Elgin (0-7, 0-4) at Streamwood (0-7, 0-4)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last year: Streamwood 27, Elgin 8
Last week: Geneva 42, Elgin 20; St. Charles East 42, Streamwood 27
Outlook: With tough road games looming in Week 9 for each of these winless Upstate Eight River rivals, it's time to seize the day. Elgin has lost 10 straight overall; Streamwood has dropped 8 in a row. Each team is eyeing the other in search of that elusive first victory. What they see is a reflection. "They're in the same situation we are," Streamwood coach Mark Orszula said. "They're a good football team that has played hard against a tough schedule. They have some good skill kids who do a number of good things for them. The biggest thing for us is consistency across the board." Orszula said film of the St. Charles East game revealed that the Sabres played well in the first, second and fourth quarters but lost contact with the Saints after a sloppy third quarter. "They've struggled consistency-wise just like we have," Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. "They are similar to us but they have better (roster) numbers, a few more guys, so they are able to compete for longer. Our guys are excited and there's been a little more energy at practice this week. That's good because we have a long way to go to get where we want to be. We can use these last 2 games as a springboard. No one is cashing it in or going through the motions. There's a lot of coaching to do."
Next week: Elgin at Batavia (6-1); Streamwood at Geneva (5-2)
St. Charles North (3-4, 2-3) at Larkin (3-4, 2-2)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last year: St. Charles North 33, Larkin 24
Last week: Batavia 44, St. Charles North 6; Bartlett 20, Larkin 7
Outlook: The task for the Royals is clear cut: win their final 2 home games at Memorial Field against the St. Charles schools and hope they have enough playoff points to qualify. The North Stars are in a similar spot, needing road wins at Larkin and South Elgin to become playoff eligible. "They look pretty tough, well coached," said Larkin coach Mike Scianna, who announced last week he will step down at the end of the season. "They have the thing we hate the most: a mobile quarterback so it'll be tough for our kids, but we have to get after it." St. Charles North quarterback Erik Miller has rushed for 278 yards. Running back Evan Kurtz needs 108 yards to reach 1,000. The Royals counter with Damion "Bubba" Clemons, who has rushed for 751 yards and 12 touchdowns in 121 attempts (6.2 avg.). Larkin cannot afford to turn the ball over the way it did last week against Bartlett. The Royals held a 1-point halftime lead but 4 fumbles in the fourth quarter undermined any comeback attempt. "We need to limit our mistakes and capitalize on the opportunities we get," Scianna said. "We have to take care of the ball. It's hard to win any game with 5 turnovers. The kids understand they only have a few days of practice and a couple of games left and they want to leave their mark with a winning season."
Next week: St. Charles North at South Elgin (2-5); St. Charles East (5-2) at Larkin
Crystal Lake South (3-4, 1-3) at Cary-Grove (4-3, 4-1)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field
Last year: Cary-Grove 17, Crystal Lake South 3
Last week: Crystal Lake South 34, Johnsburg 7; Jacobs 36, Cary-Grove 35
Outlook: For the last decade this matchup between FVC Valley rivals has determined division titles and playoff seeds. This particular meeting finds both teams fighting for their playoff lives. The Gators must win in Cary and beat Huntley next week to extend their area-best streak of playoff appearances to 13. The Trojans need a win against the Gators to become playoff eligible. A second straight loss for the Trojans would create a must-win scenario next week against Hampshire, a likely playoff team. "We're both in pretty similar situations," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "Neither of us are in the playoffs at this point and we're both fighting to get in. Unfortunately, we're looking at a pretty hungry team that's starting to find its niche offensively." The Gators scored 38 points in their first 4 games combined, but they have averaged 27.3 ppg over their last 3 outings. Senior quarterback Austin Rogers has rushed for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns and has completed 53 of 99 attempts for 584 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also plays safety, linebacker -- even a bit of wide receiver as was the case last week. "We didn't throw to him, but the defense double covered him and left someone else wide open," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "We'll do whatever we have to do to win. If what we're doing is not working, we'll give something else a shot. Ideally, we'll stay with our base offense and run downhill, but in the games they've lost the other team has thrown the ball well." Cary-Grove freshman fullback Tyler Pennington has topped the 100-yard mark in each of his first 4 starts at the position. He has quickly amassed 598 yards and 3 touchdowns on 90 carries (6.6 avg.). Junior Zach McQuade has made an impact since his return from a broken collarbone. In 2 games he has 146 yards and 4 touchdowns on 15 carries (9.7 avg.). Cary-Grove wide receiver George Hartke will miss this game due to injury, Seaburg said. The junior has 7 catches for 86 yards and 14 carries for 52 yards.
Next week: Huntley (4-3) at Crystal Lake South; Hampshire (5-2) at Cary-Grove
Jacobs (5-2, 4-0) at Huntley (4-3, 2-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Huntley 34, Jacobs 33
Last week: Jacobs 36, Cary-Grove 35; Huntley 42, McHenry 14
Outlook: The Golden Eagles hope to party like it's 1979. That was the last time Jacobs celebrated a title in the Fox Valley Conference. They shared it that season with Crystal Lake Central. The Golden Eagles can clinch at least a share of the FVC Valley title with a victory. It won't be easy against Huntley, which has won 2 straight and seeks to become playoff eligible with a win. "The biggest thing is we wanted to get on a roll because we knew we were going to face four good teams in these last four weeks," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "This is the next one up. It should be a good game. They are fighting for their lives and we're fighting to get our sixth in a row." Mitz said the Red Raiders are a tough team to prepare for because they can pressure a defense with the run or the pass depending on what a defense gives them. Huntley's offense, which averages 285 yards and 28.1 points per game, will look for weaknesses in a Jacobs defense that holds opponents to 323 yards and 21.9 ppg. The balanced Red Raiders have rushed 1,105 yards and thrown for 892. Senior running backs Mitch Kawell (123 carries, 634 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Jake Scalise (51-212-3) run behind a big offensive line. Huntley quarterback Blake Jacobs has thrown for 952 yards and 3 touchdowns on 71-of-135 passing. The prime matchup is red-hot Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney against a Huntley defense that has limited opponents to 2 touchdowns or less in every game. Mooney, who committed to Colgate this week after leading the Golden Eagles to consecutive wins on their final offensive play, will face a secondary led by senior safety Mike Andrews (2 Int.). "They have some great talent and probably the best quarterback I remember coaching against," Huntley coach John Hart said. "He throws the ball as well as anyone I remember seeing and he runs really, really well. He has that 'it' factor with the game on the line and he has some great players around him. We have keep from giving up big plays on defense and continue to limit the self-inflicted wounds on offense."
Next week: Dundee-Crown (5-2) at Jacobs; Huntley at Crystal Lake South (3-4)
McHenry (2-5, 0-4) at Dundee-Crown (5-2, 2-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at the D-C Bowl
Last year: McHenry 40, Dundee-Crown 30
Last week: Huntley 42, McHenry 14; Prairie Ridge 42, Dundee-Crown 0
Outlook: Move on. That was the message from the coaching staff this week in Carpentersville after Prairie Ridge stunned the Chargers in a blowout last Friday. It was the second time this season Dundee-Crown lost a one-sided game to a team that runs the triple option offense. "We don't defend the option well but we were also really flat," D-C coach Vito Andriola said. "The kids were really humbled and embarrassed, which might be a good thing because they practiced really well this week. Maybe it was a wake-up call. I wish it didn't have to be." The Chargers would be wise to seal their first playoff berth since 1993 against a McHenry team that has lost 4 straight rather than leave it to Week 9, when they host streaking District 300 rival Jacobs, winners of 5 straight. D-C will have to overcome history to do it; McHenry has won 22 straight games in this series. The Chargers attack on the ground almost exclusively. Of their 1,548 total yards, 1,402 have come via the ground game. Junior Caleb Parson leads the way with 92 carries for 494 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also has 6 receptions for 62 yards and a score. If McHenry's defense can limit the D-C running game, the contest could be a tight one. However, the Warriors have allowed 618 rushing yards in their last 2 games. "This is going to be a hard game," Andriola said. "McHenry kids always play hard. Always. It's so important to our program to get this win. I think the start is going to be huge either way. They haven't won since Sept. 13, so maybe we can get an early lead and discourage them."
Next week: Prairie Ridge (3-4) at McHenry; Dundee-Crown at Jacobs (5-2)
Johnsburg (1-6, 1-3) at Hampshire (5-2, 3-2)
When: today at 7:15 p.m.
Last year: Hampshire 27, Johnsburg 21
Last week: Crystal Lake South 34, Johnsburg 7; Hampshire 48, Woodstock 7
Outlook: Already playoff eligible, Hampshire can clinch its first playoff berth since 2008 with a FVC Fox victory over the Skyhawks. A win is critical since Hampshire's Week 9 game is a FVC crossover at Cary-Grove, which will be fighting for playoff position regardless of this week's outcome. "We're not taking Johnsburg lightly," offensive tackle Mike Gibas said. "Last year we went in there and they gave us a run for our money. We barely got out of there." The Whip-Purs defeated Johnsburg last year, thanks to kickoff returns for touchdowns by Tim Jansen and Chris Calvin. The win was not sealed until the Hampshire defense, led by Mason Fleury, sacked Johnsburg quarterback Nick Brengman twice in the final minute. Brengman has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards as a junior. However, he is also the Skyhawks' top rusher with just over 300 yards. Hampshire counters with one of the strongest running backs in the Fox Valley Conference, Nick Kielbasa. The senior has rushed for 1,028 yards and 16 touchdowns on 163 carries (6.3 avg.). Junior quarterback Nick Mohlman directs a Hampshire offense that averages 358 yards per game. He has thrown 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions in 72 attempts, a big reason why Hampshire leads the area in turnover differential (+9) by a wide margin.
Next week: Crystal Lake Central (6-1) at Johnsburg; Hampshire at Cary-Grove (4-3)
Bartlett (3-4, 2-2) at South Elgin (2-5, 2-3)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at South Elgin Stadium
Last year: Bartlett 27, South Elgin 7
Last week: Bartlett 20, Larkin 7; South Elgin 63, West Chicago 20
Outlook: This Elgin Area School District U-46 rivalry game is always meaningful for players on both sides, but Bartlett has more to lose with its playoff eligibility in the balance. Bartlett has reached the playoffs three straight years and 12 of the last 13. South Elgin was eliminated from the playoffs for the third straight season with a loss last week. The Hawks began the year as a young team and have only gotten younger. Five sophomores currently play key roles on defense, including two-way starting tackle Kyle Sanft (6-3, 250)
cornerback/running back Nolan Bernat, inside linebacker Michael Bucaro, outside linebacker Tristan Chimack and cornerback Daniel Andreucetti. The young Bartlett defense will be tested by a Storm offense that likes to stretch the field. Senior quarterback Robert Cuda is the area leader with 1,675 yards on 108-of-212 passing. He has thrown 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His top targets include three receivers ranked among the top 10 in area receiving yardage: senior Tyler Christensen (27 rec., 570 yards, 4 TD), junior Nick Menken (26-502-7) and sophomore Andrew Kamienski (23-306-3). "Cuda is a returning all-conference kid who can throw the lights out," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "They have to be the best 2-win team in the state. They've played almost everybody tough and they took Neuqua Valley right down to the end. You can't stop it all because there's just so much offense there. They'll score some points. I just hope our offense can keep pace and our defense can get some three and outs. It should be a barnburner." A Bartlett offense averaging 286 yards and 19.7 points per game will attempt to break out against a South Elgin defense allowing 341 yards and 35 ppg. The Hawks have gained 1,249 of their 2,006 total yards on the ground, paced by seniors Hurschel Ross III (61 carries, 378 yards, 1 TD) and Titus Ayomidele (48-245-4) and Bernat (23-226-4). "Our ultimate goal is to clog up the run," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "Their offensive line has been steadily improving. They are playing with low pad levels and getting better each week. If they find a weak link, they'll keep going at that person. They have a good inside run game and we have to make sure we don't lose leverage and allow them to bounce one outside. Our kids are excited. It's a game they look forward to every year. In fact, one of their top three goals was to beat Bartlett. It's going to be a physical game and the kids will be amped up."
Next week: Neuqua Valley (6-1) at Bartlett; St. Charles North (3-4) at South Elgin
Christian Liberty (0-7, 0-7) at Westminster Christian (0-7, 0-7)
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Warrior Field
Last week: Rockford Christian Life 55, Christian Liberty 0; Chicago Hope Academy 48, Westminster Christian 0
Outlook: The Warriors hope this is the week they break through for the program's first victory. Westminster Christian was shut out each of the past two weeks, but they expect better success against a Christian Liberty Academy squad that has been outscored 313-12. Westminster Christian has been outscored 352-104. "They've had a horrible time scoring, but we're not taking anyone lightly," Westminster coach John Davis said. "We've had a tough time on defense, but we've shown the ability to score and we're hungry. We will pull out all the stops. We're not holding anything back. We're going to go for broke for this one. We'll see what happens. We appreciate everyone who has stuck by us all season. We'll all hold on tight and hope this might be the one." The Warriors have done most of their damage via the passing game with 1,235 of their 1,548 total yards accrued through the air. Junior quarterback Max Tucker enters Week 8 as the area's third leading passer with 1,084 yards. He has completed 108 of 216 attempts and has thrown 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Westminster's top receiver is freshman Scotty Graziano. He has 30 catches for 509 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Next week: Luther North (4-3) at Christian Liberty; Westminster Christian at North Shore Country Day (1-6)
St. Edward (5-2, 3-2) at Marian Central (5-2, 3-2)
When: today at 7 p.m. at George Harding Field
Live video streaming: @football.dailyherald.com, followed by postgame highlights
Last year: Marian Central 52, St. Edward 6
Last week: St. Edward 60, Wheaton Academy 21; Montini 40, Marian Central 35
Outlook: The Green Wave did not officially clinch a playoff spot last week, but they are a shoe-in with 5 wins. Coach Mike Rolando projects his team will have at least 42 playoffs points, possibly 43. The threshold for playoff qualification has never been higher than 40 points (2011). It was 39 last season. With their first playoff appearance since 2010 sewn up, the question shifts: just how good is St. Edward? Good enough to challenge the Hurricanes, a fellow Suburban Christian Blue team they have not beaten since 2002? "We haven't beaten them since I've been here," ninth-year St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "They are coming off a big game against Montini and are probably a little banged up. Maybe they'll be looking past us because we haven't beaten them. At the end of the day, we continue to prove we're a good football team. And any good football team can give any other good football team a game." St. Edward averages 331 rushing yards per game, led by DaVontae Elam (1,224 yards, 16 TD), Mikey Castoro (491-4) and Dwayne Allen (430-5). Quarterback Joe Mullen has completed 20 of 42 attempts for 382 yards and 5 touchdowns and has been intercepted once. Marian Central was ranked No. 9 in The Associated Press Class 5A poll heading into Week 7, but a narrow loss to top-ranked Montini dropped them just outside the top 10. The Hurricanes boast a prolific passing attack led by junior quarterback Billy Bahl, who has completed 123 of 202 attempts (61 percent) for 1,925 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has been intercepted 8 times. Bahl's leading receiver is Brett Olson. The 6-foot-2 senior has 39 receptions for 820 yards and 9 touchdowns. Marian Central has rushed for 906 yards. Senior Ephraim Lee has accounted for 665 of those rushing yards on 122 carries and has scored 14 touchdowns. The Marian offense will face a St. Edward defense that leads the area in fewest average yards allowed per game (232).
Next week: St. Edward at St. Francis (3-4); Marian Central at Wheaton Academy (3-4)
Rock Falls (1-6) at Burlington Central (2-5)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill
Last year: Rock Falls 29, Burlington Central 21
Last week: Mendota 57, Rock Falls 34; Richmond-Burton 14, Burlington Central 13, OT
Outlook: Last week's overtime loss eliminated Burlington Central from playoff contention, but the Rockets prepared this week for Senior Night like they were still in the hunt. "I think this group is hungry to finish up with 2 wins," Central coach Rich Crabel said. "Maybe some kids would let that that drop off, but not this group. They're still studying up on film and working hard in practice." Central's final two opponents employ spread passing attacks. The Rock Falls Rockets have been productive with that scheme, averaging a robust 28.3 ppg. The problem has been defense. Rock Falls has allowed 373 points, a 53.3-point average. That means Central's offensive line should create room to run for running back Reilly Marino, who last week carried 24 times for 120 yards to up his season totals to 454 yards and 3 touchdowns in 76 attempts (6.0 avg.). Central quarterbacks Parth Patel (0 for 6) and Casey Matthews (0 for 1) did not complete a pass last week. Senior Ian Napiorkowski continues to lead the Rockets with 23 catches for 314 yards and a touchdown. Matthews has thrown for 355 yards and 2 touchdowns and has rushed for 398 and 6 scores.
Next week: Oregon (3-4) at Rock Falls; Burlington Central at North Boone (3-4)