We’ve hit the final week of the regular season. Districts begin in Missouri and playoffs launch in Illinois next week. I wish I could tell you there are a bunch of compelling Illinois matchups this week that have playoff implications, but that’s just not the case. Still, there are a handful of interesting games on both sides of the river.
This post might be a little shorter than usual, as I sit here in Springfield, Mo., after a long drive and just a handful of hours away from the start of state softball.
Let’s get the picks. Home teams are listed second.
Quincy Notre Dame 7, Macomb 13
The Raiders (5-3), ranked No. 9 in Class 4A, are all sorts of banged up. If QND is healthy, I think it wins this game with relative ease. Macomb (7-1), ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, isn’t without problems of its own. The Bombers have consistently had problems scoring. But Macomb’s defense has been solid, and it sounds like QND is going to be missing some of its top offensive options.
Troy (Mo.) 22, Quincy High School 13
Troy (5-3) hasn’t defeated an above-.500 team this season. Neither has QHS (3-5). The Trojans are undefeated against teams .500 or worse. The Blue Devils fall into that category. Troy has more to play for in this game, and QHS hasn’t shown it can pull out a close game this season.
Monmouth-Roseville 27, Illini West 36
The Chargers (7-1), ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, have won six straight. The Titans (6-2) have won five straight. It’s a quality matchup, but Illini West’s ground attack, which has been unstoppable against everyone but Macomb this season, might give the Chargers the edge.
Monroe City 6, Palmyra 34
Palmyra (4-4) is 4-0 against teams .500 or worse with a margin of victory of 109-24 in those contests, and Monroe City comes in 1-7.
West Hancock 28, Rockridge 41
The Rockets (6-2) handed Macomb its first loss last week. West Hancock (2-6) beat winless Princeton with another impressive aerial assault. I’m guessing a West Hancock defense that has been porous against good teams flares up again here.
South Shelby 29, Mark Twain 6
While Mark Twain (2-6) was losing 36-6 to Palmyra last week, South Shelby (4-4) was giving undefeated Clark County all it wanted, ultimately settling for a 41-32 loss. Yep, it’s getting near playoff time, and the Cardinals seem to be hitting their stride. Anyone surprised?
Calhoun 0, Central-Southeastern 52
The Panthers (8-0), ranked No. 5 in Class 2A, have been in stride since Week 1. The two wins for Calhoun (2-6) came over teams with a combined two wins. C-SE is 3-0 against the Western Illinois Valley Conference’s South Division this season, with a margin of victory of 108-6 in those games. Look out.
Louisiana 6, Highland 22
The Cougars (2-6) have won two of their last three contests. Louisiana (0-8) has allowed its opponent to score 45 or more points in three straight losses.
Brookfield 20, Clark County 34
If South Shelby didn’t get the Indians’ attention last week, there could be an upset brewing here. The defense for Brookfield (6-2) has been very, very good this season. Still, Clark County, ranked No. 3 in Class 2, has a chance to close out its first Clarence Cannon Conference title, so the Indians (8-0) should be a determined group this week.
Unity 0, Winchester West Central 28
West Central (5-3) has won three of its last four and should be a motivated group, needing this game to guarantee a playoff spot. Unity (2-6) has had offensive issues all season.
Brown County 13, Carrollton 27
The Hornets (5-3) got the win they needed last week against Greenfield. A win here clinches a playoff spot, but even with a loss, Brown County stands a very good shot of making the playoffs, with the guarantee of finishing with at least 40 playoff points. A five-win team with 40 or more playoff points has never missed the playoffs. Carrollton (7-1) has seven straight wins since a season-opening loss to C-SE. The Hawks have only allowed 40 points all season. Brown County is hot, having won four straight, but Carrollton is just downright good.
Schuyler County 33, Scotland County 6
The Rams (5-3) beat Knox County last week. That win came a week after Knox County steamrolled Scotland County (2-6), so it’s tough to pick against Schuyler County.
Pleasant Hill 26, Jacksonville ISD 6
What’s the perfect remedy for the Wolves (2-6), who lost 51-0 to Triopia last week? How about a game against ISD (0-8), which hasn’t earned a win, excluding a forfeit victory, since 2009?
Hannibal 21, Jefferson City Helias 34
Pay no mind to the 4-4 record of Helias, which is ranked No. 9 in Class 4. The Crusaders play one of the most difficult schedules in Class 4. This will be the toughest test of the season for the Pirates (8-0), ranked No. 3 in Class 4. Helias has faced stiff competition week in, week out. That big-game experience will become apparent in what could be the first of two matchups of these teams, which find themselves in the same district.
Sherrard 27, Pittsfield 14
Pittsfield (3-5) didn’t have an inspiring performance in a must-win game against Orion last week, losing 30-0. Sherrard (3-5) played Orion much tougher just a week earlier.
Toppmeyer’s 2012 record: 110-19 (85.3 %)