The local prep regular season will be two thirds complete after this Friday's action and it is anybody's guess as to what will shake out at the top in either the Mid State 6 or Mid Illini conferences. Each has three first place teams with identical records hoping to separate themselves from the others and claim a conference title.
While the Mid State 6 title will be ceremonial only given that the four Peoria teams are all that remain and each is officially playing as an independent in the eyes of the IHSA, it is nonetheless coveted. Richwoods, Notre Dame and Central all have a shot, but, Notre Dame, if they get by Manual in week eight, will have beaten the other three Peoria teams and claim the unofficial crown. Richwoods will still remain the last "official" conference champion, having won the title in 2012 in the league's last recognized year of existence.
The Knights will travel to East Moline and face United Township. UT has a 1-4 record, but has shown positive flashes and cannot be overlooked. They are led by quarterback Dominique Parks who completed 15 of 23 passes last week for 161 yards in a heartbreaking overtime loss to rival Moline, 35-32. The Knights will again rely on their stout defense that is increasingly gaining accolades for their outstanding performance to date. If they don't get careless with the ball, the offense should be able to put up some numbers as well Friday night.
Central, having lost two in a row after a 3-0 start, has yet another tough road to travel as they head down to Quincy to face a surprisingly strong and talented bunch of Blue Devils. Notre Dame hosts Moline at Richwoods Stadium and the Irish should be expected to come out on top of this one. Manual goes in search of their first win at Galesburg.
The Mid Illini conference has Limestone, Metamora and Washington all looking down the standings at the rest of the field with 3-0 league records. With such a balanced group of teams from top to bottom, each of these three has their work cut out for them once again if they want to stay in the lead. Metamora goes to Pekin to face a Dragon outfit in desperate need of a win. Washington is at Morton to continue that heated rivalry and Limestone is at East Peoria who will be looking to regain some momentum after some tough defeats.