PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The playoffs are back and high school football players couldn’t be happier.

After a year hiatus due to COVID precautions and shortened schedules, the prep football playoffs return this weekend. Area team began preparations for their postseason match-ups as soon as they learned who’d they’ll play.

“It’s nice to carry on the tradition of Peoria Notre Dame football, making the playoffs every year,” said Peoria Notre Dame senior running back Charlie Dawson.

PND has qualified for the playoffs ten straight years. The Irish open the class 4A playoffs at Wheaton St. Francis on Saturday afternoon.

“We are hoping we can make a deep run in the playoffs, which we haven’t been able to do the past few years,” Dawson added.

Pekin has a home playoff game for the first time since 2013. The Dragons host Libertyville in a class 7A playoff game Friday night.

“We are ready to play and excited,” said Pekin senior center Myles Bridgmon. “It hasn’t happened in a while, we are going to be ready. I’m really excited for this Week 10 game.”

Peoria High will host Chicago Morgan Park in the class 5A playoffs Saturday.

“We have to have more focus, be more patient, we have to have more attention to detail,” said Lions senior linebacker Skylan Douglas.