Think about this for a moment.
The official halfway point of the high school football regular season will be reached when the teams head for the locker room at halftime of their respective games this weekend.
While the season often seems to go by like a blur, there's still plenty of football remaining before I begin turning my attention to the basketball court.
In fact, this is one of the rare years that will find 5 Fridays in November -- meaning that Illinois High School Association state championship weekend will take place on Nov. 29-30 at Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.
Here's a look at our where our area football teams stand at the "almost" halfway mark:
Strengths: The 2-time defending Class 3A state champion Eagles don't rebuild -- they reload.
Coach Don Beebe has a knack for developing quarterbacks and junior Austin Bray is another name on a long list of signalcallers at Aurora Christian that includes Anthony Maddie and Ryan McQuade.
In 4 weeks, Bray already has thrown 17 touchdown passes as the Eagles have outscored their opponents by a staggering 233-21 margin.
Aurora Christian has the ability to beat teams in all 3 areas of the game -- offense, defense and special teams. Last weekend, junior Trevor Hills booted a school-record 45-yard field goal during the Eagles' 52-14 victory over Wheaton Academy.
With a rugged upcoming schedule that includes St. Francis, Marmion, IC Catholic Prep and Montini (teams own a combined record of 14-2) we'll know a lot more about the Eagles by Week 9.
Signature moment: Legend Smith, Brandon Walgren and Dan Brown all returned interceptions for TDs during the Eagles' season opener against DuSable.
Strengths: Another local team that seems to reload every year.
Fueled by a big and experienced offensive line, the Knights also have many ways they can beat opponents. Senior tailback Jesse Balluff rushed for 5 touchdowns in the team's first 2 games before leaving Week 3 with a first-quarter knee injury.
Next man up -- reserve Nate Dyer came in for Balluff and enjoyed a 95-yard, 3-TD performance during a 48-7 win over Sterling.
Meanwhile, senior quarterback Drew David showed what he can do when opponents try and gear up for the Knights' running attack as he tossed 5 TD passes in Kaneland's 42-0 Week 4 victory over Streator.
How good are the Knights?
They'll get a chance to answer that question to some extent when they host unbeaten Rochelle (4-0) Friday night.
Signature moment: Plenty to choose from but I'll say the Knights extending their regular season unbeaten streak to 32 with last weekend's win against Streator.
Strengths: A lot of depth in the offensive backfield.
When junior tailback Jordan Glasgow, the team's leading rusher from 2012, was sidelined for Week 1 and 2 with an ankle injury, the Cadets didn't miss a beat. Instead, head coach Dan Thorpe turned to 2-way starter Mike Montalbano, Josh Meyers, Enzo Olabi, Sean Campbell, Sam Breen, Mitch Feltz and sophomore bulldozing back Lucas Warren for support.
Glasgow returned to the lineup on a limited basis in Week 3 and scored a touchdown in Marmion's 27-10 victory over St. Edward and gained 72 yards on 12 carries with another TD during the team's 28-10 win over Marian Central Catholic last weekend.
Signature moment: Defensive back Seth Sevenich's 2-interception game against Marian.
Aurora Cen. Catholic
Strengths: The Chargers' double-wing offense, led by running backs Julian Rios, Brian Bohr, Hunter Fiorito and Matt Schaefer. Four different players scored TDs in last week's 28-6 win over Chicago Christian.
With regular season-ending games scheduled against a pair of unbeaten teams -- Marmion and Montini -- the Chargers can make things a lot easier on themselves with at least 2 victories over the next 3 weeks against St. Edward, Walther Christian and Guerin.
Signature moment: Leading 7-6 at halftime last Friday, the Chargers opened the second half with Fiorito's 57-yard TD run.
Strengths: An explosive offense, led by veteran quarterback Micah Coffey and senior tailback Anthony Scaccia. Since suffering a 31-25 nonconference loss to Richards in Week 2, the Bulldogs have scored 105 points. Coffey ran for 3 TDs and Scaccia rushed for 183 yards against Geneva, and Coffey passed for 5 TDs last Saturday against Streamwood.
Their back-to-back games against St. Charles North (Oct. 11) and St. Charles East (Oct. 18) could determine the Upstate Eight River title.
Signature moment: Michael Moffatt's acrobatic 45-yard TD catch in the third quarter of Batavia's 29-26 Week 1 win over Glenbard North.
St. Charles East
Strengths: Senior quarterback Jimmy Mitchell has plenty of weapons to choose from, including receivers Brannon Barry, Mo Flanigan, A.J. Washington, Mitch Munroe and tight end Phil Hopper.
Mitchell has already thrown 12 TD passes to the 5 aforementioned receivers -- Hopper (3), Munroe (3), Barry (2), Flanigan (2) and Washington (2).
Signature moment: Barry's 10-yard TD run in overtime that lifted the Saints to a 28-21 victory over St. Charles North.
Strengths: A balanced offensive attack that includes quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, tailbacks T.J. Miller and Max Woodworth, and receivers Pace Temple, Kyle Brown and Michael Landi.
Geneva overcame 4 turnovers and 12 penalties for 120 yards during last week's 41-34 win over Larkin. Vikings coach Rob Wicinski may have come up with the quote of the young season after the game. "We've got issues," he said. "Officials were flagging me on the sideline. Even the coaches have got to get disciplined up."
Signature moment: Justin Nebel's 81-yard kickoff return for a TD against Larkin.
St. Charles North
Strengths: The North Stars' offensive line, anchored by 6-6, 288-pound left tackle Chase Gianacakos, Camden Cotter, Ryan Bagnell, Brendan McCarthy, Stephen Bancroft and tight end Garrett Johnson.
Bruising senior tailback Evan Kurtz has tallied 11 TDs in 4 games.
Perhaps the biggest test for the North Stars will come in their next down-to-the-wire game -- both of their losses were decided in overtime.
Signature moment: Kurtz's 76-yard fourth-quarter TD run that gave the North Stars a momentary 21-13 lead over St. Charles East in Week 3.
Strengths: A never-say-die attitude that was exemplified during last week's 42-7 loss to state-ranked WW South with Drake Spears' diving interception late in the first half.
Signature moment: The Blackhawks' 46-18 season-opening triumph over East Aurora during the 121st meeting between the cross-town schools.
You can reach Craig Brueske at firstname.lastname@example.org
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