The calendar isn't quite out of September yet, but this week marks the two-thirds point of the Illinois high school football season, and the run to this year's IHSA Football Championship is on the verge of starting; area teams can take a step closer to punching their ticket to the postseason party with wins in Week 6. Here's a look at the area's games; as usual, all start times are 7 p.m. unless indicated.

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In the Southwestern Conference, Alton and Edwardsville can keep their playoff hopes shining bright with wins; the Tigers host O'Fallon (both 2-3 overall, 2-1 in the SWC) while the Redbirds (2-3 overall, 1-2 in the league) travel to Belleville East (1-4, 1-2). EHS is coming off a 20-17 win over the Redbirds in Alton last week thanks to a 47-yard touchdown run by Kendall Abdur-Rahman in the third quarter. The Panthers got by the Lancers 43-40 last week in O'Fallon. Granite City (2-3, 0-3) comes off a 41-0 loss to Belleville West last week at home to visit old rival Collinsville (0-5, 0-3) at Kahok Stadium, the Kahoks coming off an 80-7 loss to East St. Louis at Jordan Stadium last Friday.

Over in the Mississippi Valley Conference, Triad (4-1, 1-1) comes off a 28-13 loss to rival Highland last week to visit Mascoutah (2-3, 1-1), who fell to Jersey 51-39 in a league shootout last week, while the Panthers (2-3, 1-1) head to a Waterloo team (2-3, 1-1) that defeated Civic Memorial 42-6 last week; CM (1-4, 0-2) meets up at home with a Highland team (5-0, 2-0) hoping to clinch a playoff berth this week; Highland certainly looks to be one of the St. Louis area's top teams this season, the Bulldogs having scored big wins over Alton and Belleville East from the Southwestern Conference and Marion from the South Seven in their non-conference schedule.

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Over in the Prairie State Conference, Marquette Catholic (5-0, 3-0 PSC) has the league bye this week and travels to Taylorville in a rematch of last year's IHSA Class 4A playoff game that saw the Tornadoes eliminate the Explorers in a opening-round thriller last year. Bunker Hill (playing as South Mac in a coop with Mount Olive and standing at 3-2 overall, 2-0 in the league) hosts PSC newcomer Dupo (0-5, 0-3) coming off a 24-16 win over South Fork last week, while East Alton-Wood River (3-2, 1-1), who defeated the Tigers 60-6 last week on the road, hosts Pawnee (0-5, 0-3); the Indians fell to visiting Marquette 56-6 last week.

In the South Central Conference, Roxana (0-5 both overall and in the league) hopes to get on the right track as they host Greenville (4-1) at Charlie Raich Field; the Shells are coming off a 50-8 loss at Carlinville last week while the Comets knocked off Litchfield 49-33 on the road last Friday. Piasa Southwestern (2-3) hosts the Cavaliers after dropping a 47-26 decision to Vandalia on the road last week.

In the WIVC South, undefeated Carrollton (5-0 overall, 3-0 in the league) heads to Pleasant Hill (2-3, 2-1) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with hopes of clinching a playoff spot this week, while Hardin-Calhoun (3-2, 1-2), who kept North Greene winless last week with a 41-15 win over the Spartans, heads to West Central (1-4, 1-2) in Winchester this week, the Cougars having lost to the Hawks last week 52-0. North Greene (0-5, 0-3) looks to get on the winning track this week as they head to Greenfield-Northwestern (2-3, 2-1) this week, the Tigers having defeated Pleasant Hill 34-30 last Friday

Independent Metro East Lutheran (1-4), having had a bye week after their scheduled game against Crossroads Academy of Big Rock was called off because of Crossroads' football program disbanding; the Knights were awarded a forfeit win, host Farmer City Blue Ridge (1-4) in the front half of a home-and-home set. The two teams will play each other again in Farmer City in Week 9; Blue Ridge is coming off a 40-8 loss to Bridgeport Red Hill last week.

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