[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week 9 power rankings]
Once again the Providence Catholic Celtics (4-4, 50 playoff points) find themselves in playoff mode having to win to get into the state playoffs on Friday night against CCL Blue rival Brother Rice (3-5). Despite the fact that the Brother Rice kids will be home for the IHSA state playoffs, don't look for the up-and-coming Crusaders program under head coach Brian Badke to lay down here. Brother Rice's state playoff game is this week, the same with the Celtics.
I have a feeling this week's tilt between De La Salle (5-3, 38 playoff points) and Bishop McNamara (5-3, 40 points) will be a bit tense. The Meteors and the Fighting Irish square off on Friday night in Kankakee. Elsewhere, head coach Harold Blackmon should have his St. Laurence Vikings (4-4, 43 playoff points) spitting fire when they take the field against Fenwick (7-1). The Vikings' state playoffs started this week, and they will throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Friars on Saturday at Morton High School.
Let's take a look at the East Suburban Chaos ... I mean East Suburban Catholic Conference. St. Viator (5-3, 31 playoff points) needs to beat St. Patrick (5-3, 43 points) to get in, simple as that. The Shamrocks are in regardless of a win or loss, yet trust me, St. Pat's wants to make opposing seniors cry in Week 9. They don't make them soft over on the West Side you know. Think this ESCC game will be a bit intense on Friday night?
The Mid Suburban Conference has plenty of drama. Again. Elk Grove (5-3, 30 playoff points) needs to beat Prospect (1-7) on Friday to get into the state playoffs. Despite that 1-7 record, I promise the Knights will play on Friday night like they are 7-1, and the last time I checked the Knights just don't like the Grens very much. Palatine (4-4, 42 playoff points) will play like mad when they travel to longtime rival Schaumburg (7-1), a Saxons team coming off a Week 8 loss to Fremd. I have a feeling both will be very focused on Friday night.
[RELATED: High School Lites: Week 8]
The Suburban Christian Blue will play its last regular season games as a conference this weekend as everyone minus St. Edward (5-3, 37 playoff points) will play in the Chicago Catholic League White for football starting next fall. The Green Wave will take on Wheaton St. Francis (4-4, 40 points) in Wheaton on Friday night, and does anyone else think that a state playoff bid is even needed to get these two fired up here?
Even the West Suburban Conference has playoff fever a week early. In the Gold Division, Downers Grove South (5-3, 5-0) has a lead for the conference's automatic bid, yet the Mustangs are low on points (28) and take on Hinsdale South (4-4, 4-1, 29 points). Can the Hornets play spoiler here? In the Silver Division, Lyons (4-4, 3-2) once again is in desperation mode having to beat Proviso West (2-6) on Friday night to qualify. Downers Grove North (5-3, 38 points) travels to Hinsdale Central (4-4, 42 points) as the Red Devils look to win to get in against North as well as capture the Old Oaken Bucket traveling trophy. And yes, it's actually an old wooden bucket in case you were wondering.
While you have several quality options to choose from, Week 9 could be the most underrated week of the 2013 season.