The four Peoria schools all have an interesting week of action this coming Friday night. While it is far too soon to couch any of these games as "make or break", it is also true that this week will go a long way toward establishing momentum, or hindering it, with respect to possible playoff berths come late October.
Richwoods looks to get on the winning track after tough losses to very good teams in Notre Dame and Rock Island. While the Knights stand at 0-2, a victory at Moline Friday would likely right the ship and make post season action a reasonable goal. Moline is a perennial Class 7A playoff entrant and this year looks no different as they feature immense size with speed to burn in key positions.
Notre Dame, coming off a somewhat disappointing loss last week at Quincy Sr., has a huge match up with last year's Class 4A state runner up in Rock Island Alleman. The game will be played at Richwoods Stadium and should be a barn burner. Both teams have high expectations, but each now stands at 1-1 and is looking for a big win this week to kickstart a big season run.
Central, with 2 huge wins over favored opponents in Alleman and Moline thus far, faces Manual at Peoria Stadium. This game is interesting on many levels. Central, behind rising star Orlando Hernandez at quarterback, has come out of nowhere after returning just one starter from a year ago. Coach Tim Thornton has the Lions rolling at present. Manual, after two convincing defeats, will surely be ready to get back on track and a win over their arch rivals would do just that. This game will be played at Peoria Stadium where the two traditionally met for the Turkey Day game until the playoffs were instituted in 1974. The Stadium should be rockin' much as it was two weeks ago for the Notre Dame-Richwoods game.
Over in the Mid Illini conference, Pekin, with two impressive wins over Alton and Plainfield North, looks to jump out to an early conference lead at Limestone. The Dragons hope to be right there for the title come week nine and should be favored Friday night.