Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/12/2013 9:12 PM

Scouting Week 3 in the Fox Valley

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  • South Elgin's Tyler Christensen is wrapped up by St. Charles East's Ramon Lopez during Week 1.i

      South Elgin's Tyler Christensen is wrapped up by St. Charles East's Ramon Lopez during Week 1.i
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer


Larkin (1-1) at Elgin (0-2)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last year: Larkin 40, Elgin 12

Last week: Larkin 20, West Chicago 12, OT; Huntley 48, Elgin 16

Outlook: The Royals lead the all-time varsity series 32-19 and have their sites set on winning the Town Jug trophy for the third straight year. The Maroons seek to end a 5-game losing streak overall dating back to last season. Larkin dominated last year's meeting after taking a 25-6 halftime lead, but the Royals expect the Maroons to mount a better challenge this time around. "They have the best skill kids we've seen so far, no doubt about it," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said. "They are very talented and their lines look like they are improving. They played their butts off last week in the first quarter against Huntley. Their problem is the same as ours: when you don't have a lot of kids on the roster, you have several going both ways and it's tough to sustain that." Larkin counts on a pair of two-way senior linemen: Quentyn Jackson (6-3, 295) and Keith Kyles (6-2, 275). Between four and seven Maroons play both ways depending on the situation. Predicted cooler weather could assist Elgin in that regard. The Maroons attack with senior running back Jaylen Clemons (12 carries, 38 yards, 1 TD), who returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown last week, and junior Dontrell Gaddy (18 carries, 84 yards). They take handoffs from third-year starting quarterback Ryan Sitter (17 of 33, 250 yards, 2 TD). "I'm hoping we can get guys out in the open field and running," Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. "The big thing is we have to block. When we block well, we're getting 5, 6, 7 yards a carry. We can't take plays off." Larkin quarterback Kemmerin Blalark (29 of 46, 374 yards, 3 TD, 3 Int.) has weapons at his disposal in running back Bubba Clemons (36 carries, 182 yards, 3 TD) and wide receiver Dante Bonds (5 rec., 11 yards, TD).

Next week: Geneva at Larkin; Elgin at St. Charles North

Streamwood (0-2) at Waubonsie Valley (1-1)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Dick Kerner Stadium

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last year: Waubonsie Valley 56, Streamwood 0

Last week: Dundee-Crown 59, Streamwood 14; Waubonsie Valley 40, Oswego 21

Outlook: Streamwood aims for a better showing a week after suffering a lopsided loss. However, the schedule gets no easier with this Upstate Eight Conference crossover at Waubonsie Valley, the No. 10 team in Class 8A in this week's Associated Press poll. The Warriors lost their season opener 23-10 to Naperville Central, the No. 3 team in 8A. Last week junior running back Tony Durns (5-8, 150) only touched the ball 5 times, but those opportunities yielded rushing touchdowns of 62 and 37 yards and a 37-yard touchdown reception from 5-foot-11, 160-pound senior quarterback Jack Eddy (10 of 24, 229 yards, 3 TD). Senior Christian Gibbs (6-0, 180) is a two-way standout. He made 7 catches for 109 yards against Oswego and came up with a diving interception late in the game. "Their skill athletes are really good and they're just good all-around," Streamwood coach Mark Orszula said. "They have some big boys up front who block well, they have good athletes on the outside, their quarterback throws nicely and the defensive line is aggressive with slants. But this week is more about ourselves than who we're playing. We have to fix the mistakes we've been making. Taking penalties is one of those areas, so are missed assignments and loafs. We're trying to improve every day. I think we made big improvements from Week 1 to Week 2." Orszula said the way the offense has moved the ball has been a positive. Streamwood senior quarterback Mason Polich has completed 33 of 48 attempts for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns and has been intercepted 3 times. These schools met last year for the first time since 2004 and it was all Warriors. They intercepted 4 passes and returned one for a touchdown. The Sabres also lost a fumble and a muffed punt.

Next week: Batavia at Streamwood; Waubonsie Valley at West Chicago

Bartlett (0-2) at East Aurora (0-2)

When: today at 7:30 p.m.

Last year: Bartlett 67, East Aurora 0

Last week: Notre Dame 47, Bartlett 6; Yorkville 38, East Aurora 14

Outlook: Each team seeks its first victory in this Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division opener. The inexperienced Hawks endured a baptism by fire the past two weeks against 2012 playoff participants Huntley and Notre Dame. The Tomcats jumped to a 14-0 lead last week on Yorkville (2-0) before surrendering 38 unanswered points. East Aurora junior quarterback Julian Ramos (6-1, 160) threw for over 80 yards and rushed for a 56-yard touchdown on a quarterback counter. The Tomcats used a no-huddle offense at times. "There are some skilled athletes there," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "Coach (Mark) Williams and I went down there to watch them last Friday and their kids were fired up with a lot of enthusiasm. (Former Chicago Bear Kurt) Becker has them going. They have three of their four linebackers back and they can move. And they have a free safety who is awesome and plays sideline to sideline in man." Bartlett's pass-oriented offense has been led by quarterback Jordan Flint. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior has completed 35 of 67 attempts for 354 yards. He has thrown 2 touchdowns and been intercepted twice. His top target has been explosive 6-foot-2 junior wide receiver Bryce Petty, who has 11 receptions for 148 yards and a score. The running game is paced by senior Hurshel Ross III (12 carries, 89 yards) and Titus Ayomidele (17-47). The Hawks will play the rest of the season without senior Devin Jatczak (6-1, 225), who suffered a knee injury, Meaney said. Also expected to miss time due to injury is wide receiver Isaiah Cottman (6-0, 170), a bookend to Petty who has 4 receptions for 25 yards. East Aurora defeated Bartlett in 1998, but the Hawks have subsequently won 9 straight in the series and have scored at least 51 points in each of the last 6 meetings. The Tomcats enter with a 41-game losing streak that dates back to Week 6 of the 2008-09 season, a 14-0 win over Thornwood. Nevertheless, winless Bartlett can't take anything for granted. "We're not good enough to say we're going to just beat anybody," Meaney said. "We're fairly young and inexperienced so we have to play our best game to win. (The Tomcats) are definitely coming around. I just hope it's not the night we're there."

Next week: Metea Valley at Bartlett; East Aurora at South Elgin

South Elgin (0-2) at Neuqua Valley (1-1)

When: today at 7:30 p.m.

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last year: Neuqua Valley 42, South Elgin 20

Last week: Benet Academy 41, South Elgin 12; Naperville Central 58, Neuqua Valley 35

Outlook: South Elgin faces a second straight road test against a top-flight team. Defending Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division champion Neuqua Valley enters ranked No. 7 in the Class 8A poll by The Associated Press. The Wildcats defeated Naperville North 34-27 in Week 1. Neuqua is led by Illinois-bound senior wide receiver Mikey Dudek (5-11, 180). Dudek has 15 receptions for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns and has rushed 13 times for 101 yards and a score. Junior quarterback Broc Rutter 6-1, 175) has completed 24 of 39 attempts for 416 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has thrown 1 interception. Junior fullback T.J. Scruggs (5-11, 210) leads the Wildcats with 232 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on 49 carries. Junior running back Nolan Dean (6-1, 190) returned last week from an ankle injury and carried 13 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. The Storm has allowed 76 points and 662 total yards, 449 through the air. "Dudek is very versatile and definitely someone we have to keep an eye on," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "Their running game is something we have to try to control." Pistorio said the South Elgin offense must take advantage of an aggressive Neuqua Valley defense that often sends six players after the quarterback, including a three-man front with a nose guard playing zero technique. The Neuqua defense will be tested by South Elgin's dangerous passing offense a week after Naperville Central burned the Wildcats for 326 yards through the air and 506 total yards. The Storm attack is triggered by senior quarterback Rob Cuda. He has completed 29 of 61 attempts for 421 yards. He has thrown 3 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions. Cuda's main target has been 5-11 senior receiver Tyler Christensen (6 rec., 190 yards, 3 TD). "Schematically, we have to pick up their blitz packages and make sure we protect our quarterback and give him time."

Next week: East Aurora at South Elgin; St. Charles East at Neuqua Valley

Cary-Grove (0-2) at Huntley (2-0)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. Huntley athletic field

Last year: Cary-Grove 41, Huntley 14

Last week: Huntley 48, Elgin 16. Lake Zurich 25, Cary-Grove 0

Outlook: This Fox Valley Conference Valley Division opener pits last year's champion against the runner-up. Huntley enters undefeated while the Trojans seek their first victory in their third straight road game to open the season. The Red Raiders have beaten winless teams Bartlett and Elgin. Cary-Grove lost to state-ranked teams Wheaton North and Lake Zurich. Does such schedule disparity matter? "We'll see if that did us any good," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "You can only ride that so long." Said Huntley coach John Hart: "Sometimes I think people put way too much into that. I've had teams where we've played an incredible schedule and not done well in the playoffs. I also had some easy schedules and the team has gone far. The key is whoever plays better is going to win this football game." Cary-Grove looks to get back on track offensively after being shut down last week. Lake Zurich held the Trojans, who are playing without their top two injured ball carriers, to 76 yards of total offense. The option offense managed only 45 yards rushing. Huntley's defense is not the same caliber as Lake Zurich's, but the Red Raiders do boast an aggressive, blitzing defense led by an athletic defensive line consisting of 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior Brandon Dranka, 225-pound junior Marcus Wright II, 220-pound junior Chase Burkhart, 226-pound junior Zach Herbert and 220-pount junior Jeremy Behnke. Dranka leads the Red Raiders with 17 tackles (12 solo). "We've seen many highlight plays on film because their line has such physical ability," Seaburg said. "They're not the biggest line, but they're solid. If they weigh 230 pounds, there's not a lot of wasted space in that 230. We have to block with low pads and come off the ball as Cary-Grove has done traditionally. If we do that, we'll have a chance." The Red Raiders counter with a multidimensional offense quarterbacked by senior Blake Jacobs (23 of 40, 224 yards, 2 TD, 0 Int.). He is supported by the 1-2 punch of running backs Jake Scalise (19 carries, 184 yards, 2 TD) and Mitchell Kawell (27 carries, 174 yards, 4 TD). Huntley enters this key division game confident but wary. "I think they are still a really, really good football team with great coaches and a great program," Huntley coach John Hart said. "It's still a difficult task to beat them. We're going in there trying to challenge the champion, so we've got to play good football. Our team is very confident and I like that about them. It gives you a chance to compete and win."

Next week: Dundee-Crown at Cary-Grove; Crystal Lake Central at Huntley

Crystal Lake South (1-1) at Dundee-Crown (2-0)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at the D-C Bowl

Last year: Crystal Lake South 36, Dundee-Crown 22

Last week: Dundee-Crown 59, Streamwood 14; Crystal Lake South 14, Crystal Lake Central 7

Outlook: This is the most important game the Dundee-Crown football program has played since third-year coach Vito Andriola came to the Carpentersville school. Playing on their homecoming, a win in this FVC Valley opener for both teams would brand the Chargers a legitimate contender for the FVC Valley title. Last season the Chargers led the Gators 15-7 in the second quarter until CL South ripped off 29 unanswered points. CL South quarterback Austin Rogers avoided a sack and threw a 33-yard scoring strike to give the Gators a 22-15 halftime lead. In 2 games this season, Rogers has completed 15 of 32 attempts for 191 yards. He has 1 touchdown pass and 2 interceptions. South's top two rushers are seniors Eric Landis (29 carries, 129 yards) and Chris Ivers (17-61). The Charges counter with linebackers Tim Schanmaier and Jordon Linson, among others. "We have yet to play our type of defense because we've given up a couple of scrambles," D-C coach Vito Andriola said. "If that happens (today), we won't win. Last year we had (Rogers) for a 15-yard sack and he scrambled, threw a touchdown and beat us. And they've played a better schedule, cut and dried, which I think is a great advantage for them. And their games have been close. What happens when we have a close game?" The Chargers were not challenged by Elgin or Streamwood in two blowouts. D-C is led by three equally dangerous ball carriers: junior Caleb Parson (21 carries, 149 yards, 4 TD) and seniors TJ Moss (13-189-3) and Cordero Parson (17-113-3). The Chargers have gained 478 of their 521 total yards via the ground game. "I know they miss Cody Lane, but through 2 games it doesn't look they've been missing a lot," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "TJ Moss is a heck of a running back and then you have the Parson brothers coming t you from fullback and the wing. It's not like the Dundee-Crown teams we've seen."

Next week: Prairie Ridge at Crystal Lake South; Dundee-Crown at Cary-Grove

Jacobs (0-2) at Prairie Ridge (1-1)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Prairie Ridge athletic field

Last year: Jacobs 34, Prairie Ridge 16

Last week: St. Charles East 41, Jacobs 26; Prairie Ridge 35, Woodstock 17

Outlook: Jacobs is 0-2 after two nonconference games despite leading both at halftime. The Golden Eagles have been outscored 57-28 in second halves, including 41-20 last week at St. Charles East. "There's no doubt we have to learn how to finish," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "We've had opportunities in our first two games against good opponents, but we just couldn't finish. Last week was like nothing I've ever been associated with, but we just have to finish through adversity. If you get down, battle back. We didn't do that. Let's learn from that and get going." The Golden Eagles have allowed 683 yards in 2 games, but the offense has countered with 623 yards. Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney has completed 25 of 47 attempts for 297 yards. He has 2 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions. The agile, 6-foot-4, 215 pound senior has also rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown in 24 attempts. Junior Josh Walker has 95 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving, and sophomore running back Mat Barnes has gained 71 yards and scored once in 20 attempts. The Prairie Ridge offense begins with 6-foot-4, 300-pound tackle Shane Evans, who is weighing multiple Division-I offers. He blocks for junior quarterback Brett Covalt, a 6-3, 205-pound junior who last week ran for 2 touchdowns and threw for 2 touchdowns. Also in the backfield is junior Brent Anderson. He helped the Wolves topple Woodstock last week with nearly 130 yards rushing in the triple option offense. "We know our offense is capable, but we have to play very disciplined defense and stop (Covalt)," Mitz said. "He does a nice job running the option. And we have to figure out a way to neutralize Evan so he's not running around and knocking people off the field."

Next week: McHenry at Jacobs; Prairie Ridge at Crystal Lake South

Hampshire (2-0) at Crystal Lake Central (1-1)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Owen Metcalf Field

Last year: Crystal Lake Central 27, Hampshire 8

Last week: Hampshire 35, DeKalb 34; Crystal Lake South 14, Crystal Lake Central 7

Outlook: Hampshire is off to its best start since 2007, setting up the biggest game for the Whip-Purs since they joined the Fox Valley Conference's Fox Division three years ago. Hampshire has lost both previous FVC Fox meetings with the Tigers by a combined score of 82-14. Hampshire aspires for a more competitive showing, thanks to an offense that has scored 76 points and gained 990 yards in 2 games. The attack is led by a physical offensive line blocking for senior running backs Nick Kielbasa (41 carries, 308 yards, 3 TD) and Chris Calvin (19-230-2). Senior Tim Jansen (5-9, 170) has a pair of 100-yard receiving games and 4 touchdowns to his credit. Jansen is the prime target of quarterback Nick Mohlman. The junior has completed 12 of 20 attempts for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. "I'm happy with the way we're progressing," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said, "but after we sat down and looked at film we saw a lot of different areas we can improve on. We can't be happy with where we're at. The Tigers line up in a spread offense but still pound the ball with the running game. CL Central led Class 7A rival CL South 7-0 into the fourth quarter last week before giving up 2 late scores. The Tigers nearly won that game though starring running backs Ryan Williams and Connor Hines could not play because each was ejected from the game in Week 1. In the season-opening win over Grant, Williams ran for 197 yards on 22 carries and Hines carried 18 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. They balance senior quarterback Kyle Lavand. "They are very balanced with those two running backs and they are a physical team," Cavanaugh said. "At the same time their quarterback is very talented and can throw the ball well. They're a good team. It's going to be a challenge. They were the preseason pick to the conference by everybody, so we'll see. " Hampshire will play without three-year starter Ben Bednarek, who plays on both sides of the ball as a linebacker and tight end. He'll sit for a few weeks due to a shoulder injury, his coach said.

Next week: Crystal Lake Central at Huntley; Grayslake Central at Hampshire

Rockford Christian (0-2) at Burlington Central (0-2)

When: today at 7 p.m. on Rocket Hill

Last year: Burlington Central 36, Rockford Christian 3

Last week: Mendota 52, Rockford Christian 21; Stillman Valley 40, Burlington Central 0

Outlook: Two teams hungry for their first victory square off in the Big Northern East opener. Rockford Christian likes to spread the field and throw the ball, so a Central defense that has given up 629 of its 745 total yards on the ground must prepare for an aerial assault from the Royal Lions. "They have people all over the place and throw the ball 80 percent of the time," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "When that happens it only takes one guy to slip or break a coverage and they put 6 points on the board. Our team is in a good frame of mind. We've had a good week of practice." Unfortunately for the Rockets, the injury bug that bit them so hard last season has returned. Sophomore defensive back Adam Skirmont suffered internal injuries and may not return this season. Junior running back Trevor Davison, also a defensive player will miss this game with a knee injury. Senior running back Reilly Marino returned to practice this week after spraining an ankle early in the Week 1 loss to Hampshire. "It looks like we're into a season of fighting injuries again," Crabel said. "But this team still has the capability to go far as long as we do the things we need to do to be successful. We got it handed to us by Stillman Valley last week, but our offense took some good steps forward. I'd like to see us put some points up this week, but whether we're successful comes down to can we stop their passing game?

Next week: Genoa-Kingston at Rockford Christian; Harvard at Burlington Central

Westminster Christian (0-2) at Ottawa Marquette (0-2)

When: today at 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Mooseheart 46, Westminster Christian 17; Ottawa Marquette 48, Christian Liberty Academy 0

Outlook: Not only are the Warriors facing their third straight 2012 playoff qualifier to open the program's inaugural varsity season, they are taking on the defending Northeastern Athletic Conference champion on the road. And that's fine by the Warriors. "We'll come out with nothing to lose and throw everything at them but the kitchen sink," Westminster Christian coach John Davis said. "We're a good passing team. We'll see if we can't catch them off-balance. We've added a few new things to the playbook, so I think we might go in swinging." Through 2 games the Warriors have rushed for 286 yards and passed for 393. Senior running back DeShawn Bloom leads the team with 184 yards and 2 touchdowns on 27 carries (6.8 avg.). Junior quarterback Max Tucker has completed 32 of 75 attempts for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. Freshman Scotty Graziano has emerged as Westminster's top receiver with 7 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. Bloom has 7 catches for 88 yards and William Rathjen has 5 receptions, 2 of which went for touchdowns. However, the Warriors will be without Rathjen, a senior fullback/linebacker this week due to a shoulder injury suffered in the Mooseheart game last week. Nevertheless, Davis believes his team is up for the challenge of facing a team that went 10-1 a year ago. "For us it's a David and Goliath situation and when you're the underdog you have nothing to lose," he said. "We're just really excited to play them."

Next week: Kirkland Hiawatha at Westminster Christian; Ottawa Marquette at Chicago Hope Academy

St. Edward (2-0) at Marmion (2-0)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Fichtel Field

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last year: Marmion 49, St. Edward 16

Last week: Marmion 45, Ottawa 0; St. Edward 43, Hamilton West Hancock 0

Outlook: St. Edward steps up the caliber of competition in the Suburban Christian Blue opener. This will likely be the final meeting between these longtime conference opponents. St. Edward leaves for the Metro Suburban Conference next season, meaning the Class 4A Green Wave is unlikely to face Class 6A Marmion in the future. St. Edward disposed of Genoa-Kingston and Hamilton West Hancock by a combined score of 83-21, scoring 43 points in each outing. Marmion also beat a pair of winless teams, Plainfield and Ottawa, by a combined score of 70-7. "This is a whole other step up," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said of the Cadets. "Marmion has a very solid team this year, but we think we have a good team, too. This week will be the ultimate gauge of what we can do this season. Are we going to be a playoff team or aren't we? If we can compete with a 6A team, it will be a positive for us." The Cadets are led by the backfield tandem of junior Reilly Dougherty (10 carries, 163 yards, 1 TD) and sophomore Lucas Warren (26-162-3). Senior quarterback Brock Krueger (6-2, 205) has completed 11 of 25 attempts for 272 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The St. Edward defense is led by senior linebacker Jack Tierney (21 tackles), end Tighe Koehring (16) lineman Collin Holte (15) and linebacker Will Bothwell (13). The Green Wave defense has forced 1 turnover in 2 games. The St. Edward offense is keyed by senior DaVontae Elam, who has rushed for 275 yards and 6 touchdowns on 22 carries (12.5 avg.). Senior Mikey Castoro has gained 160 yards on 7 carries and has 2 receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. "We expect a good game," Rolando said. "They are big and tough and good. They run the ball well, they are hard nosed and well coached. We haven't really had a chance to test all of our offense yet, so we're looking forward to the opportunity."

Next week: Marmion at Marian Central; IC Catholic Prep at St. Edward

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