Sycamore (1-0) at Burlington Central (1-0)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill
Last year: Sycamore 42, Burlington Central 16
Last week: Burlington Central 36, Hampshire 22; Sycamore 47, Chicago North Lawndale 12
Outlook: The Rockets are 1-0 for the first time since 2004. Junior running back Joel Bouagnon carried the ball 15 times last week against rival Hampshire for 132 yards, including touchdown runs of 60 and 6 yards. The offense gained 290 total yards and scored 4 touchdowns. The defense scored on senior Al Willett's 28-yard fumble return, but it also allowed 3 touchdowns, including a 48-yard run. "Defensively, I was pretty happy except for the one long touchdown run," Rockets coach Rich Crabel said.
"That wasn't supposed to happen. That was a letdown on our part." That play proved painful for more reasons than one. Massive junior defensive tackle Jake Souza (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) broke his leg on the play. He'll miss at least eight weeks, Crabel said. Sycamore enjoyed an easy tuneup against an overmatched North Lawndale team unable to stop Spartans running back Trent Greer. He rushed for 75 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sycamore's defense recovered 3 fumbles and picked off 2 passes. "They are still a very talented, very fast team with good athleticism," Crabel said. "They took it to us pretty good last year, so we're looking to close that gap. Our expectation is that we're going to win every time we step on the field."
Next week: Rock Falls at Burlington Central; DeKalb at Sycamore
DeKalb (1-0) at Hampshire (0-1)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Hampshire Athletic Field
Last year: DeKalb 20, Hampshire 14
Last week: Burlington Central 36, Hampshire 22; DeKalb 31, Ottawa 23
Outlook: Hampshire fell behind 20-8 through halftime of the opener, but the young Whip-Purs gave fans a glimpse of their potential in the second half, particularly when junior quarterback Kyle Anderson connected with Brendan Waterworth on a 46-yard touchdown pass. Anderson completed 6-of-13 attempts for 111 yards. He was intercepted once. "Kyle handled things as the game went on and grew into the position in his first varsity game," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "We had some execution issues, especially on offense. We had some missed assignments and things like that. I think it was the nervousness of the first varsity game. We got better as the game went on, came back and had a chance there in the third quarter."
DeKalb rallied to win its opener after a horrid start. Ottawa scored on its first 4 possessions, but DeKalb quarterback Brian Sisler threw for over 200 yards, including a pair of scoring passes to 6-foot-3 senior Dan Mayta. Hampshire has the Barbs scouted, but the larger focus this week is internal improvement. "We're preparing for DeKalb, of course, but we just feel like we need to concentrate on what we do and do it better, Cavanaugh said."
Next week: Grayslake Central at Hampshire; DeKalb at Sycamore;
St. Edward (1-0) at Iroquois West (1-0)
When: today at 7 p.m. in Gilman, Ill.
Last: first meeting
Last week: St. Edward 21, Genoa-Kingston 0; Iroquois West 45, Eureka 8
On the radio: WRMN AM-1410 and streamed live at wrmn1410.com, announcers Jeff Myers and Kyle Bault.
Outlook: The St. Edward football team hits the road Friday afternoon for Iroquois County, approximately 30 miles south of Kankakee. What the Green Wave know about the Raiders they learned from Week 1 game film, which included kick returner Bailey Conrad returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown in a romp over Eureka. Iroquois West led 33-0 at halftime. "They're not real flashy," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Some of the teams in our conference are real flashy with five wide and spread, that sort of thing. This is more of a Hampshire or Genoa type of a team. They just line up and play smash-mouth football. They come right at you with option and power football. They have a couple of big guys on the line and a powerful looking running back."
The Green Wave fumbled the ball 5 times last week, stressing the defense, which nonetheless came through with flying colors. "We have high expectations of our defense," Rolando said. "We have to shore up the offense. Everyone was disappointed in the way we played and took care of the ball. We're not going to beat many teams at all this year if we continue to play like that." The Green Wave possess a potent 1-2 rushing tandem behind a stout offensive line. Senior Luke Duffy led the Green Wave in rushing last week with 162 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. Sophomore Davontae Elam had 12 carries for 61 yards.
Next week: St. Edward at Wheaton Academy; Paxton-Buckley-Loda at Iroquois West
Cary-Grove (1-0) at Lake Zurich (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Lake Zurich 10, Cary-Grove 3
Last week: Cary-Grove 28, St. Charles East 0; Lake Zurich 35, Fremd 3
On TV: The game will be broadcast on CN100 on Saturday at noon.
Outlook: Television cameras will record this game between state powers for good reason. Lake Zurich, ranked No. 2 in Class 7A, won the 7A state title in 2007. The Bears were the state runners-up last season. Cary-Grove is ranked No. 4 in Class 6A. The Trojans won the 6A state title in 2009. Both teams have enjoyed success with the triple-option offense. Lake Zurich was led last week by running backs Connor Schrader (13 carries, 142 yards) and Mike Shield (10-105, 2 TD). Quarterback Steven Kuhn stepped in for injured starter Zach Till and scored 2 rushing touchdowns. "Their backup is pretty good, too," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "More than anything I think we have to be extremely disciplined as far as our reads go with them. In many ways they are similar to us -- they've got really good speed, their offensive linemen come off the ball real well and they've got some nice running backs to go with their quarterback. They would prefer to run the ball, but we've got to be aware where passes go."
The Bears won the turnover battle 4-1 against Fremd last week. The Trojans won the turnover battle 2-1 against St. Charles East. The C-G offense was led by quarterback Corey Laktas (17 carries, 156 yards and running backs Ryan Mahoney (19-128) and Quinn Baker (11-51) and fullback Patrick O'Malley (15-46). Junior safety Zach Marszal snared 2 interceptions to help register a shutout in the season opener. "I thought we played well," Seaburg said. "We executed on both sides of the ball. We had a couple of more turnovers than I would have liked to have, but we were starting four new offensive linemen so I thought we did OK."
Next week: Crystal Lake South at Cary-Grove; Warren at Lake Zurich
Crystal Lake South (1-0) at Crystal Lake Central (1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Owen Metcalf Field
Last meeting (2006): CL South 14, CL Central 13, OT
Last week: CL South 41, Thornridge 6; CL Central 28, Huntley 6
On TV: This game was chosen as NBC-5's "Prep Game of the Week," thanks to a record-setting 16,198 online votes.
Outlook: The blind draws that govern crossover matchups within the Fox Valley Conference have kept these crosstown rivals from meeting for the last five seasons. Both teams are coming off playoff appearances last season and each is geared for another postseason run. The atmosphere should be electric, according to CL South's coach. "It'll be awesome," Chuck Ahsmann said. "It was always a very exciting game and there used to be huge crowds. It's been five years so none of these kids have played each other before, though they may have played together in youth football. It is exciting. They're a very good football team and we like to think that we're pretty good. It should be fun." CL South enters the game ranked No. 7 in Class 7A; CL Central received 12 votes in Class 6A but remains just outside the top 10. A fascinating matchup pits CL South's hard-nosed defense, led by third-year middle linebacker Steve Forner, against the Gage Harrah-driven offense of CL Central. Harrah (5-10, 215), a Class 5A IHSFCA All-State selection, rushed for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. Last week he was held to 84 yards on 21 carries by Huntley but still managed 3 touchdown runs.
"Gage is a special player," Ahsmann said. "Boy, we sure wish we had a kid like that. We are focusing most of our efforts, obviously, on stopping him. We went to see him play and we have the Huntley tape. Huntley did a great job holding him down, but Central's defense created some turnovers for them and put them in a great situation. You sure don't want to give them a short field." The Gator defense came up with 5 turnovers last week, including 3 interceptions by senior Brad Walovitch, who returned a pick 41 yards for a touchdown. The Gator defense also scored a safety and held Thornridge to 1 total yard. The biggest question mark surrounding the Gators entering the season was how their offense would respond to a new quarterback for the first time in three years. Junior Brendan Chrystal and the offense wasted no time answering that question against Thornridge. The Gators drove 13 plays for a touchdown without a penalty on their opening drive. "If we can play football like that on the offensive side of the ball, we're going to be in real good shape," Ahsmann said.
Next week: CL South at Cary-Grove; CL Central at Woodstock
Huntley (0-1) at Kaneland (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kaneland 40, Huntley 12
Last week: Crystal Lake Central 28, Huntley 6; Kaneland 44, Chicago Brooks 0
Outlook: The Red Raiders switched gears in practices this week as they prepared for Kaneland's spread passing attack a week after preparing for CL Central's straight-ahead rushing style. Four of five offensive linemen return for Kaneland, led by two-way, all-conference stalwart Ben Kavalick, who is in his third varsity season. Kaneland junior Drew David now plays quarterback. He threw for 201 yards and completed 14-of-20 passes in a blowout last week against Brooks. Senior running back Quinn Buschbacher turned a middle screen into a 67-yard touchdown and also rushed for 3 touchdowns in that game, and receiver Sean Carter grabbed 6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. "They have really good skill-position players," Huntley coach Matt Gehrig said. "I know they have some younger guys, but they have some strong, big guys up front. The quarterback has a nice, quick release, and (Buschbacher) is a real speedster. He gets the ball a lot going to the outside. We'll have to work to contain him on punt and kick returns."
Gehrig said some changes have been made on the offensive front this week in an effort to spark more production. "We just had to clean some things up, tweak some things," Gehrig said. "I was definitely pleased with our defense. They played to the game plan in a very physical manner. I told our kids that often the biggest jump in improvement can be between Week 1 and Week 2, and they invested the work and the sweat in practice this week."
Next week: Prairie Ridge at Huntley; Kaneland at Dixon
Jacobs (1-0) at Johnsburg (0-1)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Johnsburg Athletic Field
Last year: Jacobs 37, Johnsburg 17
Last week: Jacobs 21, Joliet West; Grant 42, Johnsburg 0
Outlook: The Golden Eagles did a lot of things right in their season opener, but coach Bill Mitz and his staff haven't made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons by accepting the satisfactory. The offense spent a good chunk of its practice time this week improving its pass protection after throwing for 37 yards last week on 5 attempts. "We performed OK, but we could be a lot better," Mitz said. "Joliet West was smart. They were bringing eight guys and playing man because they had some quick kids on our people. We had a tough time picking up stunts at running backs and on the offensive line, but we worked extremely hard on that this week. We want to be able to mix the pass in with the run this week."
Senior running back Caz Zyks rushed 17 times for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 65-yard burst that put the game away in the fourth quarter. Zyks, fullback Kyle Wright (10-56) and quarterback Jason Judson (11-27) could be in store for big nights against a Johnsburg defense that allowed 412 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns last week against Grant. Meanwhile, Johnsburg rushed for 86 yards, fumbled twice and threw 2 interceptions. "They had a good opening drive and then things fell apart for them," Mitz said of the Skyhawks. "They have a real good athlete at quarterback (Jon Torgerson) and safety and they rely on him. If he gets hot, some things can happen. If not, things can be tough. That's what happened to them the other night."
Next week: Grayslake North at Jacobs; Johnsburg at Woodstock North
Streamwood (1-0) at Dundee-Crown (0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at the D-C Bowl
Last year: Streamwood 27, Dundee-Crown 12
Last week: Streamwood 34, Hoffman Estates 17; Elgin 34, Dundee-Crown 19
Outlook: Streamwood is aiming for its first 2-0 start since 2002. Dundee-Crown attempts to end an 18-game losing streak that dates back to 2009. Streamwood running back Alex Morrow last week picked up where he left off before an injury ended his junior season prematurely. The senior's 24 carries led to 277 yards and touchdown runs of 61, 4 and 29 yards. Morrow is a powerful, nimble runner with good speed. He also has the luxury of running behind one of Streamwood's most productive offensive lines in a decade. "I thought our front would be better than last year, but I think in Game 1 they exceeded where I thought they would be at this point, especially with their execution level," Streamwood coach Cal Cummins said. "We'll see a totally different team this week in the way they come after you. They are definitely a very aggressive team. They run well to the football defensively. Hopefully, our offensive line can keep working."
The D-C defense allowed 259 yards rushing last week against Elgin and explosive running back Dennis Moore. "We have to do what we did right and not do what we did wrong," Chargers coach Vito Andriola said. "We have to get people to the ball and wrap up. They've got a nice team and they've done a nice job. We have to play better. I believe if we play well, we will have a chance to win." D-C senior running back Ardian Asani carried 16 times for 74 yards and 3 touchdowns against Elgin, but the offense managed just 117 total yards.
Next week: Dundee-Crown at McHenry; Streamwood at Elgin
Elgin (1-0) at Bartlett (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last meeting (2008): Bartlett 49, Elgin 22
Last week: Elgin 34, Dundee-Crown 19; Wheaton North 26, Bartlett 24
Outlook: These Elgin Area School District U-46 rivals agreed to a nonconference home-and-home series after they were placed in separate divisions of the Upstate Eight Conference last year. Elgin coach Dave Bierman, whose team has found itself counting points on the playoff bubble more than once in recent years, sought out the matchup to simultaneously strengthen Elgin's schedule while maintaining a local rivalry. Bartlett leads the all-time series 6-5 after winning 6 of the last 7 meetings. "Elgin kids don't shy away from much," Bierman said. "Obviously, Bartlett's good. They've got a good quarterback, great linebackers and they're obviously big and strong. It's a good measuring stick for us against a good team. I don't want to be 5-3 again in Week 8 and worrying if we're going to make (the playoffs)."
Elgin was led last week by running back Dennis Moore, who carried 18 times for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns and scored a third touchdown on a 99-yard kickoff return. "Dennis Moore is an awesome player," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "He's very athletic, fast and quick. We have to tackle him. He's going to be tough. They're lucky to have a premier back like that. He's a good one." Hydration could become an issue for both teams on a hot night. Bartlett lost its season opener on the final play of the game, a pass in traffic over the middle for a touchdown by Wheaton North. Four Bartlett defensive starters were sidelined for that drive with cramping issues. The Hawks' depth at running back took a hit last week when senior Nate Odisho was lost for the season with a torn hamstring. Picking up the slack will be fullback Nate Massey (9 carries, 35 yards), sophomore James Butler (8-53), senior Andrew Martinec and junior Aaron Everson. "They've all been taking reps this week," Meaney said. "We'll see who the hot hand is."
Next week: Streamwood at Elgin; Waubonsie Valley at Bartlett
Larkin (0-1) at West Chicago (0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last week: McHenry 19, Larkin 7; Addison Trail 42, West Chicago 0
Outlook: Larkin takes to the road against a nonconference opponent hungry to end a nine-game losing skid. West Chicago has not tasted victory since defeating Plainfield North by a point in the 2010 season opener. "They play in the (DuPage Valley Conference), so they're coached well," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. "We know they are going to be a hard-hitting team. They lost last week just like we did. They want to have some momentum going into the DVC just like we want to. We have a tough conference, but they're probably looking at this game like their Super Bowl. Just like last week we're walking into a situation where we know they are going to give us everything they've got."
Larkin dropped a winnable game at McHenry and Scianna didn't mince words this week when asked what needed to change for the Royals to experience success. "We really need our seniors to step up," he said. "They really played poorly and I'm not sugarcoating it. They watched the film and they saw the mistakes they made. We probably let one get away. There were a lot of things we had to battle up there. The kids just didn't step up." Special teams gaffes hurt the Royals against McHenry. They failed to recover two pooch kickoffs and a blocked punt in the first quarter set up McHenry's first touchdown. Larkin quarterback Kyle Newquist completed 14-of-35 passes for 120 yards and ran for a 42-yard touchdown.
Next week: Batavia at Larkin; West Chicago at Glenbard North
South Elgin (0-1) at Metamora (0-1)
When: Saturday at 4 p.m. at Malone Field
Last year: South Elgin 49, Metamora 26
Last week: Downers Grove South 28, South Elgin 7; Bloomington Central Catholic 24, Metamora 20
Outlook: South Elgin makes the return trip to downstate Metamora for what promises to be a steamy Saturday matinee, thus completing a two-year home-and-home series. The Class 7A Storm will face the No. 8-ranked team in Class 5A. "Coach (Pat) Ryan has a great program," South Elgin coach Dale Schabert said. "It's a community that supports that school and that program like crazy. It should be an exciting atmosphere. From all the things we hear they can't wait to get us back down there after last year's win. We'll get there early and try to see the town and take in all the traditions. It's an exciting day." South Elgin suffered a setback two days before the season opener when all-UEC Valley offensive lineman Christian Guerrero (6-4, 285), a three-year starter, suffered a broken ankle. Schabert said Guerrero's late-season return to the lineup can't be ruled out.
"We're not going to give up hope on him," the veteran coach said. The Storm faced one of the toughest running backs in the state last week in Downers Grove South's Josh Williams. He ran for 363 yards and 3 touchdowns on 38 carries against South Elgin's relatively inexperienced defense. The Storm offense rushed for 261 yards on 31 carries despite Guerrero's absence, led by senior Adolfo Pacheco's 186 yards on 17 totes. However, the offense missed multiple scoring opportunities. The Storm fumbled at the 4-yard line after a 76-yard opening drive, quarterback Zach Gross was intercepted in the red zone, some open receivers were missed and 2 field goals missed the mark. "In a perfect world if we make all those plays, we possibly end up with 27 points," Schabert said. "You wonder what it would have been like if we could have made good on those plays and had a lead. Then they wouldn't have given it to (Williams) so much."
Next week: South Elgin at Lake Park; Canton at Metamora