Burlington Central (0-1) at Stillman Valley (1-0)
When: today at 7 p.m.
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last year: Stillman Valley 40, Burlington Central 6
Last week: Hampshire 41, Burlington Central 7; Stillman Valley 49, Tinley Park 21
Outlook: The main take-away from Burlington Central's season-opening loss was the lack of physicality exhibited by the Rockets. "Basically, we told them that was something we could not fix for them, that they have to dig down deeper and figure out a way to start flying around to the ball more," coach Rich Crabel said Thursday. The Rockets allowed 307 rushing yards against Hampshire last week while rushing for only 56 yards themselves. The defense will get another test from one of the most talented ball carriers it will face this season: Zac Hare. Last week the 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior rushed for 189 yards, supported by Logan Alberts (95 yards) in a scheme reliant upon on the triple option and toss sweeps. "(Hare) is a very talented fullback," Crabel said. "He runs really well. He ran away from people in the Tinley Park game. They are very physical on defense, too." Little went right for the Rockets last Saturday. They lost the turnover battle 4-0, they collected only 158 total yards and they allowed over 400 total yards. The game against Stillman Valley could be a competitive if a few steps are taken by Central's players. "It's very simple," Crabel explained. "We don't have to play out of our heads to be successful, but we do have to match their physicality. They are a physical football team every year. That's what we striven for in practice this week and we'll see what we get out of it in the game." Crabel said running back Reilly Marino, who twisted an ankle against Hampshire and was held to 7 yards on 2 carries, is "probable."
Next week: Rockford Christian at Burlington Central; Stillman Valley at Oregon
DeKalb (1-0) at Hampshire (1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Hampshire athletic field
Last year: Hampshire 33, DeKalb 27
Last week: Hampshire 41, Burlington Central 7; DeKalb 25, Vernon Hills 10
Outlook: Hampshire did just about everything right in its season opener. The offense rushed for 307 yards, led by senior running back Nick Kielbasa (22 carries, 123 yards, 2 TD) and Chris Calvin (9-89, TD). Junior quarterback Nick Mohlman made good decisions (3 of 10, 103 yards, TD) and the defense limited the normally rush-happy Burlington Central backfield to 56 yards rushing (and only 103 yards passing.). "We were very happy with the way we played," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "We'll try to stay as physical this week because DeKalb is a whole other test for sure." The Barbs seek their second straight road win to open the season after winning at Vernon Hills last week. The DeKalb pistol option offense struggled at the start with a fumble that resulted in a touchdown and 2 interceptions, including one in the Vernon Hills end zone. But the attack was reinvigorated by a fumble recovery. DeKalb running back Dre Brown (22 carries, 146 yards) scored 3 touchdowns, including a 55-yarder that gave the Barbs the lead for good. He has offers from Illinois, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Kent State, according to 247sports.com. Against Hampshire last season, Brown scored on runs of 79 and 63 yards. "He lit us up last year and he was only a sophomore then," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "They're a good team. They have a lot of team speed all around and they are a very athletic team. We're a good team, too, but we've got to clean up the penalties. We killed a of our own drives and stopped ourselves too many times."
Next week: Sycamore at DeKalb (at NIU Huskie Stadium); Hampshire at Crystal Lake Central
Crystal Lake South (0-1) at Crystal Lake Central (1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Owen Metcalf Field
Last year: Crystal Lake South 16, Crystal Lake Central 6
Last week: Marian Central 28, Crystal Lake South 2; Crystal Lake Central 29, Grant 15
Outlook: For the second straight season the Gators must pick themselves up and move on after a humbling season-opening loss to Marian Central. And they'll have to do so quickly because CL Central senior quarterback Kyle Lavand and company represent a tough challenge. "They are probably the best Central team I've seen in years," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "They've got size, they've got skill, their quarterback is a senior and he reminds me a little bit of Drew Ormseth. He can throw and he can run." The Tigers play offense like their helmets are on fire. The goal of the newly installed, no-huddle offense is "to run a play every 12 seconds," according to CL Central coach Matt Fralick. Still, Central remains a running team that spreads the field and pounds the ball. Last week running backs Ryan Williams (22 carries, 107 yards) and Connor Hines (18-107-TD) balanced the efforts of Lavand, who threw for 139 yards and rushed for 60 more. However, Williams and Hines will miss this game since both were ejected in the fourth quarter against Grant. Lavand and Matt Tegtemeier rescued Central last week when their short pass turned into the go-ahead 47-yard scoring strike with 9:15 left. That kind of game-changing play eluded the Gators offensively last week. "We have some skill on offense so it's disappointing that we didn't generate a big play," Ahsmann said. "We had opportunities, but we just didn't execute. I think we need to execute a little better on offense and keep the big play from happening to us on defense."
Next week: Crystal Lake South at Dundee-Crown; Hampshire at Crystal Lake Central
Cary-Grove (0-1) at Lake Zurich (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Cary-Grove 21, Lake Zurich 6
Last week: Wheaton North 42, Cary-Grove 18; Lake Zurich 24, Fremd 0
Outlook: The Trojans must face a second consecutive state-ranked team on the road, and they'll do so short handed. The Bears, ranked No. 2 in Class 7A, are led by Syracuse-bound linebacker Colton Moskal (6-1, 215). He'll face a Cary-Grove option offense that last week lost running back Joe Scott to a broken ankle. Scott joins an injury list that already includes junior ball carrier Zach McQuade, who could be back in two weeks. "We have to approach this the same way we approached it last year when (running back Ryan) Mahoney and (offensive lineman Michael) Gomez were hurt," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "It may not be what we wanted as a team and it's certainly not what we wanted for Joe, but it is what it is -- an opportunity for someone else. One thing we try to instill in the kids is that living life and playing football is about handling adversity. We've had our share in the early part of the season. We just have to deal with it and let the chips fall where they may." Three turnovers cost the Trojans last week., including a fumble return for Wheaton North's final touchdown. On a positive side of the ledger, junior quarterback Jason Gregoire rushed for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns for an offense that generated 302 total yards and surpassed its goal of running 60 offensive plays per game. Lake Zurich counters with quarterback Noah Allgood. He completed 8 of 13 attempts for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns against Fremd, both thrown to receiver Ben Klett. Running back Dylan Schassler rushed 10 times for 90 yards. The Lake Zurich offensive line sealed the win against Fremd in the fourth quarter with a 16-play, 77-yard drive. "Against the quality competition we're playing at the beginning of the year, we can't give up big plays and we can't turn the ball over at key times," Seaburg said.
Next week: Cary-Grove at Huntley; Warren at Lake Zurich
Dundee-Crown (1-0) at Streamwood (0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last year: Dundee-Crown 27, Streamwood 7
Last week: Dundee-Crown 52 Elgin 12; Hoffman Estates 28, Streamwood 20
Outlook: This meeting of nonconference opponents is critical to the playoff hopes of each. Dundee-Crown looks to open the season 2-0 for the second straight season. Streamwood is aiming for its first victory under new coach Mark Orszula. The Sabres did some good things last week against Hoffman Estates, but too many mental errors and assignment errors proved costly as a 20-0 lead evaporated. "The biggest thing for us was the mental mistakes we saw," Orszula said. "Our goal was to keep our systems simple, but we made big errors offensively and defensively. We would block the wrong guy or block the wrong level and forget some of the other things the guys were coached to do. When one or two players are not doing what they're supposed to, it creates voids and creates issues. It's a team game. We need 11 guys working together." Mason and Noah Polich were bright spots for the Sabres offensively. Mason completed 22 of 30 attempts for 272 yards. Noah made 7 catches for 158 yards, including touchdown receptions of 89 and 16 yards. "We know their QB because he came into the game against us last year and threw a slant for a long touchdown," D-C coach Vito Andriola said of Mason Polich. "They are running more of a pistol spread, which makes you have to cover the field. They've got a lot of skill and their lines are huge, especially their offensive line. I thought we ran the ball pretty well ourselves last week." The Chargers rushed for 272 of their 308 total yards last week behind T.J. Moss (7 carries, 124 yards, TD), Caleb Parson (8-83-2 TD) and Cordero Parson (6-42-2 TD). Streamwood safety Sam Cook could line up in the box as a linebacker in certain situations to help control the D-C running game.
Next week: Crystal Lake South at Dundee-Crown; Streamwood at Waubonsie Valley.
Jacobs (0-1) at St. Charles East (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Norris Stadium
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last week: Barrington 22, Jacobs 15; St. Charles East 35, South Elgin 27
Outlook: Turnovers and bad luck cost the Golden Eagles last week. A well-thrown ball by quarterback Bret Mooney hit his target in the chest, but the ball popped off the receiver's chest for an interception, which led to Barrington's game-winning touchdown drive. Later, on a 4th-and-2 play with time running down, a Mooney pass hit an official on a slant pattern or it might have developed into a game-turning play. Mooney rushed for 101 yards and a 54-yard touchdown and he efficiently completed 16 of 28 attempts for 155 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to junior Josh Walker. His counterpart this week is St. Charles East quarterback Jimmy Mitchell. Last week against South Elgin, he completed 21 of 33 attempts for 233 yards and 5 touchdown passes (43, 5, 23, 13, 36). "The Mitchell kid ran around and threw the ball well, no doubt," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "He has a couple of fine wide receivers who go to the ball well and a running back who does a nice job. We need to make some plays. We can't fumble and we can't just knock balls in the air and not catch them. We need to improve on the mistakes we made last week. If we do that, I feel good about the opportunity." Mitz said a few personnel changes were made on the interior line this week, among other adjustments. "We told our kids that contending teams make the biggest jump from Week 1 to Week 2 and we saw that in practice this week," Mitz added. "The kids really made great strides, which is what you want to see after the first game. They've worked hard to improve so we'll see how it goes against St. Charles East."
Next week: Jacobs at Prairie Ridge; St. Charles North at St. Charles East
West Chicago (0-1) at Larkin (0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field
Last year: Larkin 24, West Chicago 7
Last week: McHenry 30, Larkin 18; Chicago King 20, West Chicago 16
Outlook: Larkin seeks to snap a 7-game losing streak against one of the two opponents it defeated last season (Elgin was the other). The Royals hung tough last week against McHenry, but self-inflicted mistakes kept the Royals from mounting a better challenge. They were flagged 17 times for 114 yards, an untenable amount of setbacks for any offense to consistently overcome. "We have got to be mentally tougher," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. "It doesn't matter if it's a senior or a freshman or sophomore. They have to rise up and have each other's backs and not get down on each other." The Royals outgained McHenry by 101 total yards last week, but McHenry committed just 5 penalties for 26 yards. Injured much of last season, Larkin senior quarterback Kemmerin Blalark returned and played his best varsity game yet. He completed 21 of 33 attempts for 282 yards and threw three 3 touchdown passes, including scoring receptions of 20 and 68 yards to 6-foot-1 senior Dante Bonds. "We liked what we saw out of the passing game," Scianna said. "Our quarterback showed a lot of maturity, a lot of growth from last year to this year. He's really become a good leader. And our team speed was awesome." West Chicago was hurt last week by Chicago King's team speed. The Wildcats allowed a 78-yard scoring run in the second quarter. The West Chicago offense struggled, compiling only 150 total yards compared to King's 329. Larkin senior Giovanni Avila is unlikely to play in this game, Scianna said. Avila was in a car accident Sunday and missed a day of practice. He was to be re-evaluated Thursday.
Next week: Larkin at Elgin; West Chicago at Metea Valley
South Elgin (0-1) at Benet (1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Benedictine University
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last year: Benet 35, South Elgin 21
Last week: Benet 21, Downers Grove South 0; St. Charles East 35, South Elgin 27
Outlook: South Elgin can't afford the kind of slow start it experienced at home last week in this road opener against the Redwings, who remain unranked but did received 7 votes in The Associated Press poll of Class 7A schools this week. Last year Benet finished 11-2, won a share of the East Suburban Catholic Conference title and reached a Class 7A semifinal. The 2013 edition returns 13 starters, headed by signal caller Jack Beneventi, whose college offers include Notre Dame and Illinois, among many others. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound junior threw for 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns a season ago. In last week's opener against Downers Grove South, he completed 9 of 13 attempts for 139 yards without an interception. Beneventi is joined by returning running back Porter Ontko, who did most of the damage against the Storm last season when he rushed for 78 yards and 3 touchdowns on 10 carries. Last week against Downers South, Ontko rushed for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries. South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio wants to see improvement in the running game, which the Storm abandoned last week when faced with a substantial, early deficit. South Elgin threw for 309 yards but rushed for negative 25. Finding room to run could be a tall task against a Benet defense that limited Downers Grove South to 9 yards rushing and 123 yards total. "One of the things we're stressing is finishing assignments, giving us those extra two steps beyond whether it's a lineman finishing a block or a receiver catching the ball and getting up field immediately." Pistorio said. "They are very well coached and they fly to the ball. We have to match that energy and be sure we're precise with our route running." Against Benet last season, South Elgin quarterback Rob Cuda completed 27 of 49 attempts for 257 yards. He will be the target of Benet linebacker Nick Surges, who registered 3 sacks last week. A major point of emphasis in South Elgin practice this week was the quarterback-center exchange. Due to exchange issues on approximately 25 percent of South Elgin's snaps last week, Cuda had to take his eyes off the defense to concentrate on maintaining possession. "That needs to be fixed immediately," Pistorio added.
Next week: South Elgin at Neuqua Valley; St. Patrick at Benet
Mooseheart (1-0, 1-0) at Westminster Christian (0-1, 0-1)
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Warrior Field
Last week: Mooseheart 45, Kirkland Hiawatha 6; Luther North 44, Westminster Christian 26
Outlook: Westminster Christian's first varsity football game last week yielded many positives. Junior quarterback Max Tucker completed 16 of 39 attempts for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior running back DeShawn Bloom rushed 14 times for 134 yards (9.6 avg) and 2 touchdowns. The offense gained 385 total yards. Defensively, 5-foot-10, 170-pound freshman outside linebacker Xavier Brown led the team with 12 solo tackles, including a sack. Still, plenty of areas need improvement if Westminster intends to win the Elgin school's inaugural on-campus football game. The Warriors fumbled the ball twice, losing one, and Tucker was intercepted twice. The defense was gashed for 407 rushing yards by Luther North's dive-oriented offense, which forced the Warriors out of their base 4-3, cover-2 scheme. As a result Luther North won the time of possession battle 34 minutes to 14. "That's an offense we won't see too often," Westminster Christian coach John Davis said. "I think we match up a little better against Mooseheart." The Ramblers reached the second round of the Class 1A playoffs last season before losing to Stark County. They finished 8-1 in the Northeast Athletic Conference, good for second place behind Ottawa Marquette. Coach Gary Urwiler has 26 underclassmen on the 41-man roster, but one key is wide receiver JJ Odunsi. Last week he had 8 receptions for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns. "If we can shut (Odunsi) down, we'll have a good shot at being competitive," Davis said. Joe Feemorlu is Mooseheart's featured running back. He rushed for 89 yards and 2 TDs last week on 14 carries. The Warriors should get stronger on offense this week, thanks to the return of two starting linemen who were unable to play last week due to injuries. One of them is 6-foot-2, 305-pound sophomore Zach Aters.
Next week: North Shore Country Day at Mooseheart; Westminster Christian at Ottawa Marquette
Huntley (1-0) at Elgin (0-1)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Field
Last week: Huntley 23, Bartlett 12; Dundee-Crown 52 Elgin 12;
Outlook: Huntley attempts to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2009. Good starts haven't been the norm on Harmony Rd. The Red Raiders opened 0-2 each of the last three seasons. Elgin hopes to be a more competitive team than it was last week against Dundee-Crown, a game in which several key players did not start due to practice attendance issues. First-year coach Kyle Rohde said his players created some positives against Dundee-Crown, particularly in the second half. Junior running back Dontrell Gaddy rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries and junior Jordan Smith rushed for a 1-yard scored and caught a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Sitter (4 of 9, 120 yards). With the starting lineup expected to be intact for the start of the Huntley game, the Maroons seek improvement. "With the right guys on the field, we hope to catch them with a big play early and get our spirits up right away," Rohde said. "Huntley has some playmakers, so it's a matter of our guys accepting the fact they can play against these good teams we're matched up against. They're going to come at us with 80-plus guy so we have to be able to withstand that." Huntley coach John Hart said his program bore similarities to Elgin's in the not-so-distant past. "We were basically them two years ago," he said. "But look what we were able to do last year. They lack (roster) numbers, but they have playmakers. You always respect the people you play. If you do that, you'll play well and that's what you can control no matter if you're playing Elgin, Cary-Grove or the Chicago Bears." Hart said he was pleased with multiple phases of Huntley's game last week: the offensive line, the five players rotating along the defensive line, linebacker Jordan Kabb (team-high 8 solo tackles, 2 sacks) and running back Mitchell Kawell, who rushed for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries (7.2 avg.). "Week 1 was a great week for our program," Hart said. "We had a lot of good reasons to fail, but you choose to succeed or you do fail. Our kids really persevered throughout, which is what you need to be a good football team and a good program."
Next week: Cary-Grove at Huntley; Larkin at Elgin
St. Edward (1-0) at West Hancock (0-0)
When: Saturday at 2 p.m.
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last week: St. Edward 43, Genoa-Kingston 21; West Hancock was idle
Outlook: Senior-laden St. Edward will have the advantage when it comes to size, age and experience in this nonconference game. The veteran St. Edward lineup cruised in its season opener while West Hancock waited. The Titans' originally scheduled game against Missouri Military Academy had to be scrapped because the opponent did not have enough mandated practice days completed to play a game. First-year West Hancock coach Travis Cook spent five years as the defensive coordinator at Quincy before returning as an assistant coach for the Titans. He was named head coach in May. The newly implemented Wing-T offense is coordinated by a proven winner: former Illini West coach Jim Unruh, an IHSFCA hall of famer. "Anytime you can get a hall-of-fame coach on your staff it's a no-brainer," Cook said Thursday. The Titans are an extremely young team. The 43-man roster includes 33 underclassmen. The team's only seniors are lineman Levi Huls (6-6, 270) and running back Tyler Dooley (5-10, 165). St. Edward embarks on its overnight trip this afternoon. The Green Wave will have a walk through at Monmouth College at 6 p.m. before heading to a team dinner and their hotel. The Wave impressed in Week 1 by exploding for 22 third-quarter points to put away Genoa-Kingston. Senior DaVontae Elam had 214 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns and he caught a 76-yard pass from Bryan O'Neill. "He's a big-play threat and a pretty good player," Cook said of Elam. "I know they have a pretty good offensive line, too, protecting that quarterback and making holes. We have to stop their big plays." St. Edward will attempt to slow the Wing-T with its veteran defense, which held Genoa-Kingston to 98 yards rushing. The team has several points of emphasis after watching film from last week. "We'd like to throw the ball a little better even though we completed 2 passes for touchdowns last week," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "We'd like to get more work in the passing game with some controlled, short passing routes with the ball delivered on time. We need to shore up some blocking assignments in the passing game because there were some things we didn't prepare for well enough."
Next week: St. Edward at Marmion; Illini West at Hamilton West Hancock
Notre Dame (1-0) at Bartlett (0-1)
When: Saturday at 6 p.m. at Millennium Field
TV: Comcast, delayed broadcast Sunday at noon and 4 p.m.
Last meeting: Bartlett 10, Notre Dame 7 (2008), first round Class 8A playoffs
Last week: Notre Dame 44, Prairie Ridge 21; Huntley 23, Bartlett 12
Outlook: Bartlett allowed 231 rushing yards last week against Huntley. The Hawks must tighten the run defense because here comes bona fide Division I recruit Chris James (5-9, 212), an uncommitted senior rated the No. 30 running back nationally in the class of 2014. A 2,000-yard rusher last season, James has narrowed his choices to Michigan State, Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, the Detroit Free Press reported last week. "He can really play," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "And that offense is big up front. They have some giants." The Bartlett defense kept the Hawks in the game last week against Huntley, which also boasts a big offensive front. The defense will need a repeat performance plus a take-away or two. A personnel adjustment was made on defense this week as a heavier defensive tackle was inserted. Against Huntley, too often the tackles were pushed back to the second level, which prevented the linebackers from reaching ball carriers. "When that happens the linebacker can't scrape and make plays," Meaney said. "We've put sophomore Kyle Sanft (6-3, 280) in there. I don't want to have to play him both ways, but we've got to do what we've got to do right now. We gave up way too many yards last week." In fact, Sanft becomes the fourth Hawk tabbed to play both ways, joining senior Clint Zierke (DE/TE) and juniors Isaiah Cottman (WR/DB) and Bryce Petty (WR/DB). The Hawks only rushed for 40 yards against a physical Huntley defensive front, but junior quarterback Jordan Flint completed 18 of 33 passes for 225 yards. Bartlett lost the turnover battle 3-0 last week but still led midway through the fourth quarter.
Next week: Notre Dame at Normal; Bartlett at East Aurora