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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 David Oberhelman

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

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Aurora Central Catholic (1-0) at Bogan (0-1)

Game time: 12 p.m. Saturday, Lane Tech, Chicago.

Last week: After a weather cancellation, ACC earned a forfeit win over Oostburg, Wis.; Dunbar 40, Bogan 12.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: The main problem with ACC's IHSA-sanctioned forfeit win -- the Wisconsin school refused ACC's offer to pay for lodging and/or transportation costs, Chargers coach Brian Casey said -- is the inevitable Week 1 mistakes must be dealt with in Week 2. Bogan, 3-5 last year in the Chicago Public League's Prairie Conference, offers linebacker John Mahan, a 245-pound horse at running back in Steven Smith (who started on defense at nose tackle) and namely quarterback Luwane Pipkins. Though Bogan got hammered by Dunbar, Casey respects the junior quarterback. "We haven't practiced against anyone or seen anyone as athletic as this young man is," Casey said. As they will in many games ACC will hold an edge up front particularly against a Bogan squad that has eight starters going both ways. Tony Hizo, Mikey Malawski and Alec Licar each are returning starting offensive linemen who will try to protect Chargers quarterback Kyle Reily in his first varsity start. Defensively another pair of returning starting linebackers, Cody Ekstrom and Karlo Valenzuela, will try to keep Pipkins from running wild. Overall ACC's goal is to grind, win up front and put doubt in the mind of Bogan early.

Next week: Aurora Central Catholic at IC Catholic Prep (1-0), Sept. 14; Lane (1-0) at Bogan, Sept. 14.

Bronzeville (1-0) at Aurora Christian (1-0)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Bronzeville 30, Maine West 24; Aurora Christian 64, DuSable 0.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: No tape transfer with Bronzeville gives Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe nothing to work from against this week's foe. About all he knows is they finished 6-3 last year, play in the CPL's Windy City Conference, and beat a 7A team in Maine West. "We've got an offense for any front they'll throw at us," Beebe said. That was confirmed in Tuesday's laugher. The game was ended in the third quarter after a DuSable running back went down injured, moments after Kimani Mobley ran 26 yards for the Eagles' ninth touchdown. Three of those scores came on interception returns by Legend Smith, Dan Brown and Brandon Walgren. What did AC get out of the game that'll help in Week 2? Receivers Walgren, Noah Hagerty, Noah Roberts and tight end Jackson Carpenter all had good games to shore up a receiving corps decimated by graduation; and junior quarterback Austin Bray, in his starting debut at the varsity spot, made big-league throws in completing 11-of-19 passes with 4 touchdowns. "He's a high-level quarterback," Beebe said. Against Bronzeville, starting left guard Jon Czerwinski (knee) will be held out a second game, giving Matt Liesendahl the start with rotation by Matt Ward and 282-pound Brennon Kuhn.

Next week: Bronzeville at DuSable (0-1), Sept. 14; Aurora Christian at Walther Lutheran (0-1), Sept. 14.

Immaculate Conception (1-0) at Kaneland (1-0)

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

Last week: Immaculate Conception 47, Noble Street Charter 6; Kaneland 27, Brooks 7.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Even during the very lean years at the former Immaculate Conception, during the late 1990s with 17-man rosters and nine players going both ways, no one ever questioned IC's toughness and no-quit attitude. Despite winning state titles in 2002 (3A) and 2008 (2A), IC will be hard-pressed to defeat such a power as Kaneland, ranked fourth in 5A with about 1,000 more students. "Talk about a test," said Knights coach Bill Krefft, a linebacker on that 2002 team. "They're top-25 in the state, so it's a significant game for us in terms of finding out who we are." One thing IC isn't is huge on the line, which may be this game's most telling aspect. Offensively left guard Steven Stamm tops out at 225, around five pounds heavier than Kaneland sophomore defensive tackle Jake Gomes and nowhere in the vicinity of 310-pound nose man Jaumaureo Phillips. Thus, IC quarterbacks (yes, they'll use two) Jack Copher and 6-3 athlete Rhashaun Epting will try finesse and up-tempo pace. Kaneland seeks to quickly strike fear as the Knights did against Brooks with a 23-0 second-quarter lead, ignited by Dylan Nauert's 66-yard return of the opening kick. Drew David completed passes to seven different receivers and tailback Jesse Balluff scored 2 touchdowns, but the second-half scoring highlights were a safeties by Nate Dyer and Andrew Kray's blocked punt through Brooks' end zone. Thus, Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly's goal is offense throughout, minus 5 turnovers. Knights star middle linebacker Gary Koehring may not play after spraining his knee against Brooks, but the Knights lose little with returning starters Sam Bower and Tyler Slamans around. "We have to do a better job of being consistent and not making mistakes, and getting drives," Fedderly said. "That'll be the challenge for us especially after the second half last game."

Next week: Aurora Central Catholic (0-0) at Immaculate Conception, Sept. 14; Kaneland at Sterling (1-0), Sept. 13.

Jacobs (0-1) at St. Charles East (1-0) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights.

Last week: Barrington 22, Jacobs 15; St. Charles East 35, South Elgin 27.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: The Saints look for their first 2-0 start since 1998, when they went 11-1. As with a couple other local teams coach Mike Fields said his team "clicked on all cylinders" in the first half while the second half was not as compelling offensively. In the end Jacobs could say the same thing when quarterback Bret Mooney, offered by Colgate, was intercepted late to lead to Barrington's victory. the 6-foot-4 Mooney did complete 16 of 28 passes for 155 yards and led all rushers in that game with 101 yards including a 54-yard touchdown scamper. Junior Josh Walker caught a 38-yard touchdown pass. Fields said Jacobs coach Bill Mitz, the longtime former Stevenson coach, will mix up power with spread offenses. "I think they'll try to formation you a little bit and take advantage of what you will give them," Field said. St. Charles East gave South Elgin a lot of quarterback Jimmy Mitchell, who targeted both Mitch Munroe and Brannon Barry for 2 touchdown passes and another to Mo Flanigan. Among others Fields cited offensive skill players Phil Hopper, Ramon Lopez and A.J. Robinson, defensive end Luke Spicer, linebacker Michael Candre and new cornerbacks Geno Rogers, Scott Roback and Pat Frio giving the Saints good field position on kickoffs. After leading 28-0 by halftime South Elgin outscored the Saints 27-7. A Bill Mitz-coached team may prove a tougher test. "We need to take it to the next level from a mental standpoint and execute," Fields said.

Next week: Jacobs at Prairie Ridge (0-1), Sept. 13; St. Charles North (0-1) at St. Charles East, Sept. 13.

Marmion (1-0) at Ottawa (0-1)

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

Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights.

Last week: Marmion 25, Plainfield Central 7; Yorkville 17, Ottawa 16 (OT).

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: One of last week's top overall efforts was that of Marmion running back-linebacker Mike Montalbano. The senior ran for 157 yards and a 13-yard touchdown on 9 carries, and made 10 solo tackles and 2 assists. His touchdown run capped a four-play 70-yard drive to get the Cadets' season off to a good start. "We preached that all summer, to come out fast and we came out fast both offensively and defensively," said Marmion coach Dan Thorpe. The goal is to go 2-0 against a team that in 2012 went 11-1, losing only to Crete-Monee in the Class 6A quarterfinals. Coach Trent Swords' squad is young, Thorpe said, but in Aaron Pittman-Teague and Nick Smeets the Pirates have two 260-plus tackles; Cyrano Rayfield plays center and inside linebacker. "He is a football player," Thorpe said. "He's old school." A tall group of receivers likes to get the ball on fade patterns out of a multiple-look offense. Marmion counters with a defense that hit Plainfield Central with 6 interceptions -- 3 by Noel Abraham, 1 apiece by secondary mates Tyler Eberth and Jake Gallaher and another by middle linebacker Sam Breen. Impacting Marmion's interior play is the loss of junior tackle John Gauthier to a season-ending ACL injury. "Losing a 6-6, 250-pound lineman is awful for John and unfortunate for the Cadets," Thorpe said. Running back Jordan Glasgow also will miss another week with a high ankle sprain, Thorpe said, meaning Montalbano, Breen and Josh Meyers rotate a little faster at their dual running back-linebacker spots. Running for 376 yards last week, however, that didn't seem a problem. Four lost fumbles was. "We do that this weekend, we'll get beat," Thorpe said.

Next week: St. Edward (1-0) at Marmion, Sept. 13; Streator (0-1) at Ottawa, Sept. 13.

Plainfield Central (0-1) at St. Charles North (0-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights.

Last week: Marmion 25, Plainfield Central 7; Elk Grove 23, St. Charles North 22.

Last year: Plainfield Central 14, St. Charles North 7.

Outlook: St. Charles North, on its senior night, should be ready to roll against a team Marmion held to 105 yards of offense with 6 interceptions. Particularly since missed tackles were an emphasis of North Stars coach Rob Pomazak after last week's game, his first as varsity head coach. The North Stars will look at Plainfield Central coach John Jackson's double-wing offense, which also goes some spread and single wing behind starting quarterback Mike Smiles. He threw 21 yards to Dom Rios-Sterr for the Wildcats' sole touchdown. St. Charles North's opener could be seen both ways, though Pomazak sees it as a possible momentum builder. Trailing 16-0 inside of the last 2 minutes after 5 interceptions stalled the offense, the North Stars forced overtime on a touchdown run by quarterback Erik Miller and a pass from Miller to Garrett Johnson with 3 seconds left, Evan Kurtz adding each 2-point conversion. Miller hit Nate Newbill for an overtime TD but the extra point kick didn't come off, and Elk Grove countered. "We really look at this game as probably something that can send our team into a really good direction," Pomazak said. Along with the usual double-digit tackles from Reece Conroyd -- he's 16 from tying Jake Rigert's program record of 258 -- Mitchell Riggs made an interception and ran a long kickoff return. "Extremely physical from the safety," Pomazak said. Now, to improve on execution, including tackling and reducing those 15 penalties. "We were our own worst enemy last week and I think we're going to correct those mistakes and come back really strong," Pomazak said.

Next week: Plainfield Central at Romeoville (?-?); St. Charles North at St. Charles East (1-0), Sept. 13.

Plainfield East (1-0) at West Aurora (1-0)

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

Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights.

Last week: Plainfield East 37, Metea Valley 17; West Aurora 46, East Aurora 18.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: By now it's unfortunately plain that a win over the crosstown Tomcats is not indicative of what kind of season West Aurora will have. Using 169 yards rushing and 2 TDs on just 9 carries by Drake Spears, 110 more yards and 2 TDs on the ground from quarterback Quintez Jones, and 2 TDs and 54 yards by backup quarterback Jonathan Doyle, the Blackhawks have now won 12 straight over East Aurora. Plainfield East will be more of a challenge. Starting their fifth year as a program, the Bengals and quarterback Cole Konopka laced fellow newcomer Metea Valley with second-quarter touchdown passes of 80 and 35 yards. Metea Valley also shot itself in the foot with 4 interceptions and a fumble. Passing the ball will be more a part of West Aurora's game plan against Plainfield Central, if only because Jones & Co., didn't require much passing to beat East Aurora. And also because Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer was pleased with the all-new offensive line of Hayden Sak, Edwardo Valerio, Sam Deisher, Jonathan Evans and Stephen Castellanos. Defensively, linebacker Jovontee Bolden tied safety Isaiah Ruffin with 7 tackles, meaning the line did pretty well there, too. "We showed depth with eight, nine different guys. It's been a while since I could tell you that," Eimer said of his defensive front. "We controlled the line, though the rush needs to improve." That will be a definite against the 6-6 Kotopka. "I think it should be a great game Friday night," Eimer said.

Next week: Plainfield East at Oswego East (1-0), Sept. 13; Glenbard East (1-0) at West Aurora, Sept. 13.

Richards (1-0) at Batavia (1-0)

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

Last week: Richards 58, Harlan 14; Batavia 29, Glenbard North 26.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: For years Richards was the province of coach Gary Korhonen, who retired in 2007 with the most prep victories in Illinois, 315. Tony Sheehan is now at the helm of this Bulldogs squad, which went 9-2 last season with losses only to Class 5A runner-up Morris and Lemont. Batavia coach Dennis Piron calls the Oak Lawn team "this year's Crete-Monee," fast, athletic and skilled. Sounds like it's a read-option outfit that likes to attack the perimeter with quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers. According to stats by the Southtown Star's Tony Baranek, the cannon-armed quarterback threw for 4 touchdowns and ran for 2 others; Ryan Willett was on the receiving end of 3. Piron said tough middle linebacker Romel Hill mashes people so hard "it's like a cartoon." Muhammad-Rogers' penchant to look long first will challenge Batavia's secondary that includes Michael Moffatt, Brandon Dean, Forrest Gilbertson and Eddie Golden; his legs will challenge the Bulldogs' strong, physical linebacker group of Donovan Kilker, Austin Thielk and Noah Frazier. All came through in Batavia's second huge win over Glenbard North; Thielk made 16 tackles, Kilker 14 and Frazier 3 sacks in limited defensive snaps. Ryan Minniti also gave Glenbard North fits with seven tackles at defensive tackle. Long snapper Steve Hansen and punter Tucker Knox helped flip field position with punts averaging 42.5 yards. Though Piron said tailback Anthony Scaccia was "great as usual" with 87 yards rushing and a touchdown and Jordan Zwart and Moffatt each catching touchdown passes, the offense looks to get on track a little more this week. Batavia may need all the offense is can get against this opponent. "I think we've got to slow them down, not let them throw the ball over our head for easy scores," Piron said.

Next week: Richards at Lemont (0-1), Sept. 13; Batavia at Geneva (1-0), Sept. 13.

Wheaton North (1-0) at Geneva (1-0)

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

Last week: Wheaton North 42, Cary-Grove 18; Geneva 29, Oswego 27.

Last year: Wheaton North 34, Geneva 7.

Outlook: After watching Cary-Grove attempt only 6 passes last week, Wheaton North expects more offensive diversity from the Vikings. With that in mind, look for the Falcons to create some quarterback pressure beyond just their linemen. Offensively, Northwestern-bound quarterback Clayton Thorson came out firing with 300 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and completions to seven different players. Of the three running backs featured by the Falcons, Dee Alexander rated a slight edge last week. Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said to be the best you've got to play the best, and the Falcons are ranked No. 6 in Class 7A. The Vikings seem to have made strides, too, and central to that is a healthy quarterback. Daniel Santacaterina went 15 of 29 for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns including the game-winner to 6-3 Kyle Brown. The receiving duo of Brown and Pace Temple, who combined for 12 catches and 197 yards, will be go-to guys again, but after the ground game against Oswego netted just 57 yards rushing, Geneva looks for greater balance and an ability to finish in the red zone. That said, Wicinski felt encouraged by a mainly inexperienced offensive line that unfortunately lost Ryan Powers and T.K. Hood to injury; 265-pound junior Sean McKenzie is ready to fill in. Another area of concern for Wicinski was at linebacker, but he said previously untested Stephen Kemp, Wyatt Shodeen and Mason Kaseeska finished their hits. Pressuring Thorson will be important as well as a strong overall game in the secondary, where the 6-foot-4 Wheaton North quarterback will probably look somewhere besides Temple's direction after the junior's 2 interceptions. Wicinski emphasized this is still a learning experience for his team, and that the greatest strides occur between Weeks 1-2. "We're just looking for growth," he said.

Next week: Wheaton North at Wheaton Warrenville South (1-0), Sept. 13; Batavia (1-0) at Geneva, Sept. 13.

Burlington Central (0-1) at Stillman Valley (1-0)

When: today at 7 p.m.

Last year: Stillman Valley 40, Burlington Central 6

Last week: Hampshire 41, Burlington Central 7; Stillman Valley 49, Tinley Park 21

Outlook: The main takeaway 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. The Rockets allowed 307 rushing yards 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 competitve one if a few steps are taken by the players.

Next: Rockford Christian at Burlington Central; Stillman Valley at Oregon

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