Hampshire (2-3, 1-1) at Johnsburg (0-5, 0-3)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Hampshire 27, Johnsburg 26
Last week: Grayslake North 54, Hampshire 22; Grayslake Central 29, Johnsburg 12
Outlook: Six turnovers short-circuited Hampshire's offense and put its defense in precarious situations last week. The Whip-Purs have surrendered 9 more turnovers than they've forced. "We've got to work on taking care of the ball; that has to be a priority," coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "Not shooting ourselves in the foot should translate to more points." Hampshire center Nick DeNardo is expected to miss a second straight game due to pneumonia. Senior Phil LaPointe leads the team in rushing (67-313-4.7 avg.) and touchdowns (7). The Whips' lone win a year ago came against the Skyhawks, who enter this Fox Valley Fox Division contest on a 17-game losing streak dating back to Week 7 of the 2010 season. On a two-game skid themselves, the Whip-Purs won't take this opponent lightly. "They've got some good size on that team," Cavanaugh said. "From what I've seen on film, they move the ball real well and their sophomore quarterback handles things. I'd like to see us get back on track. We have to get back to playing good defense and build on our offense."
Next: Woodstock at Hampshire; Johnsburg at McHenry
Burlington Central (4-1, 3-0) at Marengo (1-4, 0-3)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rod Poppe Field
Last year: Burlington Central 55, Marengo 3
Last week: Burlington Central 26, Genoa-Kingston 14; Harvard 10, Marengo 6
Outlook: Quarterback Ryan Ritchie underwent surgery this week for a torn thumb ligament. Whether he can return this season in a cast at another position has yet to be determined. Capable senior Tyler Majewski will again take over as signal caller. In three games subbing for Ritchie this season, he has completed 24 of 34 attempts for 231 yards with 1 touchdown pass and 1 interception. "We miss a little athletically there, but Tyler does a really nice job running the offense," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "Unfortunately, it also takes him away from playing that receiver spot and he's played some cornerback, too." The Rockets have dominated the series against the Indians, winning the last 7 straight meetings. Central will look to stop Marengo senior running back John Lesiak in order to remain unbeaten in Big Northern East play. "He's going to draw a lot of our attention," Crabel said. "We'll be pretty focused on him."
Next: Richmond-Burton at Burlington Central; Marengo at Stillman Valley
St. Edward (1-4) at Chicago Christian (2-3)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting (2010): St. Edward 28, Chicago Christian 6
Last week: Aurora Central Catholic 25, St. Edward 7; Chicago Christian 21, Guerin 0
Outlook: St. Edward seeks to end a 4-game losing streak by stopping Chicago Christian's spread passing offense. The Green Wave have shown a vulnerability to the deep pass this season. "For us to be successful, we have to have as few guys in the box as we can to put more defensive backs in to stop the pass," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "Obviously, we've shown our weakness there the last couple of weeks, so we hope to stop the run with fewer guys." Offensively, the Wave could get a breakout game from junior Devontae Elam, who is back at full health for the first time since Week 1, his coach said. Elam has rushed for 341 yards and 7 touchdowns on 38 carries (4.7 avg.). When St. Edward quarterbacks Mikey Castoro and sophomores Bryan O'Neill and Joe Mullen do throw the ball, the top target has been 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior Andrew Yarwood. He is the area's fourth-leading receiver with 15 catches for 230 yards and 4 touchdowns. No matter the method, the Wave crave their first victory in over a month. "It's not sitting real well right now with me or the kids," Rolando said of the losing streak. "We're not looking for excuses; we just want to hang our hat on a win. The kids were very disappointed with their game on Friday. It was a shock to their system. That's good because you have to hate losing to become a real winner."
Next: St. Edward at Wheaton Academy; Walther Lutheran at Chicago Christian
Dundee-Crown (3-2) at Woodstock North (3-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Woodstock North 25, Dundee-Crown 6
Last week: Huntley 31, Dundee-Crown 28; Woodstock North 28, Woodstock 23
Outlook: Dundee-Crown resumes its playoff push in the second of three straight road games. The Thunder qualified for the playoffs last year and are again in the hunt. If D-C can withstand Woodstock North's initial push, the Chargers could have an advantage in the second half because they play no players both ways full time. As many as nine members of the Thunder play both ways, including fullback Ryan Wade, who averages nearly 7 yards per carry. "He's a load," D-C coach Vito Andriola said. "They have a great running game and their offense has everyone back from last year. They are very well coached by Jeff Schroeder and their program is farther along right now than we are. They won't make mistakes to beat themselves." The D-C defense is limiting opponents to 167 rushing yards per game. The Chargers counter offensively with running backs Cody Lane (101 carries, 795 yards, 14 TD), JT Beasley (38-341-6) and TJ Moss (30-210-1). Quarterback Garrett Ryan has completed 27 of 48 attempts for 433 yards and 2 touchdowns. Turnover ratio remains a Dundee-Crown strength. The defense has forced 11 turnovers while the offense has given the ball up only 3 times.
Next: Dundee-Crown at Crystal Lake South; Woodstock North at Grayslake Central
Crystal Lake South (2-3, 1-2) at Prairie Ridge (2-3, 0-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Prairie Ridge 41, CL South 16
Last week: CL South 28, McHenry 12; CL Central 7, Prairie Ridge 3
Outlook: The Gators got their offense going against McHenry last week with 323 rushing yards. Senior tailback Zevin Clark carried 27 times for 131 yards and a touchdown, and junior quarterback Austin Rogers rushed for 75 yards, highlighted by a tackle-breaking, stiff-arming, 44-yard scoring run on 4th-and-1. Prairie Ridge has won the last two meetings, including a state quarterfinal tilt in 2010. The banged-up Wolves have dropped their last three outings against Huntley (3-2), Dundee-Crown (3-2) and Crystal Lake Central (4-1), but anything can happen in a town rivalry game. "They took a good (Crystal Lake) Central team right to the last minute last week," wary CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "I think we need to do more of the same thing. We want to play solid defense and eliminate the big play. On offense we want to grind the ball out a little bit and throw when we want to throw." The Gators committed 4 turnovers last week, partly the result of players still gaining experience, Ahsmann said. Nick Gardeck leads the CL South defense with 2 interceptions.
Next: Dundee-Crown at CL South; Jacobs at Prairie Ridge
Huntley (3-2, 3-0) at Jacobs (3-2, 1-1)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Jacobs 48, Huntley 19
Last week: Huntley 31, Dundee-Crown 28; Cary-Grove 45, Jacobs 14;
Outlook: This Fox Valley Conference rivalry game pits Valley Division-leading Huntley against a Jacobs squad eager to pull off a homecoming victory. Huntley's has won 3 straight division games behind an offense that has scored 26 points or more in 4 of 5 outings with a balance between the run (731 yards) and pass (693). Jacobs has been vulnerable of late, allowing 143 points in ints last 3 games. The Golden Eagles hope to fortify the defensive unit with some personnel changes made during a spirited week of practice. "We'll find out Friday night if it benefits us or not," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said of the changes. "We've challenged kids this week with our tackling and our coverages. We can't be giving up points like that. I can't handle it." This contest has the makings of a high-scoring affair. Defensively, the Red Raiders allow averages of 26.6 points and 331 yards per game, which doesn't bode well against a Jacobs offense averaging 32 points and 392 yards. The Eagles are led by smooth-throwing junior quarterback Bret Mooney. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound signal caller has completed 65 of 128 attempts for 991 yards. He has thrown 8 touchdowns and been intercepted 6 times. "They have a really, really special trigger guy," Huntley coach John Hart said. "He's the best quarterback we've gone against this year. He can make any throw and launch it any way -- on the run, backpedaling. Offensively, they're a huge challenge."
Next: Huntley at Cary-Grove; Jacobs at Prairie Ridge
Cary-Grove (5-0, 2-0) at McHenry (2-3, 1-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at McCracken Field
Last year: Cary-Grove 56, McHenry 13
Last week: Cary-Grove 45, Jacobs 14; Crystal Lake South 28, McHenry 12
Outlook: The No. 6 team in the Class 7A Associated Press poll takes to the road for the third time this season. Despite injuries in recent weeks to key lineman Michael Gomez and their fastest offensive weapon, senior back Ryan Mahoney, the Trojans and their flexbone triple-option offense showed no signs of wear in rushing for over 500 yards last week. "If we have to establish the run like we have in previous games and continue to execute our passing game, the points and the scoreboard will take care of themselves," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. Senior fullback Kyle Norberg leads the Trojans with 63 carries for 575 yards and 7 touchdowns. He exploded for 275 yards and 3 scores a week ago. Senior quarterback Quinn Baker has rushed 83 times for 511 yards and 9 touchdowns. His passing touch continues to improve, as demonstrated by a 41-yard scoring strike last week to senior Zach Marszal (5 rec., 107 yards). Baker has thrown for 349 yards and 4 touchdowns on 15-of-39 passing, and he has been intercepted only once. The offense is averaging 36.2 points and 396 yards per game. Defensively, the Trojans picked off 2 passes last week. The 3-3 hybrid defense is allowing only 13.8 points and 264 yards weekly. They'll face a McHenry offense led by quarterback Kyle Snedeker that averages 36.4 points per outing. "What stands out is how well (Snedeker) executes throwing the ball," Seaburg said. "Their 3-step game is very tough and their play-action game is solid. There's something to be said for a quarterback when he can hit open guys in stride. We've got to put pressure on their quarterback." That assignment falls to senior defensive linemen Patrick O'Malley and Mickey Duncan (6-3, 225), among others.
Next: Huntley at Cary-Grove; Johnsburg at McHenry
St. Charles North (2-3, 2-1) at Streamwood (2-3, 1-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last year: Streamwood 35, St. Charles North 9
Last week: St. Charles North 25, Geneva 6; Streamwood 27, Larkin 0
Outlook: Streamwood's offense made progress last week against Larkin with 2 touchdowns and 228 total yards, and NIU recruit Blake Holder returned a punt 75 yards for a score. The defense played a big role in a victory that ended a 3-game slide by limiting the Royals to 252 yards. Senior Austin Mugnai picked off 3 passes and returned one of them 50 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. A Streamwood team that averages 14.4 points and 199.4 yards offensively per game goes against a St. Charles North squad that holds opponents to averages of 14.6 points and 296 yards. The North Stars aim to even their record with their third straight victory. They are led offensively by senior George Edlund (63 carries, 254 yards, 3 TD) and senior quarterback Ryan Fischbach, who has completed 18 of 37 attempts for 445 yards and 4 touchdowns. His top targets are senior Zach Kirby (15 rec., 285 yards, 2 TD) and 6-foot-4 senior Ben Kaplan (9-223-2).
Next: St. Charles North at Batavia; St. Charles East at Streamwood
Larkin (2-3, 1-2) at Batavia (5-0, 2-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Batavia 50, Larkin 6
Last week: Batavia 33, Lake Park 29; Streamwood 27, Larkin 0
Outlook: The Larkin injury list is reaching critical mass. The Royals plan to dress approximately 27 players this week. Missing will be key players like quarterback Kemmerin Blalark, speedy tailback Damion Clemons, wide receiver Anthony Blalark and secondary standout J.D. Darke. Jeff Pruitt will start at quarterback. He started a few games at the junior varsity level last season. It's hardly an ideal situation entering a road game against the fifth-ranked team in Class 7A. "We're telling our other kids it's an opportunity for them to show what they can do," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. "We'll try to keep it loose like we did in practice this week, stay positive and have some fun." Batavia junior quarterback Jordan Coffey hs completed 81 of 132 pass attempts for 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns. Nine of those scores were thrown to 6-foot-4 senior receiver Zach Strittmatter. He has made 33 receptions for 516 yards. Larkin's best remaining offensive weapon is senior Mo Jackson, who has rushed for 384 yards and 7 touchdowns on 61 carries (6.3 avg.). "Unfortunately, I know those guys will be ready for him," Scianna said. "They have three or four guys on that defense who look very good. There's no weaknesses. It's gut-check time."
Next: Bartlett at Larkin; St. Charles North at Batavia
Elgin (0-5) at East Aurora (0-5)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting (2009): Elgin 20, East Aurora 19
Last week: St. Charles East 58, Elgin 14; Neuqua Valley 48, East Aurora 0
Outlook: One of these teams will end a long losing streak in this Upstate Eight Conference crossover. Elgin has dropped 13 in a row since a victory over Dundee-Crown in the 2011 season opener. East Aurora has lost 33 straight. The last time the Tomcats tasted victory was against Thornwood in Week 6 of the 2008 season. "I'm sure both programs are looking at this one as a win, but only one will get it," Elgin coach Dave Bierman said. "It's up to the players to decide which team that will be. We can't walk in there thinking it's a win." East Aurora canceled its freshman football season two weeks ago. Without a freshman game to play this week, Elgin is combining its freshman team with the sophomore team this and elevating six sophomore players to plug holes on the varsity. The Maroons will dress 27, including sophomore Dontrell Gaddy. A quarterback on the sophomore team, Gaddy will play wideout in an effort to end the epidemic of dropped passes. "It's a much better week of practices when you all the sudden add six more quality kids to the mix," Elgin coach Dave Bierman said. "We want to field the two most complete teams we can at both levels Friday night without depleting one. Penalties and dropped passes have been killing us all year, so we're hoping to see improvement there." Tailback Jaylen Clemons and wide receiver Joe DeBrocke both missed last week's game due to school-related disciplinary issues, but both are expected to return against the Tomcats.
Next: Elgin at Geneva; East Aurora at Metea Valley
South Elgin (3-2, 2-1) at Waubonsie Valley (5-0, 2-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Waubonsie Valley 32, South Elgin 8
Last week: South Elgin 28, Metea Valley 21; Waubonsie Valley 19, Bartlett 0
Outlook: The Storm take to the road to face a team ranked No. 7 in this week's Associated Press Class 8A poll on its homecoming. Waubonsie Valley, which is coming off its second shutout of the season, presents the stiffest challenge South Elgin has faced to date, according to Storm coach Dale Schabert. "Not to put anybody else down, but this is the biggest test we've had to this point," Schabert said. "Their defense is outstanding. They are fast, they get to the ball and they are very good tacklers. Offensively, they spread the field and they have some great weapons. They have some very good, explosive offensive players." One such weapon is senior running back Austin Guido. He has rushed for 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns on 117 totes. Another is 6-foot-6, Wisconsin-bound tight end Troy Fumagalli, who has 15 catches for 253 yards and 3 scores. The Warriors rush for an average of 326 yards per game. That will test a South Elgin defense that limits opponents to an average of 161 yards, led by middle linebackers Chris Bingham and Nate Marotta, each of whom picked off passes last week against Metea Valley. "We have to play a perfect game," Schabert said. "We have to put together good schemes, try to be in the right position and play hard. Our kids have the courage to lay it on the line."
Next: Lake Park at South Elgin; Waubonsie Valley at Neuqua Valley
Lake Park (2-3, 1-1) at Bartlett (3-2, 2-1)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
TV: Comcast game of the week (tape delay)
Last year: Bartlett 42, Lake Park 0
Last week: Waubonsie Valley 19, Bartlett 0; Batavia 33, Lake Park 29
Outlook: The Bartlett defense kept the Hawks within 6 points of state-ranked Waubonsie Valley until the fourth quarter last week, but the offense was unable to break through. They aim to get back on track in Saturday's homecoming matinee against the Lancers, whose 3 losses came against Conant (4-1), Waubonsie Valley (5-0) and Batavia (5-0). "Those teams they lost to are pretty good teams, so we've got our hands full," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. They're about 50-50 as far as run versus pass, but it's a heck of a passing game with two of the best receivers in the conference. Our biggest goal is to limit yards after the catch." Lake Park boasts senior receivers Kevin Teglia (30 rec., 600 yards, 11 TD) and Scott Filip (15-241-4). They combined to catch 3 touchdowns against Batavia last week, targeted by senior quarterback Zach Gehant, who has completed 60 of 105 attempts for 1,024 yards. The accurate passer has thrown 16 touchdowns and been intercepted only twice. The Bartlett defense allows only 211 yards per game. Offensively, the Hawks counter with senior tailback Aaron Everson, who has rushed for 942 yards and 16 touchdown in 119 attempts (7.9 avg.).
Next: Bartlett at Larkin; Lake Park at South Elgin