Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 8/29/2013 9:59 PM

Scouting this weekend's Tri-Cities football games

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  • Jimmy Mitchell and his St. Charles East teammates will have to wait until Saturday to make their season debut against South Elgin.

    Jimmy Mitchell and his St. Charles East teammates will have to wait until Saturday to make their season debut against South Elgin.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Patrick Kunzer/pkunzer@dailyherald.comMike Montalbano takes part during practice for Marmion Academy varsity football at the high school on Wednesday night.

    Patrick Kunzer/pkunzer@dailyherald.comMike Montalbano takes part during practice for Marmion Academy varsity football at the high school on Wednesday night.


By Dave Oberhelman

Brooks at Kaneland

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday

Last year: Kaneland 25, Brooks 24.

Outlook: What was then Kaneland's 19-game regular-season winning streak looked in serious doubt when last year at Gately Stadium Brooks took a 24-6 lead with 4:32 left in the third quarter. Two Drew David touchdown passes wrapped around a 2-yard Nate Dyer touchdown run and Kaneland was on its way its current 28-game regular-season streak. David and Dyer both return and so do a slew of other starters, which makes Kaneland the preseason No. 4 team in The Associated Press Class 5A poll. The receiver on the end of those David TD passes, Zack Martinelli, has graduated, which leaves that No. 1 wideout spot open for the likes of Dylan Nauert, a big-bodied toughie who may have a breakout season offensively. Regardless of the Knights' strength up front on both sides of the ball, turning middle linebacker Gary Koehring will have his hands full -- Brooks has a pair of running backs, Dakota Starks and Dyllan Harris, who reported to have gotten looks at Army. And though Jaumaureo Phillips and Justin Diddel both return on Kaneland's defensive front, Brooks started three juniors against them on the O-line including 305-pound Darrius Stamps.

Next week: Brooks at Oak Forest, Sept. 6; IC Catholic Prep at Kaneland, Sept. 6.

DuSable at Aurora Christian

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Aurora Christian 48, DuSable 0.

Outlook: Aurora Christian spared DuSable no quarter leading off the Eagles' second straight Class 3A state championship campaign. Returning defensive tackle Noah Walker made 9 tackles with a sack and nose tackle-linebacker Jon Czwerwinski polished off 6 Panthers as Aurora Christian allowed but 4 first downs, forced 7 three-and-outs and gave up 50 yards of offense. One might expect the same this season with the Eagles' strength up front, though the offense will have to prove itself all over again. Legend Smith, a three-year starter at cornerback, was tabbed as the go-to tailback, and he'll benefit by an immensely strong and experienced offensive line led by the likes of 254-pound Nathan Wells. Physically college-ready quarterback Austin Bray's junior film will start rolling now.

Next week: DuSable at VOISE Academy, Sept. 6; Bronzeville at Aurora Christian, Sept. 6.

Geneva at Oswego

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Oswego 47, Geneva 21.

Outlook: This game prefaced the abnormal down year for Geneva despite 143 yards rushing by since-graduated tailback Bobby Hess. Numbers that the Vikings return include junior quarterback Daniel Santacaterina's 8-of-14 passing for 105 yards with a touchdown pass to returning receiver Pace Temple; 68 yards rushing by this year's probably tailback, T.J. Miller; and 4 tackles by returning defensive end Billy Douds. But Santacaterina absorbed several sacks, and again Geneva's offensive line will be tested; Quinn Einck returns as the only starter there, and coach Rob Wicinski's probably starting group includes juniors Sean McKenzie and Joey Wagner and big sophomore Loundon Vollbreckt, 6-foot-6, 265 pounds. If they can give Santacaterina enough time to spy 6-3 Kyle Brown on the flare they Geneva may have something, but the ground game is the Vikings' preferred bread and butter. Oswego, 9-2 last year, counters with running back-linebacker Bryce Holm, reportedly committed to Illinois State. The Beacon News quoted coach Brian Cooney as saying he expects more offensive balance with sophomore Steven Frank, who has an offer from Illinois State, at quarterback.

Next week: Wheaton North at Geneva, Sept. 6; Oswego at Waubonsie Valley, Sept. 6.

Glenbard North at Batavia

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

Last year: Batavia 42, Glenbard North 41.

Outlook: After Glenbard North's tough opening loss last year -- in which graduated Batavia safety Chris Moran stuffed Gatorade Player of the Year Justin Jackson on a 2-point conversion try with 1:02 left -- Glenbard North won 12 straight games leading up to the Class 8A final. The Panthers will hit the ground running with Jackson, who rushed for 2,600 yards last season. Even with a new quarterback, Brett Gasiorowski, the bulk of the Panthers' experience is on offense. Before last year's thriller Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens voiced concern over defending Batavia's multitude of offensive options. It won't get easier with the Bulldogs returning seniors Micah Coffey and Anthony Scaccia at quarterback and running back, respectively, plus a variety of receivers such as Roarke Mullins and Michael Moffatt. This year's group could make teams guess even more than with last year's all-state receiver Zach Strittmatter. Batavia's key will be containing Jackson, who last year ran for 174 yards including a 99-yard touchdown run. Returning scant game experience at linebacker other than senior Anthony Thielk, experienced defensive linemen such as Ryan Minnitti and James Millette must keep Glenbard North's linemen from reaching the second level. Glenbard North is ranked fourth in The Associated Press Class 8A poll, Batavia unranked in 7A.

Next week: Carmel at Glenbard North; Richards at Batavia.

Oostburg, Wis. at Aurora Central Catholic

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Aurora Central Catholic 42, Oostburg 12.

Outlook: This was a Week 2 game for Aurora Central Catholic in 2012, and it gave the Chargers their second straight 2-0 start. Here are five reasons why ACC would try to pound the ball on the ground: 1) they ran for 366 yards last season against Oostburg; 2) the Chargers' double-wing is a run-first scheme; 3) quarterback Matt Rahn got injured over the summer and is out for the foreseeable future; 4) ACC returns experienced running backs Brian Bohr and Julian Rios, who each ran for at least 275 yards with 6 touchdowns in 2012; and 5) at 255 pounds, Tony Hizo is the relative lightweight on a huge offensive line that also offers 290-pounders Mikey Malawski and Eddie Gonzalez. Still this game should give new quarterback Kyle Reilly, also good-sized at 6-1 and 225 pounds, the opportunity to throw when he wants and not when he needs to.

Next week: Aurora Central Catholic at Bogan, Sept. 7.

Plainfield Central at Marmion

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

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: This is a new Week 1 foe for Marmion, which lost 35-13 to Jacobs a year ago. It pits a pair of veteran coaches against each other, the Cadets' Dan Thorpe and the Wildcats' John Jackson, a pair of double-wing offensive aficionados. With the expansion of the Plainfield area, where the Wildcats once ruled the roost, Jackson's teams have been up and down; last season they went 6-4 with huge help from huge defensive lineman Bryce Douglas, last year's Southwest Prairie Conference defensive MVP. With him out of the way, Marmion will ply its shell-game ground game behind returning linemen Zach Siwiec and Oscar Garza leading several promising juniors. Mike Montalbano, a two-way starter at linebacker and running back, figures to give featured back Jordan Glasgow a spell should he need it. Be on the lookout for Glasgow catching passes out of the backfield and for receiver Seth Sevenich, a track athlete like Montalbano, to help get senior quarterback Brock Krueger off to a good start.

Next week: Plainfield Central at St. Charles North, Sept. 6; Marmion at Ottawa, Sept. 6.

St. Charles East at South Elgin

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

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: This Upstate Eight Conference crossover could be a nice little quarterback showcase. The visiting Saints, probably glad be rid of Cary-Grove from their Week 1 slate, return Jimmy Mitchell to the spot, where he completed better than 50 percent of his deliveries. Mitchell returns a receiver in Brannon Barry who is ranked 71st in the Class of 2014 by "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran of (New varsity receivers Mo Flanigan and 6-4 A.J. Washington may help out.) The Saints hope to keep senior running back Erik Anderson healthy after he missed the first four games last season. South Elgin was always known as a passing team under now-retired Dale Schabert, and they shouldn't change now that one of his former receivers, Patrik Pistorio, is at the helm. Also, because he returns a Daily Herald Fox Valley All-Area pick in quarterback Robert Cuda, who threw for 1,711 yards and 20 touchdowns (but 12 interceptions). St. Charles East isn't big up front -- starting tackle Brennan Bosch and junior defensive lineman Zach Reyes head the roster each at 250 pounds -- and the line must hold off Storm tight-end linebacker Nate Marotta. But tall Saints defenders like 6-3 defensive end Luke Spicer may give Cuda troubles of his own. Conditioning will be tested due to the time of day.

Next week: Jacobs at St. Charles East, Sept. 6; South Elgin at Benet, Sept. 6.

St. Charles North at Elk Grove

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Should be a very interesting game, with new St. Charles North Rob Pomazak taking the North Stars into battle against the program for which he served as defensive coordinator. He's very familiar with Elk Grove three-year starting quarterback Adam O'Malley, named MVP of Wheaton Warrenville South's 7-on-7 competition this summer. He'll target the aptly named 6-3 receiver, John Pass, as well as Western Illinois commit Mike Bishoff and several others in the spread offense. St. Charles North's Garrett Johnson, at defensive end, will put the rush on O'Malley, and is one of two Division I North Stars recruits along with tackle Chase Gianacakos. A pair of North Stars legacy players, linebackers Jordan Bergren and Carson Schmitt, look to knock down passes and corral Elk Grove back Travon Royal. St. Charles North's quarterback Erik Miller brings athleticism, 6-3 height, energy and perhaps some nerves into this game; he missed all last year due to shoulder surgery. A great way to help him out would be if another legacy, Nick Edlund, as well as running back Evan Kurtz, can help him out offensively.

Next week: Plainfield Central at St. Charles North, Sept. 6; Elk Grove at Conant, Sept. 6.

West Aurora at East Aurora

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

Last year: West Aurora 59, East Aurora 19.

Outlook: Now at 121 meetings dating to 1893, this is the state's oldest football rivalry and third oldest west of the Appalachian Mountains. Yet it hasn't been much of a contest over the past two decades. West has won 11 straight against the Tomcats, 19 of the last 20, and now leads the series 60-48-12. Returning Blackhawks quarterback Quintez Jones -- and four East turnovers -- made quick work of the Tomcats by scoring on their first nine possessions. If Jones can duplicate last year's numbers of 6-for-6 passing for 133 yards and 4 touchdowns, he can be a happy senior and allow a young and inexperienced group of skill position players to get their feet wet. That inexperience extends to the offensive line and the defensive front, where defensive lineman Jakilo Lee is the sole returner. Though East Aurora's losing streak now stands at 39, the Beacon News' Rick Armstrong reported that Tomcats coach Kurt Becker has his numbers -- which ebbed to 18 by the end of last year -- in the 40s. They include returning running backs Jamaria Littleton (who ran for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Blackhawks) and Marcus Massey. For a team that itself hasn't reached the playoffs since 1994, West Aurora can't come in overconfident.

Next week: Plainfield East at West Aurora, Sept. 6; Yorkville at East Aurora, Sept. 6.

Hampshire at Burlington Central

Game time: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill

Last year: Burlington Central 16, Hampshire 7

Outlook: Nothing gets a football player's blood boiling like a rivalry game on opening night. Hampshire stewed for days after last year's meeting, a game the Whip-Purs felt they let slip away. Not only did they allow Central to convert too many fourth downs, a receiver dropped a would-be, 25-yard touchdown pass early in the second half that would have given them a 14-10 lead and momentum. The Whips have dropped 5 straight season openers. Those slow starts spawned unwanted consequences: Hampshire failed to make the playoffs the last four seasons. "Playing (Central) is always a good test and it will be again this year," 25th-year Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "I think (the players) know how important it is. We've talked about it." Look for the Whip-Purs to establish the running game behind senior running back Nick Kielbasa (5-9, 180). Hampshire returns four defensive linemen and two inside linebackers, an area of strength. That group is tasked with stopping Central senior quarterback Casey Matthews, who gained some experience at the position late last season. Senior Reilly Marino is the team's leading returning rusher and talented junior Trevor Davison could line up at multiple positions. Matthews will also play safety once again. The point of attack could be an issue for the Rockets, who return few experienced linemen on either side of the ball. Central has won 3 straight meetings against Hampshire and 7 of the last 10. "Winning this game doesn't make you or break you, but it sure gives the winner a confidence boosts and kicks (the loser) the other way," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "It basically sets the tone for your season. We know we need to get off to a good start so it's always a big game for us."

Riverside-Brookfield at St. Francis

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: On the road last year the Spartans cleaned the clocks of once-mighty R-B, 57-12. In Wheaton emotions will be proud and high both for the new Kuhn Memorial Stadium and the St. Francis debut of Division I recruit James Butler at running back.

Wheaton Academy at Westminster, Mo.

Game time: 5 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: In this fourth-annual season opener, Wheaton Academy will remember being outscored 27-6 in the second half of a 37-19 loss. Loading up with 290-pound Theo Selvaggio and Taylor Johnson, the Warriors want to stop the run and not wear down.

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