13. Dixon Dukes – Dixon has picked up back-to-back hard-fought wins over Genoa-Kingston and Winnebago to get to 6-2 on the season, behind a strong running game led by Tyler Christiansen.
12. DeKalb Barbs – DeKalb has a balanced offense and a strong defense that pitched a shutout against Yorkville last week, and can finish 8-1 with a win against Geneseo Friday night.
11. Stillman Valley Cardinals – Stillman Valley is up to 6-2 on the year, and is fresh off a win against Lutheran thanks to a key contribution in the kicking game from our Player of the Week poll winner Luke Robert.
10. Genoa-Kingston Cogs – G-K drops a couple of spots following its 2nd straight loss, but the Cogs played Byron tougher than any team so far this season, bringing a tie game into the 4th quarter before Byron scored late to win it. They finish with another tough test against Stillman Valley.
9. North Boone Vikings – North Boone continues to put up points, hanging 46 on Oregon behind a five touchdown performance from Britton Morris. The Vikes finish against Winnebago, who needs a win to become playoff eligible.
8. Forreston Cardinals – Forreston has won four straight games by an average of more than 50 per game, with the Cards’ two losses coming against Lena-Winslow and Eastland/Pearl City.
7. Harlem Huskies – Harlem’s big-play offense and hard-nosed defense have the Huskies in contention for a share of the NIC-10 title going into the final week of the regular season. They take on undefeated Hononegah for the conference title Friday night.
6. Boylan Titans – Boylan handed Harlem its only loss of the season, while the Titans’ only loss came to Hononegah earlier this year. Boylan can tie for the conference title if Harlem beats Hononegah this week.
5. Milledgeville Missiles – Milledgeville is the lone undefeated team remaining in the NUIC Upstate, and looks to end Aquin’s playoff hopes this Friday night.
4. Lena-Winslow Panthers – The 7-1 Panthers will contend for state in the 1-A playoffs again this year after winning the title last year. Their only loss is to Eastland/Pearl City.
3. Eastland/Pearl City Wildcatz – E/PC earned another comeback win last week, as the Cardiac ‘Catz beat Dakota 21-10 after trailing 10-0 at halftime. Jayden Kempel carried the load with two long touchdown runs. The Wildcatz look to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since they won the 2-A state title in 2014.
2. Hononegah Indians – The NIC-10 leaders hold down the number two spot in our poll, following a big win over Jefferson last week. The Indians boast a balanced offensive attack that can beat opponents on the ground or through the air, and a defense that can keep them in games when they need that type of performance. They host our FNF Game of the Week against Harlem Friday night.
1. Byron Tigers – The undefeated Big Northern champs are a perfect 8-0 and hold down the top spot in our poll, as well as the in the 3-A AP state rankings. The Tigers have a vicious ground game that is capable of breaking off a big touchdown run at a moment’s notice, and a defense that can quiet opposing offenses. They survived a tough test from Genoa-Kingston last week, and try to finish an undefeated regular season Friday night at home against Dixon.