Glenbard North senior running back Justin Jackson and Batavia senior safety Forrest Gilbertson have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their performances in Week 3 of the high school football season.
Jackson rushed for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Panthers' 37-28 victory over Naperville North, while Gilbertson forced a fumble, had an interception and made 8 tackles in a 49-20 decision over Geneva.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Justin Jackson, Glenbard North: The Panthers' 6-foot, 185-pound senior running back carried the load again in a 37-28 DuPage Valley Conference victory over Naperville North. Jackson, committed to Northwestern, carried the ball 44 times for 332 yards and touchdowns of 4, 24, 3 and 11 yards.
Merrick Gentile, Grayslake North: Gentile is for real. The sophomore quarterback has burst onto the varsity scene in leading the Knights to a 3-0 start. He rushed for 137 yards (23 carries) and 5 touchdowns, while also throwing for a score, in a 42-14 win over Woodstock. He finished 11-of-21 passing for 126 yards.
Mitch Munroe, St. Charles East: The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior wideout caught 6 passes for 139 yards in a 28-21 overtime win over St. Charles North. Among his several big plays were an 89-yard touchdown catch and the 2-point conversion grab that sent the game into overtime after the initial play was nullified by penalty.
Travon Royal, Elk Grove: The senior running back broke open a close game against visiting Hoffman Estates by running for 3 second-half touchdowns in a 38-14 Elk Grove victory. Royal, the Grens' place kicker, also connected on a 34-yard field goal and made all 5 of his PAT kicks in the Mid-Suburban League crossover.
Hunter Williams, Jacobs: This veteran wide receiver's precise route running was praised by his coach following a 20-0 win at Prairie Ridge in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division opener. Williams (6-0, 200) caught 8 passes for 148 yards, including touchdown receptions of 42, 32 and 31 yards, to help the Golden Eagles register their first victory of the season.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Forrest Gilbertson, Batavia: A three-year starter, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior safety lowered the boom in the Bulldogs' 49-20 win over rival Geneva. Gilbertson made 8 tackles, delivered a crushing hit to force a fumble, and after teammate Anthony Thielk tipped a pass, intercepted it to thwart a Geneva touchdown.
Fabian Gutierrez, Dundee-Crown: This senior cornerback nabbed a key interception to all but seal Dundee-Crown's 14-13 victory over Crystal Lake South. Gutierrez picked off a fourth-down pass at his own 15-yard line with 2:07 left to thwart a potential go-ahead drive. He also made 4 solo tackles, assisted on 2 others and defended 2 passes to help the Chargers improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1993.
Joey Lovelle, Wauconda: Lovelle hurts. Opposing offenses, that is. A senior cornerback and good all-around athlete, he's played like a savvy veteran in helping the Bulldogs get off to a perfect start. His 2 interceptions and fumble recovery helped the Bulldogs improve to 3-0 with an 18-7 win over Vernon Hills.
Steve Smearman, Palatine: Smearman led the way from his defensive end position in the Pirates' 38-7 victory over Buffalo Grove as a program known for its offensive excellence is adding defense to the mix. Smearman had 8 tackles and forced a fumble as the Bison were held to 122 total yards of offense. Through three games, Palatine has yielded a total of 31 points to its opponents.
Sam Symeonides, IC Catholic Prep: Listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, in the pivotal game on the Suburban Christian Gold schedule the senior defensive tackle gave away up to 85 pounds against opposing Aurora Central Catholic linemen. Symeonides overcame that deficit to make 16 tackles with a sack in the Knights' 21-14 victory.