1. Playoff success for Washington under Crouch
Washington has made the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons under coach Darrell Crouch, whose Panthers meet Decatur MacArthur at 2 p.m. Saturday in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs. Crouch took over at Washington in 2005, going a combined 6-12 his first two seasons. In the 11 playoff appearances since, the Panthers have six quarterfinal berths and can earn a seventh Saturday. Prior to Crouch's stint as coach, Washington played only two quarterfinal games — on the way to a second-place finish in 1983 and a state title in 1985.
2. Where’s the beef? In Knoxville
The Knoxville offensive line includes junior center Carter Mason (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) , junior right guard Ghage Lambasio (5-9, 245), junior right tackle James Thorp (6-1, 220), tight end junior Colton Ericson (5-10, 175), sophomore left guard Dalton Crouse 96-2, 225), senior left tackle Tanner Warren (6-0, 350) and junior tight end Lucas Walker (6-2, 225). The interior defense averages 6-foot, 250 pounds. “We’ve had some pretty good lines over the years since I’ve been here, and this might be the best one, tight end to tight end,” said Ryan Hebard, who is 37-22 in his five seasons as the Blue Bullets coach. The Blue Bullets average 367 yards rushing per game and 7.6 yards rushing per attempt.
3. Division-I talent on display at Dunlap
At least three Division I prospects will be on the field when Dunlap meets Olympia Fields Rich Central at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Class 5A second round. Dunlap tight end/linebacker Charlie Mangieri is committed to play at Northwestern. He could get matched up against Rich Central linebacker/safety Matthew Stuckey (6-0, 210), a Western Michigan commit. Olympians quarterback Jyran Mitchell (6-0, 195) is a dual-threat that runs a 40-yard dash time of 4.5 seconds. He will play wide receiver at Northern Illinois.
4. Dashing to the end zone
Dash is an appropriate name for Farmington’s Dash Anderson. The junior back has shown his speed all season, averaging 14.5 yards per carry. He picked up his third 100-yard rushing game with 106 yards on just nine attempts and three touchdowns in the Farmers’ 48-6 first-round win against Winnebago. Anderson now has 711 yards rushing in only 49 carries, with 11 of those going for TDs. He has not rushed more than nine times in any game this season.
Aaron Ferguson can be reached at 686-3207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Sports_Aaron.
Stan Morris can be reached at 686-3214 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @StanMorrisPJS.