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

Upstate Eight River

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

Last week: St. Charles East 42, Elgin 16; Geneva 35, St. Charles North 28.

Last year: St. Charles East 34, Geneva 27.

Outlook: Unless rain becomes a factor, this has the potential to go up and down the field. St. Charles East quarterback Jimmy Mitchell has completed 79 of 139 passes for 1,213 yards, 17 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Geneva counterpart Daniel Santacaterina is 68 of 131 for 1,212 yards, 13 touchdowns, 8 interceptions. "It might be a shootout," said St. Charles East coach Mike Fields, who returns to Geneva for just the second time in the five seasons since he left the Geneva program to coach the Saints. Geneva's Pace Temple and Kyle Brown are both over 19.5 yards per catch and have combined for 10 of the Vikings' 13 receiving touchdowns. The Saints are slightly less explosive yet more diverse in their receiving weapons, with Brannon Barry, Mitch Munroe, Phil Hopper and Mo Flanigan all at or above 275 yards receiving. The ground games, however, show major separation. Geneva tailback T.J. Miller's 564 yards rushing are more than the entire Saints team, though the return of Erik Anderson from injury will help Ramon Lopez (236 yards, 4 touchdowns) considerably. Defensively, St. Charles East hopes for little falloff after injuries to linebackers Jon Finn and Pat Frio, who is also the place-kicker. Fields looks to an experienced senior, Vince Locascio, and juniors Tommy Fink and Kyle Cook to help fill the void. On Geneva's defensive front, usual suspects Billy Douds and impact sophomore Stephen Kemp will try to put the heat on Mitchell, but the Saints line led by all-conference center Ben Smith and left tackle Brennan Bosch is a team strength. Geneva linebacker Joe Boenzi and Temple, with 3 interceptions, anchor the second and third levels of the Vikings' defense. When it comes down to it, turnovers may decide this one, or maybe one of Wicinski's fake punts or onside kicks. Regardless, Fields relishes this friendly rivalry and his friend feels the same way. "I think it'll be interesting how my team responds," Wicinski said. "One big game after another."

Next week:Streamwood (0-5, 0-2) at St. Charles East, Oct. 11; Geneva at Elgin (0-5, 0-3), Oct. 11.

Aurora Central Catholic (3-2, 1-2) at Walther Christian (1-4, 1-2)

Suburban Christian Gold

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: St. Edward 35, ACC 21; Wheaton Academy 47, Walther Lutheran 25.

Last year: ACC 42, Walther Christian 0.

Outlook: ACC has beatable Guerin in Week 7 and toughies Marmion and Montini to end the regular season, so to reach the playoffs a second straight year this is almost a must-win. It won't be a cakewalk. Walther quarterback David Walton can be a nightmare to contain, running for 68 yards last week plus touchdown passes to quality receiver Kurtis Duff and to tailback Pierre Pelley, who won't play due to injury. With up to nine players going both ways, however, the Broncos tend to wear out. Despite a good lineman in Walther's Roderick Sanders, ACC has the edge up front although three-year starter Tony Hizo is out, replaced by Jeff Kus and Alec Licar on defense, Chris Niwell on offense. Last week the line allowed Cody Ekstrom to swoop in for 19 tackles with a forced fumble recovered by Eddie Gonzalez. ACC coach Brian Casey believes the Chargers have the edge most spots on the field this week, but must convert more than 2-of-12 third downs as against St. Edward. Casey seeks offensive explosiveness, and particularly as this game goes on quarterback Matt Schaefer and backs Julian Rios and Brian Bohr might provide that.

Next week: ACC at Guerin (2-3, 0-3), Oct. 12; Chicago Christian (2-3, 1-2) at Walther Christian, Oct. 12.

Kaneland (5-0, 1-0) at DeKalb (3-2, 0-1)

Northern Illinois Big 12 East

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

Last week: Kaneland 49, Rochelle 20; DeKalb 42, Streator 14.

Last year: Kaneland 66, DeKalb 23.

Outlook: This looks to be one of DeKalb's better teams and a main reason is junior running back Dre Brown. Bearing three MAC scholarship offers and another from Illinois, according to the Daily Chronicle the 190-pound back has run for 606 yards and 11 touchdowns. If he's not getting the ball it's usually been Barbs quarterback Jack Sauter running it himself, for 500 yards and 6 touchdowns. DeKalb took a Week 3 loss to Big 12 East contender Sycamore, 48-26, and against a common foe with Kaneland, beat Streator 42-14 (Kaneland won 42-0). Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said containing Brown and Sauter is the key with players such as last week's 15-tackle linebacker Gary Koehring, Dylan Nauert, J.R. Vest, Grant Wooten and Isaac Swithers. The season-ending knee injury to tailback Jesse Balluff has made Swithers a very important part of this team. He ran for 93 yards and Knights quarterback Drew David for 129 in the win over Rochelle, prompting Fedderly to once again praise his offensive line of Sam Bower, Zach Thielk, Shane Jorgensen, Justin Diddell and Alex Snyder. The line may get stronger with the possible return of Joe Komel from injury. Turnovers will be huge in this game of potent offenses; also, if the Kaneland can bottle up Dre Brown, Sauter has thrown 3 touchdowns passes to 4 interceptions. It's hard to be one-dimensional against Kaneland.

Next week: Kaneland at Yorkville (4-1, 1-0), Oct. 11; Morris (2-3, 0-1) at DeKalb, Oct. 11.

Streamwood (0-5, 0-2) at St. Charles North (2-3, 1-2)

Upstate Eight River

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

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

Last week: Larkin 27, Streamwood 21; Geneva 35, St. Charles North 28.

Last year: St. Charles North 31, Streamwood 14.

Outlook: With Batavia looming in Week 7 and Larkin and South Elgin thereafter, St. Charles North can't afford slip-ups and hope to make the playoffs. There should be no slip-up here provided the North Stars don't let Streamwood quarterback Mason Polich go crazy. Still, the Sabres topped out with last week's 3-touchdown effort, the least the North Stars have scored in any game. Veteran North Stars cornerback Jonathan Elliott is out injured, so Dylan Hunter and Tyler Bell will help ballhawk Mitchell Riggs and Nick Drawant contain Streamwood receivers Cole Segar, Kevin Drwal and Noah Polich, the QB's younger brother. Given the success of St. Charles North tailback Evan Kurtz, up to about 850 yards and 14 touchdowns, and linebacker Reece Conroyd and Riggs on the other side of the ball, time of possession and field position should go the North Stars' way. If things go right this opponent may also provide an opportunity for quarterback Erik Miller to work on the passing game. And despite last week's loss, St. Charles North enters this game confident it can make things happen, having rallied from a 28-0 deficit. "We know we can make adjustments to win football games in the second half," said coach Rob Pomazak.

Next week: Streamwood at St. Charles East (4-1, 2-0), Oct. 11; Batavia (4-1, 2-0) at St. Charles North, Oct. 11.

West Aurora (1-4, 0-3) at Glenbard North (4-1, 3-0)

DuPage Valley Conference

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

Last week: Naperville Central 56, West Aurora 0; Glenbard North 40, Glenbard East 0.

Last year: Glenbard North 28, West Aurora 14.

Outlook: Last week West Aurora tried to defend Naperville Central's Illinois State-bound quarterback Jake Kolbe. Now it's the 2012 Illinois Gatorade player of the year, Glenbard North tailback Justin Jackson, a Northwestern recruit. Defensive lineman Devontae Ward and linebacker Cody Tinsley are among those charged to contain Jackson but it'll take 11 to the ball. Jackson, who also plays cornerback, averages 28 carries, patiently waiting to break one. He's run for 1,229 yards and 17 touchdowns already; add his 193 yards receiving and he accounts for 70 percent of the Panthers' total. "There's nobody out there like him in the state," said West Aurora coach Nate Eimer. Though last week's scoreboard didn't show it, Eimer saw good things from his offensive line of Karl Fowler, Hayden Sak, Colin Stewart, Sam Deischer and Stephen Castellanos, who paved the way for 100 yards rushing by Isaiah Ruffin. Coming off a great week of practice, Eimer said the Blackhawks' must dominate time of possession and convert their short-yardage opportunities at a high rate to limit Jackson's touches. "We need to play mistake-free football and we need people to make plays," Eimer said.

Next week: Wheaton North (4-1, 2-1) at West Aurora, Oct. 11; Glenbard North at Naperville Central (5-0, 3-0), Oct. 11.

Marmion (4-1, 2-1) at Aurora Christian (5-0, 3-0)

Suburban Christian Blue

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Aurora Christian 24, St. Francis 13; Montini 27, Marmion 3.

Last year: Aurora Christian 38, Marmion 14.

Outlook: The SCC Blue grind continues. Positives that Marmion brings from the Montini game including allowing only 2 touchdowns, and with strong line play by Joe Talbot and Nick Ferraro, forcing the Broncos into five three-and-outs in the second half. Tailback Jordan Glasgow ran for 84 yards but Marmion could never finish drives. Part of that was Montini's excellent defense including a very stout defensive front four, and whether Aurora Christian goes with a three- or four-man front the Cadets will again face a big, strong and fast defensive wall. Whether it's catching Brock Krueger's passes or running the ball -- without fullback Lucas Warren this week, out injured -- Marmion coach Dan Thorpe seeks offensive consistency. That Aurora Christian defense, which last week featured Jonah Walker on the line, Noah Roberts coming up from safety and Legend Smith knocking down passes at cornerback, will come in stoked after holding St. Francis' standout running back James Butler to 45 yards on 14 carries. What's more, Thorpe sees Eagles kicker Trevor Hills making is team drive 80 yards via kickoff touchbacks. Offensively, last week tailback Smith had career highs of 22 carries for 183 yards. Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe spent much of the first few weeks (against lesser competition than Marmion) developing chemistry between new varsity quarterback Austin Bray and his veteran offensive line. Bray's up to 1,013 yards passing with 17 touchdowns to 2 interceptions. Now here comes Smith with the wrinkle. "We wanted him to be a complete surprise," Beebe said. Now that he's no longer a surprise it spreads out opposing defenses that much more.

Next week: St. Francis (3-2, 1-2) at Marmion, Oct. 11; Aurora Christian at IC Catholic (3-2, 2-1), Oct. 12.

Batavia (4-1, 2-0) at Larkin (3-2, 2-1)

Upstate Eight River

Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Field in Elgin.

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

Last week: Batavia 48, West Chicago 7; Larkin 27, Streamwood 21.

Last year: Batavia 48, Larkin 0.

Outlook: Batavia's last two opponents, Streamwood and West Chicago, are a combined 0-10. Larkin's record indicates the Royals might provide a greater pushback but their wins have come against Streamwood, West Chicago and Elgin, a combined 0-15. Never to take anyone lightly, Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron notes Larkin's speed, blitzing ability, size on the line and small-but-deadly back Damion Clemons and said: "They're starting to believe." But despite an easier middle-third of the schedule Batavia is clicking especially on the offensive and defensive lines. It's to the point where linemen such as Pat Gamble, Noah Cotten and Mitch Krusz -- who scored on a 6-yard run last week -- enter as fullbacks and tight ends for reps, alongside tailback Anthony Scaccia in the wildcat, or to work on things for down the road. The Bulldogs will lack banged-up defensive end Ryan Minniti but actually get stronger with the return of defensive tackle James Millette, linebackers Donovan Kilker and Anthony Thielk and defensive back Brandon Dean. Piron said Larkin, which runs a spread offense like Batavia, wants to make a statement. It would be a mighty one indeed.

Next week: Batavia at St. Charles North (2-3, 1-2), Oct. 11; Larkin at Bartlett (1-4), Oct. 11.

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