Genoa-Kingston (2-2, 2-0) at Burlington Central (3-1, 2-0)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill
Last year: Burlington Central 33, Genoa-Kingston 0
Last week: Burlington Central 21, Harvard 9; Genoa-Kingston 37, Rockford Christian 7
Outlook: Two key pieces of Central's offense are expected to return from injury in time for this battle between the last two undefeated teams in the Big Northern East. Senior quarterback Ryan Ritchie, who was hurt early in the Week 2 Stillman Valley game, was cleared last Friday and will play. Tyler Majewski did an admirable job in his place for three weeks, including a 10-for-12 performance against Harvard. Having Ritchie back means Majewski can resume his normal position at wide receiver. Tight end Carter Muelling (6-foot-5) has missed some time but practiced in pads Wednesday and is expected to play, according to coach Rich Crabel. Majewski and Muelling only add to an already deep group of receivers, led by senior flanker Joe Breeden (15 rec., 153 yards, 3 TD). The threat of Ritchie's arm could open up more room for tailbacks Riley Marino (36 carries, 256 yards, 2 TD) and Trevor Davison (29-164-3). Genoa-Kingston commanded the league's attention by beating Richmond-Burton 24-20 earlier this season, thereby snapping the three-time defending champs' 19-game BNE winning streak. "They have a pretty good running game, but there are some things we can do offensively," Crabel said. "We got a pretty good scout on them and we've had a pretty good, focused week of preparation even with all the distractions this week that come with homecoming. I expect good things from us."
Next: Burlington Central at Marengo; Genoa-Kingston at Winnebago
Aurora Central Catholic (3-1) atSt. Edward (1-3)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Greg True Field
Last meeting (2010):St. Edward 31, Aurora Central 0
Last week: Immaculate Conception 49, St. Edward 22; Aurora Central 59, Chicago Christian 19
Outlook: The Green Wave playoff hopes were dealt a blow last week with the loss at IC, but they aim to get back on the winning track and end a 3-game skid. St. Edward will don special uniforms for the occasion, similar to Ohio State's special gray uniforms of a year ago but with gray camouflage piping and numbers. Coach Mike Rolando, who designed the look, hopes the new threads inspire his team to sew up a victory on homecoming night. "It's a question of whether we're going to bury our head in the sand or show pride in front of the alumni who helped build the program through some rough years," Rolando said. "A couple of our graduates may have some words for our players before the game to remind them what they're fighting for, where this program has been and how far we've come." A persistent flu bug is still complicating matters. Running back Devontae Elam will be a game day decision, Rolando said. He was ill this week and held out of most practices. Four starters in total are trying to shake the bug and play in this Suburban Christian Conference crossover. St. Edward needs its lineup intact to deal with the Chargers, who also lost to IC by a lopsided margin in Week 3. Senior running back Steven Amoni leads ACC with 68 carries for 708 yards and 7 touchdowns. "They've beaten some decent teams and they lost to IC by about the same margin we did. It's going to be a matter of who's going to come to play."
Next: St. Edward at Chicago Christian; Walther Lutheran at Aurora Central
Grayslake North (3-1, 1-0) at Hampshire (2-2, 1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Hampshire athletic field
Last year: Grayslake North 49, Hampshire 22
Last week: Cary-Grove 49, Hampshire 13; Grayslake North 41, Johnsburg 7
Outlook: Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh wants to see his team get back to the progress it was making before last week's decisive loss to Cary-Grove, one of the top-ranked teams in Class 7A. "Cary-Grove was Cary-Grove, but we're looking to build on what we had going before," Cavanaugh said. "We want to continue to build and get better offensively, defensively and fundamentally and get back to the basics." As Jacobs found out two weeks ago, the basics of this matchup come down to stopping dynamic Grayslake North playmaker A.J. Fish, who directed a 56-point attack against the Golden Eagles. The Whip-Purs know Fish all too well. Last year in Grayslake he burned Hampshire for then-school records of 417 yards passing and 5 touchdowns on 23-of-31 passing. "It's no secret he makes them good so you have to key on Fish and keep him from getting the big play," Cavanaugh said. "Easier said than done. He's not the only weapon. They have a nice running back to go along with him and a couple of nice receivers. We've got to be able to control the ball for a good portion of the game." The Whips have a talented quarterback of their own in senior Kyle Anderson, also a safety. He has completed 20 of 46 attempts for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns (3 interceptions). Anderson has also rushed for 221 yards and 3 scores on 31 carries. Senior Phil Lapointe leads the team in rushing (53-251-5 TD), supported by senior Tyler Crater (35-210-3).
Next: Hampshire at Johnsburg; Woodstock at Grayslake North
Jacobs (3-1, 1-0) at Cary-Grove (4-0, 1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field
Last year: Jacobs 28, Cary-Grove 20
Last week: Jacobs 49, McHenry 42; Cary-Grove 49, Hampshire 13
Outlook: Jacobs coach Bill Mitz knows what it takes to slow the Cary-Grove offense, which hasn't changed much since 2004, when son Brian Mitz quarterbacked the Trojans. A longtime Cary resident, the Jacobs coach said Cary-Grove senior fullback Kyle Norberg is the key to the game, followed by senior quarterback Quinn Baker. Norberg has rushed for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in 50 attempts (6-yard avg.). Baker has kept 65 times for 406 yards and 8 touchdowns. "We've got to stop Norberg first, then stop Baker," Mitz said. "That's not so easy since they are great players. That's how they've been since I first became friends with (former Cary-Grove coach) Bruce (Kay). Stop the fullback and the quarterback if you can and they're going to be in for a long night." The Jacobs defense hasn't had much luck lately, allowing over 1,000 total yards in its last two games. Cary-Grove running back Ryan Mahoney remains out of action this week due to a high-ankle sprain, but he could return for homecoming in two weeks, coach Brad Seaburg said. A more recent concern is replacing sophomore lineman Michael Gomez (5-11, 273), who started last year as a freshman. He has a fractured leg but could possibly return in four to six weeks if pending MRI results are favorable. Junior Nick Nibungco (5-11, 237) replaced Gomez when he was injured against Hampshire and will get the start against Jacobs. The Cary-Grove defense will be tested by a Jacobs offense that boasts senior fullback Steven Varela and junior quarterback Brett Mooney. Varela powered Jacobs to a win over McHenry by rushing 37 times for 167 yards and 4 touchdowns, upping his 4-game totals to 441 yards and 9 touchdowns. Mooney has completed 47 of 90 pass attempts for 738 yards and 8 touchdowns (4 ints.). "They definitely have skill," Seaburg said. "Mooney is another guy who jumps out on film with his ability to throw the ball. He obviously has a pretty good arm. It'll be a challenge with their athletes on the perimeter." Something has to give: Cary-Grove's defense is limiting opponents to 221 yards per game; the Jacobs offense leads the area with an average of 394 yards per outing.
Next: Huntley at Jacobs; Cary-Grove at McHenry
Dundee-Crown (3-1, 1-1) at Huntley (2-2, 2-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Huntley athletic field
Last year: Huntley 33, Dundee-Crown 14
Last week: Dundee-Crown 35, Prairie Ridge 21; Huntley 20, Crystal Lake South 19
Outlook: Huntley's homecoming will be a lot more enjoyable if the Red Raiders exit the field with a hold on first place. Dundee-Crown aims to spoil the party. Each upwardly mobile team needs a win to solidify its position in the FVC Valley's upper echelon. Huntley's task is to stop D-C junior fullback Cody Lane (74 carries, 633 yards, 12 TD) and senior wingback JT Beasley (30-344-6). "Their fullback is as good a football player as you'll see," Huntley coach John Hart said. "He's a heck of a football player. And the slot player (Beasley) is a tough matchup. And their coaching staff does a great job; they don't ever leave him in one place, so it's not like you can put your cover corner on that guy. You can't assign a linebacker to him because he's too fast, so he becomes a tough matchup. And their tight end (Nick Lodi) is a really unsung player. I think he's really, really good. Throw those three dymanics together ... they become really tough matchups and odd matchups." Huntley's defense has allowed 326 total yards per game, while the Dundee-Crown offense gains an average of 345. The Huntley offense averages 293 yards; D-C's defense limits teams to 287 yards. "I think both offenses are a little better than both defenses," Dundee-Crown coach Vito Andriola said. "We gave up 21 points last week, but that was partly because we didn't play very good special teams. That has to change." Huntley is led offensively by quarterback Kameron Sallee, a double threat. The senior has rushed for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns in 46 attempts and has completed 37 of 88 attempts for 584 yards and 8 touchdowns (7 ints.). Sallee's top target is senior Bryce Beschorner, who leads the area with 23 catches for 405 yards and 6 scores. Expect each opportunistic defense to go for the ball. D-C leads the area in turnovers (plus 7); Huntley is second (plus 4).
Next: Dundee-Crown at Woodstock North; Huntley at Jacobs
McHenry (2-2, 1-1) at Crystal Lake South (1-3, 0-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Ken Bruhn Field
Last year: Crystal Lake South 45, McHenry 6
Last week: Huntley 20, Crystal Lake South 19; Jacobs 49, McHenry 42
Outlook: The two-time FVC Valley champion Gators are in an unaccustomed spot: winless in the division after 2 games. In order to get in the victory column, CL South must contain a McHenry offense averaging 42.5 points per game behind fullback John Konstantelos, tailback Jesse Guajardo and quarterback Kyle Snedeker. "Their fullback is a good runner and carries the majority of the time," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "We certainly have to stop him and force them to throw, but I've been impressed with how accurate their quarterback throws the ball. It's not the old McHenry where you just had to stop the wing-T. Our defense has actually played pretty well. We just have to eliminate the big play." The Gators hope to make a solid showing offensively against the Warriors, who allow 34.3 points per game. The CL South offense is led by Austin Rogers. The quarterback has rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown in 35 tries and has thrown for 172 yards and a touchdown on 19-of-43 passing. "He has done great things for us at quarterback," Ahsmann said. "He can make some big plays. Overall, we're struggling. We've got to get things back on pace. We've played a great schedule to start the year. It's getting down to crunch time so we have to perform and stop hurting ourselves with penalties."
Next: Crystal Lake South at Prairie Ridge; Cary-Grove at McHenry
Streamwood (1-3, 0-1) at Larkin (2-2, 1-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field
Last year: Streamwood 22, Larkin 12
Last week: Batavia 33, Streamwood 0; Geneva 56, Larkin 23
Outlook: These UEC River Division rivals both need a win after lopsided losses. Streamwood has dropped 3 straight while Larkin saw its 2-game winning streak ended last week by Geneva. The Sabres were shut out the last two weeks by Waubonsie Valley and Batavia, but could gain better traction against a Larkin defense allowing averages of 305 yards and 34 points per game. "There's been such a disconnect the last couple weeks," Streamwood coach Cal Cummins said of the offense. "The opponents we played and some of the injuries we've had played a role I in that, but we just have not functioned well. Knock on wood, we've been a little more consistent in practice this week. We have to pull it together and get back to what we were doing. They've had their struggles like we have. I think it will be a pretty good game." A win against Streamwood would keep the Royals in the thick of the UEC River race. "Our goals still haven't changed," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. "If we wind up winning this game and beating Batavia next week, we could still be in first place in the conference. Those are high goals, but we're still in it. We just have to take care of business. Our biggest thing is we rally are not very healthy right now." Scianna said everyone will "suit up" but some positions jostling may occur depending on how certain players react in game action. Larkin's offense remains potent, led by senior tailback Mo Jackson (49 carries, 322 yards, 7 TD) and junior Damion Clemons (30-273-2). The Royals average 346 yards and 26.8 points per game. Scianna, a Streamwood graduate, played his high school football alongside the fathers of current Sabres Austin Mugnai (Tony Mugnai) and Mason and Noah Polich (Matt Polich).
Next: St. Charles North at Streamwood; Larkin at Batavia
Waubonsie Valley (4-0, 1-0) at Bartlett (3-1, 2-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last year: Bartlett 27, Waubonsie Valley 20
Last week: Bartlett 47, Metea Valley 27; Waubonsie Valley 49, Lake Park 28
Outlook: The most important game of the UEC Valley season thus far pits the two-time defending champion Hawks against undefeated Waubonsie Valley. Bartlett's only loss came in the season opener against state-ranked Wheaton North. The Hawks have since run roughshod over three opponents, led by a running game that leads the area with 1,053 yards. An improving offensive line that returned only one starter has paved the way for senior tailback Aaron Everson, who leads the area in rushing (842 yards) and touchdowns (16). Bartlett scores 40.8 points per game, while Waubonsie Valley's defense limits opponents to 17.5 points. The Warriors were generally perceived to be the preseason favorite to win the Valley Division, but the Hawks can maintain their position as the division power if they can find a way to hold down the explosive Warrior offense, which has posted a league-best 193 points in four victories over Naperville Central (2-2), Oswego (3-1), Streamwood (1-3) and Lake Park (2-2). The fact that the Warriors haven't even gone deep in the playbook yet complicates the task of stopping an offense that boasts dual-threat quarterback Dylan Warden and 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end Troy Fumagalli, who recently committed to Wisconsin. "We have so many weapons that we have stuff in the bag that we haven't even pulled out yet," Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said last week after the Warriors scored 49 points against Lake Park. It will be up to Bartlett defensive end Chris Kantzavelos (Central Michigan), third-year linebacker Kevin Kirchhoff and secondary ball hawks Nick Garcia and Nick Andreucetti to put the clamps on the Warriors. Garcia picked off 3 passes last week in a win at Metea Valley.
Next: Lake Park at Bartlett; South Elgin at Waubonsie Valley
St. Charles East (2-2, 1-0) at Elgin (0-4, 0-2)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Field
Last year: St. Charles East 10, Elgin 0
Last week: Neuqua Valley 34, St. Charles East 0; St. Charles North 49, Elgin 0
Outlook: The Maroons hope the Memorial Field magic extends beyond the pregame ceremony planned in honor of the facility's 50th anniversary, which includes an open invitation to all area veterans to attend for free and enjoy a complimentary lunch in a designated area in the south end zone. The Maroons have struggled offensively. With multiple key players competing on both sides of the ball, Elgin has managed only 179.5 yards per game and 31 total points. A bright spot has been junior Jaylen Clemons, who has rushed for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns on 55 carries (5.9 avg.). Defensively, the Maroons have been unable to slow opposing offenses. Elgin has allowed 192 points in 4 games.
Next: Geneva at St. Charles East; Elgin at East Aurora
Metea Valley (1-3, 0-2) at South Elgin (2-2, 1-1)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at South Elgin Stadium
Last year: South Elgin 33, Metea Valley 0
Last week: South Elgin 41, East Aurora 6; Bartlett 47, Metea Valley 27
Outlook: South Elgin intends to maintain a balanced offensive attack now that senior tailback Jeff Broger is healthy and in the lineup. Broger played last week after missing most of the previous two games due to a leg strain. He got his feet wet last week by rushing for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns on 7 carries against East Aurora. Without him, the Storm were a one-dimensional passing team that faced as many as eight defenders dropping into coverage against junior quarterback Robert Cuda. Nevertheless, Cuda leads Fox Valley area quarterbacks with 820 passing yards. He has completed 68 of 123 attempts (55.3 percent), including 5 touchdowns. "We've got to see it," South Elgin coach Dale Schabert said of a more balanced attack. "We're still progressing. (Broger's injury) forced us to be more one-sided for a while, but I was proud of the offense for still having some success in the meantime. They were putting up yards and points even though teams were dropping so many back into coverage." The Storm outgains its opponents by an average of 357 yards to 297. The South Elgin defense is tasked with limiting Metea Valley tailback Cameron Wilcox has rushed 100 times for 492 yards and 5 touchdowns. "He runs a very good draw and a little cutback trap like he invented it," Schabert said. "They block it and he runs it. Those two plays have all our attention." The Storm counter with linebackers Nate Marotta, Chris Bingham, Brad Simmons and Dalton Garland. South Elgin wide receiver Joe Crivolio leads a talented group of receivers with 26 receptions for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. Junior Tyler Christensen has 9 catches for 177 yards and 3 scores.
Next: South Elgin at Waubonsie Valley; Neuqua Valley at Metea Valley