Aurora Central Catholic (1-0) at Oostburg (Wis.) (0-1) Nonconference
Game time: 4 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Aurora Central Catholic 25, Pontiac 15; New Holstein (Wis.) 14, Oostburg 7.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Aurora Central Catholic had Marengo signed up for another year, but realignment in the Big Northern Conference hastened Chargers coach Brian Casey to look elsewhere. Prospects included a Michigan team and Chicago's Senn before an online search discovered the Oostburg Flying Dutchmen, north of Milwaukee and south of Sheboygan. "At that point in time I didn't care how long we'd have to drive," Casey said. Why not, with momentum from a win over a historically strong Pontiac squad. Steven Amoni ran 23 times for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, Brian Bohr had 12 carries for 62 yards and even fullback Steve Belovich ran 6 times for 33 yards when he wasn't making 17 tackles at linebacker. The backs will benefit by 6-foot-2, 235-pound Alec Licar returning to left tackle. The Chargers successfully debuted the quarterback duo of Drake Riedy and Matt Rahn -- opponents must be ready for different aspects from these two players. "We look to use them both to our advantage and take advantage of mismatches either way," Casey said. Oostburg, which went 7-3 last season and has a smaller enrollment than ACC, offers a run-heavy double-wing offense Casey said ran for 158 yards last week while Parker Gabrielse threw for 8. The quarterback will be afoot along with returning halfback Tyler Chaloupka and fullback Devin Velboom. ACC plans to meet them with a defensive front eight that had a strong opener against Pontiac, featuring linemen Tony Hizo, Izzy Rosa and Josiah Padilla. Their athleticism penetrated Pontiac's offensive line so linebackers Belovich, Jake Holzer, Cody Ekstrom and Karlo Valenzuela could wrap up. "The defensive line does a great job keeping guys off our linebackers," Casey said, "and if we can do that again I think we have a great opportunity to be successful defensively."
Next week: Immaculate Conception (1-0) at Aurora Central Catholic, Sept. 7; Oostburg at University School of Milwaukee (1-0), Sept. 7.
Aurora Christian (1-0) at St. Edward (1-0)
Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Aurora Christian 48, DuSable 0; St. Edward 15, Genoa-Kingston 14.
Last year: Aurora Christian 55, St. Edward 22.
Outlook: It's hard to really see how good Aurora Christian is given the whuppin' laid on last week's Chicago Public School foe. If nothing else it allowed Eagles quarterback Ryan McQuade to get his feet wet in his first varsity start. The 6-foot-4 signalcaller completed just 2 of his first 8 passes with an interception before completing 13 of his next 17 for a total 256 yards and 6 touchdowns. Those numbers earned him co-offensive MVP along with stellar receiver Chad Beebe, who caught 10 balls for 172 yards and 4 TDs. The Eagles required just 34 yards rushing -- a team-high 25 on 1 Joel Bouagnon carry -- but coach Don Beebe still enjoyed the job done by his offensive line, particularly junior center Tristin Withrow. "He was outstanding," Beebe said. Line play will dictate the result of this SCC Blue opener between the host Green Wave and the No. 1 team in Class 3A. And against an offense Beebe depicts as "smashmouth" and will emphasize a double-tight end formation, that puts the eagles in good stead. Aurora Christian defensive tackle Jonah Walker was last week's defensive player of the week after making 9 tackles, 1 for loss, with a sack. St. Edward last week won on a 41-yard field goal with five minutes left by Joe French, and clinched by senior Joe Stump's interception. AC's main target this week will be 190-pound junior running back Davontae Elam, who ran for 166 yards on 26 carries against Genoa-Kingston and accounted for all but 19 yards of St. Ed's offense. "Probably the number one key to the game is to keep Elam off the field," Beebe said. Should the Green Wave attempt to throw -- since juniors Michael Castoro and Tighe Koehring had never played quarterback before this season, that's iffy -- Aurora Christian is in good shape with outside linebackers Brandon Walgren, Noah Roberts and junior cornerbacks Legend Smith and M.J. Zepeda, who Beebe said give him the first cornerback duo equally adept at playing both run and pass. Here, they'll need to stop the run, regain possession and let McQuade continue his development. "We need to be smart on offense, control the ball," Beebe said. "Just keep moving the football."
Next week: Walther Lutheran (0-1) at Aurora Christian, Sept. 7; Marmion (0-1) at St. Edward, Sept. 7.
Plainfield East (0-1) at Batavia (1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Metea Valley 24, Plainfield East 22; Batavia 42, Glenbard North 41.
Last year: Batavia 48, Plainfield East 6.
Outlook: Batavia coach Dennis Piron remembers beating Providence, Morris and, in the Class 6A state runner-up season of 2006, Cary-Grove and Batavia. He can put last week's victory over highly regarded, Class 8A DuPage Valley Conference foe Glenbard North on the mantle. "I'm really grateful to them," Piron said, sincerely, because the Bulldogs had really nothing to lose and now are ranked ninth in The Associated Press' Class 7A Poll. They didn't lose when on Glenbard North's valiant attempt at a 2-point conversion Batavia's Adam Hunger came in to clog the trenches and safety Chris Moran penetrated the line to stuff Division 1 recruit Justin Jackson. It was the stuff of legend, and Piron enjoyed it as long as any coach would -- a few hours. "It's on to Plainfield Central," he said. "We're done, no time to celebrate." There is time to evaluate, and Plainfield East will be challenged to stop the smooth-as-silk passing combination of junior quarterback Micah Coffey to senior receiver Zach Strittmatter. Overall Coffey completed 21 of 32 passes for 301 yards and 4 touchdowns, 2 each to Strittmatter and Michael Moffat (including the game-winner once kicker Dan Albrecht converted the point-after). Offensive coordinator Mike Gaspari spread the ball to 5 different rushers and five different receivers including junior back Anthony Scaccia, who accounted for 251 yards of total offense; and the 6-foot-4 Strittmatter, who with the apparent ease of a man strolling down Broadway caught 8 passes for 164 yards. An offensive line led by returning starters Hunger, Ben Link and Sebastian Vermaas "did just a fantastic job," Piron said. But, on to Plainfield East, which the Bulldogs fairly pounded last season, outgaining the Bengals 383-147. Plainfield East looks susceptible to the run, as Metea Valley's Cameron Wilcox ran 36 times for 172 yards though the Bengals only allowed 2 passing touchdowns and lost on the last of 3 Metea field goals. Their bugaboo was 7 fumbles, 4 of them lost including one in the last six minutes that cost them the game. Plainfield East runs a no-huddle spread offense from which quarterback Jacob Kotopka threw for touchdowns to Mozel Hargrays and Adrian Simbulan. Center Tyler Lancaster is headed for Northwestern. The key will be to recognize the Bengals' shifting defenses (4-4 and 3-4) and make them pay for blitzing. And, leave the memory of last week's landmark Batavia win behind. "Every week's a season unto itself," Piron said.
Next week: Oswego East (1-0) at Plainfield East, Sept. 7; Geneva (0-1) at Batavia, Sept. 7.
Geneva (0-1) at Wheaton North (1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Oswego 47, Geneva 21; Wheaton North 49, Bartlett 0.
Last year: Geneva 33, Wheaton North 24.
Outlook: "I was walking down the hall today with a box," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said Wednesday, "and a teacher said, 'Don't drop it.'" Fortunately Wicinski drop him. He has a great sense of humor but found nothing funny about the Vikings fumbling 7 times and losing 6 to Oswego. Against Wheaton North, however, you can probably count on one thing -- Geneva won't do that again. The Vikings squandered tailback Bobby Hess' 4-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, allowing 47 unanswered points via turnovers until Hess scored again on a 6-yard run in the third quarter. Obviously, Wicinski said a key will be ball possession with Hess, who ran for 143 yards, T.J. Miller (68 yards rushing on 11.33 yards a run) and sophomore quarterback Daniel Santacaterina. Despite the outcome Santerina had a positive varsity debut, completing 8 of 14 passes for 105 yards with a 25-yard TD pass to Pace Temple. But no way will Wheaton North forecast a sure win even regarding both teams' results last week, recalling last season's comeuppance. Regardless of the miscues and a running clock the whole the second half, Geneva outgained Oswego 305 yards to 249 and forced 3 punts to their none. Wicinski said the offensive line of Jacob Bastin, Connor Chapman, Paul Douds, Jordan Hunter and Kyle McNeil "made nice strides"; on the other side of the ball Jake Will made 9 tackles with a sack, named State Farm Geneva player of the week after shifting to the line from linebacker. That was necessitated by injuried to Doug Davis (ankle, questionable) and Jake Boser (ribs, out). Wicinski believes Wheaton North will "try to come in and punch us." Falcons coach Joe Wardynski was worried about his inexperienced offense heading into the season, but those worries were eased last week. Returning quarterback Johnny Peltz and running back Patrick Sharp did their thing while a new offensive line matured and receivers Matt Biegalski and Clayton Thorson showed their potential. The Falcons knew they could count on defensive ends Kellen Cleveland and Jonathan Chapman. Nose man Kaelen Bradford emerged against Bartlett. Wheaton North rang up 340 yards to Bartlett's 155, averaging 9.7 a carry with the likes of Thorson's 108 yards rushing on 3 carries. Thorson ran for a touchdown as well as threw and caught TD passes for the Falcons, No. 4 in Class 7A. Plentiful speed means Geneva must show the offensive ball control it didn't last week. "If we can hang in there and take a punch and keep standing and take it into the fourth quarter then I think it'd be an advantage," Wicinski said. "But getting into that fourth quarter will be a bear."
Next week: Geneva at Batavia (1-0), Sept. 7; Wheaton North at Naperville North (0-1), Sept. 7.
Kaneland (1-0) at Huntley (0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Kaneland 25, Brooks 24; Crystal Lake Central 27, Huntley 26.
Last year: Kaneland 34, Huntley 13.
Outlook: After a 24-6 third-quarter deficit to a Brooks team Kaneland crunched 44-0 a year ago, after surrenduring 324 yards rushing, Knights coach Tom Fedderly is anticipating greater attention to detail and a quicker start. "We had a good film session, let me put it that way," Fedderly said. There's bound to be more pep in the step, and better preparation, as quarterback Drew David said was lacking, against this week's opponent. Kaneland leads the series 2-1, shrugging off a 17-14 loss to Huntley in 2009 to win 40-12 the next year and 34-13 in 2011. The Red Raiders have been known to smash people in the mouth, and in fact under new coach John Hart they led Crystal Lake Central 13-0 in the second quarter and 26-21 in the fourth only to wrest defeat from victory. Crystal Lake Central capitalized on a lost Huntley fumble to go 96 yards to victory with 14 seconds to play. It may be a little different Huntley offense Kaneland sees, since running back Ethan Connor left the game in the third quarter with a high ankle sprain and may miss this game. That could put more emphasis on the pass, and quarterback Kam Sallee went 10-for-21 for 101 yards, 3 touchdowns against Crystal Lake Central, 2 of those scores to Bryce Beschorner. Although Huntley picked off 3 passes last week the Red Raiders may also be susceptible to the pass, allowing 19 completions for 301 yards. Fedderly's defensive emphasis, rightly so, is stopping the run. Brooks averaged 5.78 yards per carry against what is now The Associated Press' No. 7 team in 6A. That was despite linebacker Blake Bradford's 11 tackles. Overall, though, the main emphasis is to get the passing game back up to speed. David finished 16 of 30 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns, the game-winning 9-yarder to Zack Martinelli with 3:11 left to play. Martinelli caught a 62-yard TD pass as well and finished with 8 catches for 163 yards. Brooks did a nice job containing Jesse Balluff to 58 yards on 8 carries, and at the goal line Nate Dyer pounded in TD runs of 6 and 2 yards. David went 9-of-14 in the fourth quarter behind the pass protection of Alex Snyder, Joe Komel, Nick Sharp, Shane Jorgensen and Zach Theis, performing under pressure.
Next week: Sterling (1-0) at Kaneland, Sept. 7; Huntley at Prairie Ridge (1-0), Sept. 7.
Marmion (0-1) at Fenwick (1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Riverside-Brookfield, LaGrange Park.
Last week: Jacobs 35, Marmion 13; Fenwick 45, Hales Franciscan 0.
Last year: Marmion 6, Fenwick 0.
Outlook: Marmion coach Dan Thorpe seeks a more well-rounded performance on both sides of the ball rather than the mixed bag that occurred last week. The Cadets ran off 75 plays (50 runs, 20 passes, 5 punts) and gained 324 yards of offense, but got burnt by touchdown passes of 75 and 42 yards as much-improved Jacobs led 28-6 after three quarters. "I was pleased with moving the ball against a team that had eight returning starters that were big, fast, good, well-coached," Thorpe said. "We put 300 yards on them, very encouraging. But the word for Fenwick this week is finish. We got inside the red zone three times and we didn't get points." As he mentioned, they got yards, 80 rushing by quarterback Charlie Faunce, 85 by Jordan Glasgow including a 10-yard touchdown run. The quarterback duo of Faunce and Brock Krueger was 10-of-20 passing for 100 yards. Up front there were the usual first-game assignment miscues, but Thorpe cited Peter Shares and juniors Andy Matthews and Zach Siwiec. Defensively, he said the Cadets got "beat up, up front on the ground," and that's likely to be the tact delivered by Fenwick. The Friars are coached by Gene Nudo, who led the now-defunct Driscoll Catholic to its first state championship in 1991 and before leaving for Arena Football either mentored or coached Tim Racki and Mike Burzawa, directors of seven more titles in the Highlanders' legendary run. Nudo's first high school win in 21 years came on the strength of Robert Spillane's 101 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Spillane also caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Gino Cavalieri. The Friars also offer 320-pound right tackle Vince Napolitano and 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end Ryan Smith. "I love him," Thorpe said of the sticky-handed Smith, but he'd love a win more. Even if it was like last season when all the points scored came on Kyle Kozak's 6-yard run in the second quarter. "It's nice to run 70 plays and get 300 total yards, but I want to win," Thorpe said. "I'll be glad to take a 6-0 win again."
Next week: Marmion at St. Edward (1-0), Sept. 7; St. Rita (0-1) at Fenwick, Sept. 8.
West Aurora (1-0) at St. Charles East (0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Cary-Grove 49, St. Charles East 33; West Aurora 59, East Aurora 19.
Last year: West Aurora 20, St. Charles East 7.
Outlook: Difficult, because it's nearly impossible to distinguish West Aurora's ability given its dominance over East Aurora, and also considering the strength of the team St. Charles East faced while putting up 33 points itself. On the offensive side of the ball last week for West Aurora, quarterback Quintez Jones was a perfect 6-of-6 passing for 133 yards and 4 touchdowns -- all to Cole Childs, of 7, 30, 4 and 62 yards. Behind offensive linemen Tyler Thomas, Corey Williams, Jorgelius Ramirez, Shaq Redman and Denzel Davis, and receivers Aaron Kennebrew and Spencer Thomas all doing a great job blocking downfield, Booker Ross ran for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yet the defense allowed East Aurora 152 yards rushing, 111 passing, so despite cornerback Charles House's 2 interceptions and the score itself, it was not the wholesale lopsided effort. (Though a 45-13 halftime lead diminishes urgency.) "We were challenged quite a bit (through the air), and that was the part of the game we struggled with," said Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer, who hopes to return receiver Tony Oros from a high ankle sprain. As for St. Charles East, it proved it was a hardier foe than it showed Cary-Grove last season -- such as when junior linebacker Michael Candre stood up a ballcarrier, ripped out the football and ran 78 yards for a touchdown. Candre also intercepted a pass for the Saints, who let the game slip away in the second quarter. "I was encouraged, I really was," said St. Charles East coach Mike Fields. "And so were the boys." They'll be more encouraged when left guard Brennan Bosch, right guard Ian Crawford, right tackle Tommy Wilson and running back Erik Anderson all return from injury to assume their starting positions this week -- or in Crawford's case, return to eligibility after a summer rugby trip limited his practices. As it was, Saints quarterback Jimmy Mitchell performed capably in his first varsity start, Anthony Sciarrino gained 75 yards on the ground, and in his first game at receiver after playing defensive back in 2011, Brannon Barry caught 7 passes for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 40-yarder to open the scoring. West Aurora's Eimer thought that perhaps experience was the main thing his team gained last week, and especially on the defensive line that will be a shortcoming against the Saints' offensive line. St. Charles East will hope its experience and brawn up front will counter West's skilled guys like Jones, Ross, Childs, Oros and Dequan Booker. "You block better and tackle better and you're going to win," Fields said. "We didn't do that last week, but we'll make strides to try to improve on it this week."
Next week: Wheaton Warrenville South (0-1) at West Aurora, Sept. 7; St. Charles East at St. Charles North (0-1), Sept. 7.
St. Charles North (0-1) at Plainfield Central (1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Hinsdale Central 30, St. Charles North 0; Plainfield Central 42, Amundsen 7.
Last year: Plainfield Central 26, St. Charles North 21.
Outlook: St. Charles North is a better football team than last week's score indicated. If the North Stars can withstand the size and strength of Plainfield Central's 6-foot-2, 320-pound nose tackle Bryce Douglass -- the Illinois recruit benches more than 400 pounds and deadlifts more than 600, according to veteran Wildcats coach John Jackson speaking on a video on EdgyTim/Rivals.com -- and a couple 280-pound offensive tackles, they'll display their ability. The size of Hinsdale Central did prove a problem. St. Charles North does have its own behemoth lineman in 6-foot-6, 275-pound Chase Gianacakos, it seemed every Hinsdale Central lineman was like that. North Stars coach Mark Gould said even linebackers and skilled position players were big boys. No wonder George Edlund mustered only 21 yards on 7 carries and Evan Kurtz was held to 1 yard on 5 carries. "Kurtz and Edlund are good running backs, but there was just nowhere to go the other night," Gould said. So the attempt was made to throw, and after gauging the speed of varsity football in the first half, Gould said junior Erik Miller improved his technique in the second half to complete 13 of 21 passes for 107 yards. "When we walked off the field we felt pretty good about the effort the guys gave," Gould said. Still, it'll have to improve and with the return of defensive end Wes Pasholk (like St. Charles East's Crawford, another rugby player) and more preparation it should. Plainfield Central, however, returns a pair of backs in Gino Giarratano and Jordan Ellingwood who ran for a respective 143 and 133 yards against the North Stars last year out of the double-wing offense Jackson has employed forever. Tyler Erdman is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound fullback. Inside linebackers Reece Conroyd and Alec Datoli and outside backers Fabian Lara, Nick Lynch and Tyler Ingham will have their hands full diagnosing counter and misdirection plays behind more huge linemen. "We told the kids, if you play your hardest and don't back down, playing a team like Hinsdale Central has got to help you down the road. That's how we're taking it," Gould said.
Stillman Valley (0-1) at Burlington C. (1-0)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill
Last year: Burlington Central 35, Stillman Valley 7
Last week: Burlington Central 17, Hampshire 7; Tinley Park 17, Stillman Valley 16
Outlook: Last week's victory over Hampshire was a major lift for the Rockets, who took the field with unproven players throughout the defense and at some key offensive skill positions. "On paper they were better than us," Burlington Central coach Rich Crabel said of Hampshire, "but we have some young kids playing who grew up pretty quick. They played hard and aggressive against a pretty good team." Crabel and his staff seek to build off that effort in this Big Northern Conference crossover. The Rockets gained 157 yards on the ground last week, 94 by quarterback Ryan Ritchie, who ran for touchdowns of 27 and 8 yards. He also threw for 105 yards. Central would like to get increased production from its running backs. Crabel said practices this week were focused on "a couple of things offensively." The offensive could get a boost with the return of one of three injured linmen: junior Victorious Almasi.