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Scouting this weekend's Tri-Cities football games
 

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Scouting this weekend's Tri-Cities football games

By Dave Oberhelman

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

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Geneva (0-2, 0-0) at Batavia (2-0, 0-0)

Upstate Eight Conference River Division

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Wheaton North 34, Geneva 7; Batavia 30, Plainfield East 14.

Last year: Batavia 46, Geneva 34.

Outlook: The latest in a series dating to 1913, in which Geneva holds a lead of 51-37-5. Geneva saw a four-game streak snapped last season by a Batavia program with all pistons firing. "They've got swagger, they've got their juju," said Vikings coach Rob Wicinski. And he's got tailback Bobby Hess, held to 71 yards rushing by Wheaton North but 214 on the season. Quarterback Daniel Santacaterina and receivers Kyle Brown and Pace Temple provide Geneva the athleticism at the skilled positions, and Wicinski likes the inside trap runs by fullback Joe Boenzi. All of the above need to play a turnover-free, ball-control game and, probably, keep the scoring down. "Muck it up," as Wicinski said. That may be more difficult with banged-up linemen like defensive tackles Nathan Balettie and Jake Boser and offensive tackle Jacob Bastin. Defensively, Wicinski looks to put a rush on Batavia quarterback Micah Coffey so the junior signalcaller can't just loft it out to wideout Zach Strittmatter. Along with Coffey and Strittmatter, who have teamed up 13 times for 212 yards, 3 touchdowns, running back Anthony Scaccia (278 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns) has been the Bulldogs' main offensive weapon. Coach Dennis Piron would like to spread it out, get Michael Moffatt more touches along with Anthony Thielk, Tyler Miller, Robbie Bowman and others. Defensively, Piron is intent on taking away first the run then the play-action pass, putting on heat with linemen such as Michael Gates, James Millette and Ryan Minniti. Piron also cautions against the cagey Wicinski's special teams, which could spring a fake punt or onside kick at any time. As they say, toss the records out the window in this, the 100th year of the Geneva-Batavia rivalry. "They're very excited about the game and it means a lot to our school, our kids," Piron said. "A lot."

Next week: Larkin (1-1, 0-0) at Geneva, Sept. 14; Streamwood (1-1, 0-0) at Batavia, Sept. 14.

St. Charles East (1-1, 0-0) at St. Charles North (0-2, 0-0)

Upstate Eight Conference River Division

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: St. Charles East 26, West Aurora 21; Plainfield Central 14, St. Charles North 7.

Last year: St. Charles East 23, St. Charles North 21.

Outlook: Matching the other team's intensity will be paramount, especially for St. Charles North. The North Stars spotted Plainfield East a 14-0 halftime lead then won the second half 7-0 on Erik Miller's 31-yard touchdown pass to speedy Zach Kirby. "We can't let them jump ahead," said retiring St. Charles North coach Mark Gould, who will coach his last game in the Cross-Town Classic. St. Charles East leads the series 8-4, which includes a 2005 playoff victory. Miller can throw some, as he proved last week, and overall the North Stars are coming along in their new spread offense, but the ground game has yet to take hold. The North Stars were on the wrong end of a 205-61 yard rushing disparity against Plainfield Central. Against St. Charles East's hard-charging ground game -- which will be without top rusher Erik Anderson due to a separated shoulder -- North Stars linebackers Alec Datoli and Reece Conroyd will have to fill space quick. Without Anderson, the Saints will feature Justin Cameron, Anthony Sciarrino, Jon Finn and Joe Hoscheit, who scored twice last week including the game-winner over West Aurora. "We go as Joe goes, we like to say," said Saints coach Mike Fields. They've also gone as quarterback Jimmy Mitchell to receiver Brannon Barry goes, and that duo will be challenged by St. Charles North defensive backs Nick McCullough and Jonathan Elliott. Defensively, Michael Candre is making statements for the Saints, off to their best start in four seasons and hoping to make another statement against their rival. "If we can control the line of scrimmage and make some tackles I think we'll be in good shape," Fields said. "And I think the same could be said for them."

Next week: Neuqua Valley (2-0, 0-0) at St. Charles East, Sept. 14; St. Charles North at Elgin (0-2, 0-0), Sept. 14.

Sterling (2-0) at Kaneland (2-0)

Nonconference

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Sterling 21, Curie 7; Kaneland 52, Huntley 35.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Two No. 6 teams as rated by The Associated Press: Kaneland in 6A, Sterling in 5A. In Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly's time the teams have split 1-1 -- a 52-45 double-overtime Kaneland win in the 2006 5A quarterfinals and a 23-21 loss in the first round in 2008. Kaneland is the two-time defending champion of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, same as Sterling in the West. "This'll be a good, competitive, four-quarter game," Fedderly said. The Golden Warriors run a Wing-T offense led by quarterback Tanner Morse, who according to Saukvalley.com completed 6 of 11 passes for 78 yards and ran 9 times for 40 more against Curie. Backs include 150-pound Cornell Hartz and 170-pound Draque Penaflor-Heier. "We've got to stop the run," Fedderly said. He said just that after Brooks ran for more than 300 yards in the opener and the Knights buckled down. Middle linebacker Gary Koehring, who's been everywhere these first two games, made 12 tackles plus an interception; defensive back J.R. Vest picked off 2 others. Fedderly's other request was a fast start offensively. Again the Knights obliged with a 21-7 first quarter lead, 35-7 by halftime. Kyle Pollastrini had 120 yards receiving, Zach Martinelli 98 yards and 3 touchdowns, and quarterback David Drew was 25-of-46 passing for 348 yards and ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. A pair of third-quarter Huntley interceptions applied pressure, though, and will provide more incentive to improve. "We can't be turning the ball over like we did," Fedderly said.

Next week: Rochelle (2-0) at Sterling, Sept. 14; Kaneland at Streator (0-2), Sept. 14.

Immaculate Conc. (2-0, 1-0) at Aurora Cen. Catholic (2-0, 0-0)

Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Immaculate Conception 39, Wheaton Academy 6; Aurora Central Catholic 42, Oostburg, Wis., 12.

Last year: Immaculate Conception 41, Aurora Central Catholic 0.

Outlook: Only Week 3 and this could stand as the SCC Gold championship game. Seeking greater offensive balance than last season, Chargers coach Brian Casey is pleased with his double-wing offense featuring Steven Amoni, who has run for 371 yards and 5 touchdowns, fellow tailback Brian Bohr and two quarterbacks he's comfortable with, Drake Riedy and Matt Rahn. Linebacker Steve Belovich leads with 31 tackles and defensive tackle Izzy Rosa has 8 tackles for loss. Tackling will be key for the Chargers, particularly tackling Knights quarterback Demetrius Carr, who broke a draw 71 yards to open last year's scoring. Sam Antes, Danny D'Angelo and Randy Leslie also have run for more than 100 yards, but ACC can't get lulled to sleep by the veer when receiver Tim Hipskind averages 28 yards a catch. IC's lopsided 2011 win was aided by an interception and fumble recovery on two of ACC's first three possessions. That has yet to be an issue for ACC. "We've only turned it over once," coach Brian Casey said.

Next week: St. Edward (1-1, 0-1) at Immaculate Conception, Sept. 14; Aurora Central Catholic at Chicago Christian (1-1, 0-0), Sept. 14.

Walther Lutheran (0-2, 0-0) at Aurora Christian (2-0, 1-0)

Suburban Christian Conference

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Phillips 32, Walther Lutheran 29; Aurora Christian 42, St. Edward 10.

Last year: Aurora Christian 48, Walther Lutheran 6.

Outlook: An indication of the prowess of The Associated Press' No. 1 team in Class 3A is despite 4 red zone interceptions Aurora Christian still led St. Edward 21-7 at halftime. Improvements in defensive reads and decisions are thus a focus against Aurora Christian's former Private School League rival. One thing Walther coach Bruce Tuomi has consistently is athletes like running back Justin Tolbert and running back-receivers Brett Willis and especially Najee Toomer. "How he goes we're going to go," Tuomi said of Toomer. Walther just doesn't have enough of them, especially on the line. Aurora Christian's offensive line may open up big holes for the likes of Joel Bouagnon and Brandon Mayes, who last week ran for 144 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass on defense. Defensive backs and outside linebackers such as Noah Roberts, Ryan Suttle and Legend Smith must be on their game, but this could be a good outing for defensive linemen like Jonah Walker, Jon Czerwinski and Josh Kok, who made 9 tackles last week. Should Aurora Christian start strong, Walther may not respond well. The Eagles intend to start strong. "No matter how long we play them," Eagles coach Don Beebe said, "they're an archrival."

Next week: Walther Lutheran at Guerin (1-1, 0-0), Sept. 15; Aurora Christian at Wheaton Academy (0-2, 0-1), Sept. 14.

Marmion (0-2, 0-0) at St. Edward (1-1, 0-1)

Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Fenwick 16, Marmion 6; Aurora Christian 42, St. Edward 10.

Last year: Marmion 38, St. Edward 6.

Outlook: Against Genoa-Kingston in Week 1, St. Edward back Davontae Elam ran for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Aurora Christian held him to 55 yards on 13 carries and 1 touchdown last week. Marmion needs a similar defensive effort. Having played Jacobs and Fenwick the last two weeks, Cadets coach Dan Thorpe hopes his team has been prepared for a physical confrontation against the likes of Green Wave offensive tackles Nick Plazewski (6-3, 250) and Pat Berlin (6-4, 240). Plugging gaps will fall to defensive linemen Matt Smith, Mike Hughes, Alex Fritz and Joe Talbot. It will help Marmion linebackers Mike Montalbano and Sam Breen that linebacker Cody Snodgrass returns from illness that's held him out the first two games. Also a fullback, the bruising Snodgrass will provide more options to an offense that thus far has been led by quarterbacks Charlie Faunce and Brock Krueger and running back Jordan Glasgow, who 205 yards rushing. Thorpe seeks big plays and consistency on both sides of the ball. "We'll see if a difficult nonconference schedule is the right way to go," he said.

Next week: Marian Central (2-0, 0-0) at Marmion, Sept. 14; St. Edward at Immaculate Conception (2-0, 1-0), Sept. 14.

Wheaton Warrenville S. (0-2, 0-0) at West Aurora (2-0, 0-0)

DuPage Valley Conference

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Maine South 19, WW South 13; St. Charles East 26, West Aurora 21.

Last year: WW South 20, West Aurora 6.

Outlook: WW South opened the season against The Associated Press' No. 1 team in Class 7A (Glenbard West) and No. 2 team in 8A (Maine South), so giddiness about the state power's winless record is unfounded. The Tigers were 0-2 when these teams met last year. Still, West Aurora held a 6-0 third-quarter lead over WW South, a far cry from the Blackhawks' 42-6 loss of 2010 or the 61-0 wipeout of 2009. "I think our kids may have a little more confidence than they have in the past because we've proved we could play with them," said West Aurora coach Nate Eimer. Confident, yes; cocky, no. West hasn't beaten WW South since it joined the DVC in 1997. Its last win came in 1987, 19-7 over then-Wheaton Central; the Blackhawks' last home win over the Tigers was in 1969. Anything is possible, though, when receive Cole Childs is on the field. Quarterback Quintez Jones has hit Childs on 12 of 16 passes thrown to him for 243 yards, 6 touchdowns. Now to get Aaron Kennebrew, Tony Oros and Spencer Thomas in on the action. The crux will be up front, establishing the line offensively and getting Trevon Williams, Jakilo Lee, Jeremiah Gaines and the defensive line to hold ground so linebacker Matt Williams can stuff Tigers quarterback Ryan Graham off tackle. Though WW South receiver Corey Davis is outstanding, Eimer said: "I would assume they're going to come right out and try to pound us."

Next week: Naperville North (1-1, 0-0) at WW South, Sept. 14; West Aurora at Naperville Central (0-2, 0-0), Sept. 14.

Burlington Central (1-1) at Rockford Christian (0-2)

Game time: today at 7 p.m.

Last week: Stillman Valley 40, Burlington Central 6; Mendota 35, Rockford Christian 27

Last year: did not play

Outlook: The Rockets are not in a particularly enviable spot. Third-year quarterback Ryan Ritchie will not play this week due to a leg injury, coach Rich Crabel said. Since the team's second-string quarterback dislocated his thumb in practice last week, the Rockets turned to third-string quarterback Tyler Majewski to finish the Stillman Valley game. He'll get the start this week. The Rockets will also be without tight end/defensive end Carter Muehling (6-4, 210) due to the concussion he sustained last week. "Tyler will do just fine," Crabel said. "It won't be quite the same, but he runs the offense well." The Central defensive secondary will get another test against the Royal Lions, who play their first conference game as the newest member of the Big Northern East. Rockford Christian likes to throw the ball to its tall receivers. They led both Winnebago and Mendota before fading in both games. The school does not have a lower level program, so the varsity is manned by approximately 40 players of all four grade levels. "Their first two losses came down to playing so many kids both ways," Crabel said. "We expect them to bring a lot of people up front to make it so we're not able to do some things." Translation: Crabel expects Rockford Christian's defense to load up the box to stop the run, thereby forcing Majewski into passing situations.

Next week: Burlington Central at Harvard; Rockford Christian at Genoa-Kingston

East Aurora (0-2) at Bartlett (1-1)

Game time: today at 7:30 at Millennium Field

Last week: Bartlett 49, Elgin 7; Yorkville 41, East Aurora 6

Last year: Bartlett 59, East Aurora 0

Outlook: After being shut out in the opener, Bartlett exploded for 42 first-half points. Senior tailback Aaron Everson raced for 269 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Hawks are trying to bring sophomore quarterback Jordan Flint along slowly, sticking mostly to the running game, which was the basic game plan anyway prior to the season-ending injury to senior quarterback Steve Hrbacek. Flint's only pass attempt was an incompletion "Right now we're developing our running game and we'll advance to the passing game," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "Everson played just a half and did really well. It always helps to get on the winning side of things. This group really worked hard this week. I think we've turned the corner." Everson and Co. could do more damage this week. East Aurora's defense has yielded 558 rushing yards and 100 points in two outings against West Aurora and Yorkville. However, first-year Tomcats coach Kurt Becker, an offensive lineman for the Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, has some offensive weapons at his disposal. Junior tailback Jamaria Littleton rushed for 113 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown, in the season opener against West Aurora. Sophomore quarterback David Fonseco threw his first touchdown pass last week against Yorkville. Four sophomores 17 juniors are on the 32-man East Aurora roster. "They are a fairly young team, but that (Littleton) can do some things. The quarterback is only a sophomore, but they have a bright future there."

Next: Bartlett at Metea Valley; South Elgin at East Aurora

Neuqua Valley (2-0, 0-0) at South Elgin (1-1, 0-0) Upstate Eight Valley

Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Neuqua Valley 41, Naperville Central 28; Benet 35, South Elgin 21.

Last year: Neuqua Valley 35, South Elgin 21.

Outlook: Neuqua cannot let down after last week's emotional win. South Elgin coach Dale Schabert, whose team beat Downers Grove South 48-35 in Week 1, lost tailback-defensive back Jeff Broger, an all-state sprinter, to a hamstring strain against Benet. Schabert has said Broger will return against Neuqua. Without him last week Storm quarterback Rob Cuda went to the air 52 times with 26 completions and 14 of them to 6-foot-3 receiver Joe Crivolio. While hard-hitting Neuqua defensive backs like Dennis Thurow and Spencer Donahue line up Crivolio, South Elgin linebackers Nate Marotta and Chris Bingham have the primary responsibility of stopping Wildcats tailback Joey Rhattigan, who has run for 418 yards and 5 touchdowns. Keeping the Storm honest will be the combination of quarterback Dylan Andrew and receiver Mikey Dudek, timed at 4.40 in the 40 at Illinois. "We hope that we can grind it out a little bit," said Neuqua coach Bill Ellinghaus.

Next week: Neuqua Valley at St. Charles East; South Elgin at East Aurora.

Waubonsie Valley (2-0) at Streamwood (1-1)

Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The quick hit: Waubonsie tailback Austin Guido is quick out of the gate with 491 yards, 6 touchdowns. Dylan Warden has completed 17 of 26 passes for 277 yards, 4 touchdowns. Throw in Warriors tight end Troy Fumagalli and the Sabres will have their hands full.

Wheaton Academy (0-2, 0-0) at Montini (1-1, 0-0)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Wheaton Academy's John Gemmel, Nate Lopez and Matt Lindsay definitely are game, but many two-way starters go up against the three-time state champions. Montini may lack as many as four ailing starters, but on the line it's healthy and huge.

Chicago Christian (1-1, 0-0) at St. Francis (2-0, 0-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at College of DuPage.

The quick hit: Receiver Andrew Brundage emerged as a big-play man with 2 touchdown catches in St. Francis' 28-21 win over Vernon Hills. The Spartans' feisty Alex Alcantara, John Vargyas and Jack Rowan will give SCC foe Chicago Christian all sorts of trouble.

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