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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 Dave Oberhelman

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

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Rochelle (4-0, 0-0) at Kaneland (4-0, 0-0)

Northern Illinois Big 12 East

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

Last week: Rochelle 58, Sterling 21; Kaneland 42, Streator 0.

Last year: Kaneland 34, Rochelle 6.

Outlook: After whomping nonconference and NIB12 crossover foes these two start deciding the East title. Hall of Fame Rochelle coach Kevin Crandall has run the Wing-T for years and has a skilled cast to execute it -- quarterback Angel Burciaga, running backs Tommy Sprowl and Evan White and fullback Marquez Felix. White and Felix have run for some 540 and 619 yards, respectively. But the Hubs lack some size and experience up front, and Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly has noticed Rochelle running a little spread. Crandall said Burciaga has thrown for about 360 yards, favoring tight end Keegan Akers. "I wouldn't be surprised if we see a little of that," Fedderly said, particularly against Knights' 250-plus defensive linemen Jaumaureo Phillips, Justin Diddell and Andrew Kray. "We'll try to do what we do better than they defend it," Crandall said. Kaneland quarterback Drew David had a fantastic day against Streator with 5 passing touchdowns and another rushing, but it was a depressing week without three-year starting tailback Jesse Balluff, who on Tuesday underwent surgery to repair a Week 3 ACL and meniscus tear. So with Isaac Swithers getting more reps at tailback and guard Sam Bower filling in for another injured Knight, Joe Komel, depth will prove key against Rochelle and down the line."We've got to kind of move on and get these players ready for our first conference game," Fedderly said.

Next week: Yorkville (3-1, 0-0) at Rochelle, Oct. 4; Kaneland at DeKalb (2-2, 0-1), Oct. 4.

Montini (4-0, 2-0) at Marmion (4-0, 2-0)

Suburban Christian Blue

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

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

Last week: Montini 30, St. Francis 7; Marmion 28, Marian Central 10.

Last year: Montini 30, Marmion 22.

Outlook:This is the first time Montini will be on the Fichtel Field grass since 2009 when Marmion won 18-7. Broncos coach Chris Andriano is concerned with the speed and deception of Marmion's double-wing offense featuring Mike Montalbano and Josh Meyers, who counter 225-pound fullback Lucas Warren. The Broncos' own burner, Leon Thornton III, broke out with 3 touchdowns receptions including an early 83-yarder against St. Francis. Notwithstanding 260-pound Oscar Garza this is not Marmion's biggest offensive line, though three-year starter Zach Siwiec has seen it all. Montini's Ohio State-bound defensive end Dylan Thompson continues to dominate, with 2 more sacks last week and 10 tackles to tie linebacker Mike Maduko for team honors. Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said long drives were key to last week's win at Marian, and again third down will be big in this one, which showcases solid quarterbacks in Montini's Alex Wills and Marmion's Brock Krueger -- who completed 10 of 16 passes for 160 yards. Whether it was pass-run, limiting the big play, Seth Sevenich's 2 interceptions or chucking receivers at the line, Marmion kept Marian off balance and that's what it'll take against Montini. "We've got to be able to move the ball offensively, keep their offense off the field," Thorpe said.

Next week: IC Catholic (3-1, 2-0) at Montini, Oct. 4; Marmion at Aurora Christian (4-0, 2-0), Oct. 4.

Elgin (0-4, 0-2) at St. Charles East (3-1, 1-0)

Upstate Eight River

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

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

Last week: St. Charles North 49, Elgin 0; Neuqua Valley 54, St. Charles East 28.

Last year: St Charles East 58, Elgin 14.

Outlook: Despite the Neuqua loss St. Charles East coach Mike Fields sounded upbeat. "We're fine," he said. "It is what it is, and we learn from those things and move on." One thing learned was better kick coverage, but it's unlikely the Saints will see a returner like Neuqua's Mikey Dudek again. Fields approved of the 28 points put up, the 10 completions for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns between quarterback Jimmy Mitchell and tight end Phil Hopper. Neuqua coach Bill Ellinghaus praised physical Saints linemen Brennan Bosch, Steve Jagodzinski, Ben Smith, Zach Reyes and Zach Roberts. The no-huddle set should march in a homecoming game against an Elgin squad that's allowed 195 points. Last week St. Charles North held Elgin back Jaylen Clemons to 5 yards on 4 carries. This week Saints nose tackle Blake Fialka -- "the heart and soul of our defensive line," Fields said -- tries to disrupt as safety Vince Locascio spies Maroons quarterback Ryan Sitter. "We're not looking past anybody," Fields said.

Next week: East Aurora (0-4) at Elgin, Oct. 4; St. Charles East at Geneva (2-2, 1-1), Oct. 4.

Naperville Central (4-0, 2-0) at West Aurora (1-3, 0-2)

DuPage Valley Conference

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

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

Last week: Naperville Central 55, Glenbard East 0; Wheaton Warrenville South 42, West Aurora 7.

Last year: Naperville Central 42, West Aurora 7.

Outlook: West Aurora's Drake Spears picked off a WW South pass, Isaiah Ruffin ran for 68 yards and Daquan Cross had a decent night returning a pair of kicks. On paper those were the highlights against last week's DVC contender. Now, another one. Naperville Central has displayed an even higher-octane offense than WW South, with Illinois State-bound quarterback Jake Kolbe passing to Ben Andreas and Mike Kolzow and Kevin Clifford running the ball. West Aurora coach Nate Eimer also likes the Redhawks linebacking crew and defensive line, and he'll start Blackhawks senior Colin Stewart at center to try to get a push. West didn't commit a slew of penalties last week but enough to start drives at first-and-15. Trying to light a spark, Eimer had Quintez Jones at tight end and defensive end as well as his usual quarterback spot. "How many starting quarterbacks would do that," Eimer wondered. "I just can't say enough about how great of a kid he is."

Next week: Naperville Central at WW South (4-0, 2-0), Oct. 4; West Aurora at Glenbard North (3-1, 2-0), Oct. 4.

St. Edward (2-2, 0-2) at Aurora Cen. Catholic (3-1, 1-1)

Suburban Christian Conference crossover

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

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

Last week: Immaculate Conception 21, St. Edward 17; ACC 38, Chicago Christian 6.

Last year: ACC 25, St. Edward 7.

Outlook: It's Aurora Central Catholic's homecoming. "If we play with the same intensity that we played with last week, it's going to be a pretty damper dance," said Chargers coach Brian Casey. ACC must limit the penalties that thwarted long drives last week and have to contain St. Edward's Davontae Elam, who ran a reported 35 times for 256 yards against IC. Long plays are telling, Casey said: St. Ed had six over 50 yards to whup Genoa-Kingston and three over 20 in a loss to Marmion. ACC also can't fall asleep on Green Wave quarterback Bryan O'Neill. Offensively the Chargers will continue to pound the ball behind its stout offensive line, continuing the rhythm of quarterback Matt Schaefer and backs Brian Bohr, Julian Rios and Hunter Fiorito, who has come out of nowhere to run for 153 yards, 2 touchdowns. "If we can continue to put ourselves in a situation where we can control tempo, we control pace, I think we're in a good spot," Casey said.

Next week: Chicago Christian (1-3, 0-2) at St. Edward, Oct. 4; ACC at Walther Lutheran (1-3, 1-1), Oct. 5.

Aurora Christian (4-0, 2-0) at St. Francis (3-1, 1-1) Suburban Christian Blue

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Aurora Christian 52, Wheaton Academy 14; Montini 30, St. Francis 7.

Last year: Aurora Christian 41, St. Francis 14.

Outlook:Romping through its first four games by a cumulative 230-21 margin, Aurora Christian finally faces stern competition. "Obviously it's going to be at a different pace for us," Eagles coach Don Beebe said. Paving the way for tailback Legend Smith and 6-3, 220-pound junior quarterback Austin Bray, two-way standout Jonah Walker heads a line among the strongest St. Francis will see. From Walker to outside linebacker Chase Tomney to safety Noah Roberts the Eagles will need lots of hats to limit St. Francis star running back James Butler, who has run for 650 yards and 9 touchdowns on 68 carries. Montini contained him to 103 yards last week. Beebe believes close contests are decided by turnovers, and last week St. Francis' Tom Petrando and Mike Shaw each caused fumbles the Spartans recovered. St. Francis celebrates its homecoming and dedication of the Kuhn Memorial Stadium, postponed due to the Week 1 storms.

Next week: Marmion (4-0, 2-0) at Aurora Christian, Oct. 4; St. Francis at Marian Central (3-1, 1-1), Oct. 4.

West Chicago (0-4) at Batavia (3-1)

Upstate Eight Conference crossover

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

Last week: Waubonsie Valley 56, West Chicago 7; Batavia 56, Streamwood 14.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Batavia, celebrating homecoming, has similar goals to last week's outing: execute. "We took care of business and came out healthy," Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron said. Batavia beat Streamwood behind Micah Coffey's 12-of-14 passing for 5 touchdowns and Anthony Scaccia's 131 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, but also got good skilled play from backs such as Blake Crowder and Andrew Clark. Defensive lineman Ryan Minniti dominated and looks to repeat against West Chicago. Coach Bill Bicker brings tailback Danny Lazzerini, who has run for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns; and quarterback Jordan Lelito, who has thrown for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns. What West Chicago also offers is a chance for Batavia to tune up against a 3-5 defense and a variety of offensive schemes from option to spread to double wing. On paper the Bulldogs win handily, but Piron sees it in terms of X's and O's: "This has been a very valuable week for us right now," he said.

Next week: Bartlett (1-3, 1-1) at West Chicago, Oct. 4; Batavia at Larkin (2-2, 1-1), Oct 5.

St. Charles North (2-2, 1-1) at Geneva (2-2, 1-1)

Upstate Eight River

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: St. Charles North 49, Elgin 0; Geneva 41, Larkin 34.

Last year: St. Charles North 25, Geneva 6.

Outlook: This game could launch the winner into a solid second half. "Whoever can win this one definitely helps their position trying to get into the playoffs," said Geneva coach Rob Wicinski. On face value it would seem to St. Charles North's Evan Kurtz running, North Stars tackles Chase Gianacakos and Camden Cotter blocking, and Vikings quarterback Daniel Santacaterina hitting receivers Pace Temple, Kyle Brown and Mike Landi. But that can't be all. St. Charles North's Ball State-bound tight end Garrett Johnson is a constant threat and receiver Dylan Hunter is chipping away. Geneva's ground game has been rounding into form with T.J. Miller hitting Larkin for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak hopes for a solid game by his defensive front of Rich Mix, Logan Hanson and James Glavin; they helped three-year starting linebacker Reece Conroyd set the program tackles record last week, now up to 265. Geneva? "I just want to be solid," Wicinski said, referring to assignments, responsibilities, mistakes. Sophomore defensive tackle Stephen Kemp will again be asked to give up size and plug gaps while ends Billy Douds and Matt Loberg contain North Stars quarterback Erik Miller, whose running ability is a wild card. "We're going to rely on speed and physicality, then hopefully win the turnover battle," Pomazak said.

Next week: Streamwood (0-4, 0-1) at St. Charles North, Oct. 4; St. Charles East (3-1, 1-0) at Geneva, Oct. 4.

Burlington Central (1-3, 1-1) at Genoa-Kingston (2-2, 2-0)

When: today at 7 p.m.

Last year: Burlington Central 24, Genoa-Kingston 16

Last week: Harvard 17, Burlington Central 13; Genoa-Kingston 42, Rockford Christian 21

Outlook: Just when the Rockets were getting used to a new offensive backfield configuration, another injury has forced a change. Parth Patel, who started the last 2 games at quarterback, left Monday's practice with concussion symptoms and is unlikely to play this week, coach Rich Crabel said. Casey Matthews, who last week gained ? yards as a running back, returns to quarterback, where he started the first 2 games. Junior Trevor Davison returns from an injury this week to fill Mattthews' spot at running back alongside senior Reilly Marino. Both Matthews and Marino are two-way starters. Got all that? "We'll be fine in the backfield," Crabel said. Genoa-Kingston opened the season with losses to St. Edward and Rockford Lutheran but bounced back to defeat perennial league power Richmond-Burton, 29-28, in Week 3. "They won the conference at the sophomore level last year and they are pretty talented," Crabel said. "They have some good team speed and some good people up front. It will be another battle for us. The biggest thing defensively is staying disciplined. Offensively, we need more consistency."

Next week: Marengo (0-4) at Burlington Central; Winnebago at Genoa-Kingston

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