The road to the IHSA Football Playoffs is always a test of stamina over the course of the nine-week regular-season, but high school football fans in Illinois have never endured a wait like this.

On Saturday, October 23, the IHSA Playoff Pairing Television Show will reveal the 2021 football playoff field during a live telecast on the IHSA TV Network that will air statewide from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The IHSA TV Network is brought to you via a partnership with the Gray Media, who will produce the telecast.

The pandemic pushed the 2020 IHSA football season to the spring of 2021, where a condensed six-week season culminated with no postseason, marking the first time since 1973 that the IHSA did not crown state champions in the sport.

“Playoff pairing night is always special, but it feels even bigger this time around,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “256 teams and communities are going to get the opportunity to hear their name called and be recognized for the hard work they have put into qualifying for the postseason. It is a major accomplishment and I hope they take a moment to enjoy and celebrate it amidst all the recent challenges.”

IHSA TV veteran Dave Bernhard will join WEEK-TV Sports Director Jim Mattson to reveal and react to the first round matchups. The stations below will carry the show live. Fans are encouraged to check local listings, or the station websites, for exact channel details.

Market Station Network/Channel
Bloomington WEEK CW 25.3
Champaign WCIX MyTV 49.1
Chicago 1 WCIU The U 26.2
Chicago 2 WMEU The U 48.1
Decatur WCIX MyTV 49.1
Harrisburg WSIL Heroes & Icons 3.2
Peoria WEEK CW 25.3
Quad Cities KGCW CW 26.1
Quincy WGEM CW 10.2
Rockford WREX ME TV 13.3
Springfield WCIX MyTV 49.1
Live Stream NFHS Network Watch here

“There is nothing quite as exciting as Illinois high school playoff football and we’re glad to be in partnership with IHSA and NFHS to broadcast the Pairings Show in 2021” said Gray Media’s Jim McKernan.

Adding to the excitement of the night will be the return of pre- and post-game shows, which will be presented by Destination DeKalbUndeniably Dairy, and the United States Army.

Airing live on the NFHS Network, the IHSA Playoff Pairing Preview Show and IHSA Playoff Pairing Breakdown Show will feature WRMJ’s Jim Taylor, Illinois prep football guru “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran of EdgyTim.com, and the state’s resident high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie of Friday Night Drive. The IHSA Playoff Pairing Preview Show will stream on IHSA.tv from 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM, before returning with the IHSA Playoff Pairing Breakdown Show on IHSA.tv from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

The trio of O’Halloran, Soucie and Taylor will highlight the top storylines of the night from 7:30 to 8:00 PM, then return from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM to react to the pairings, building to their state championship predictions.

The Preview Show will also feature a major announcement in the IHSA Pork and Pigskins Championship, as the judging results will reveal which of the remaining 16 contenders will advance from the Savory 16 to the Flavorful Four. The IHSA Pork and Pigskins champion will be revealed live from Destination DeKalb during halftime of the Class 6A football state championship game on November 27. The school with the state’s best concession stand pork chop sandwich will receive a prize package from the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

Fans and teams are encouraged to use the hashtag #IHSAPairings throughout the evening on social media to interact with both shows, ask questions and share pictures from team watch parties.

First Round IHSA Football Playoff games will unfold on Friday and Saturday, October 29-30, beginning the drive toward the State Championship games at Destination DeKalb. Northern Illinois University will host the State Championship games at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb on Friday, November 26 (1A-4A) and Saturday, November 27 (5A-8A).

OCTOBER 23 FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PAIRING NIGHT SCHEDULE
7:30 PM – 8:00 PM
IHSA Playoff Pairing Preview Show begins on the NFHS Network
Hosted by Tim O’Halloran, Steve Soucie & Jim Taylor

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
IHSA Playoff Pairing Television Show: First Round Games Revealed on IHSA TV Network
Hosted by Dave Bernhard & Jim Mattson

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
IHSA Playoff Pairing Breakdown Show begins on the NFHS Network
Hosted by Tim O’Halloran, Steve Soucie & Jim Taylor

IHSA TV Network Channel Information By Market

Market Station Network/Channel
Bloomington WEEK CW 25.3
Champaign WCIX MyTV 49.1
Chicago 1 WCIU The U 26.2
Chicago 2 WMEU The U 48.1
Decatur WCIX MyTV 49.1
Harrisburg WSIL Heroes & Icons 3.2
Peoria WEEK CW 25.3
Quad Cities KGCW CW 26.1
Quincy WGEM CW 10.2
Rockford WREX ME TV 13.3
Springfield WCIX MyTV 49.1
Live Stream NFHS Network Watch here
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