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Daily Herald's 2013 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 10/31/2013 7:56 PM
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Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games
 

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Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games
  • Daniel Spaccapaniccia of Naperville Central moves in to tackle Adam Milsap of Naperville North, right, during football action on Friday at North Central College.

    Purchase Photo | Daniel Spaccapaniccia of Naperville Central moves in to tackle Adam Milsap of Naperville North, right, during football action on Friday at North Central College. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  •  Sharad Crosby of Naperville North, left, tries to evade Naperville Central defense in football action on Friday at North Central College.

    Purchase Photo | Sharad Crosby of Naperville North, left, tries to evade Naperville Central defense in football action on Friday at North Central College. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

By Kevin Schmit and David Oberhelman

kschmit@dailyherald.com

Story Continues Below

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

No. 10 Aurora Christian (6-3) at No. 7 IC Catholic (6-3)

Class 3A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: How this game pans out depends on Aurora Christian's game-time decision on whether to play a long list of injured players, including quarterback Austin Bray and receiver-safety Noah Roberts. None were available in the Eagles' Oct. 12 visit which IC won 48-8. Two-time defending 3A champion Aurora Christian bounced IC from the playoffs last season, and Knights coach Bill Krefft counts on them being fully loaded. If not, IC's defensive focus will be on tailback Legend Smith while Aurora Christian deals with diversity from Knights backs Randy Leslie and Jordan Rowell, receiver Clark Brinkman and quarterback Jack Copher, who has passed for about 1,300 yards and run for 400 more.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 15 Oregon (5-4) and No. 2 Wilmington (8-1).

No. 16 Morgan Park (5-4) at No. 1 Montini (9-0)

Class 5A

Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday.

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

Outlook: Four-time defending 5A titlist Montini doesn't usually see this style, but the Broncos beat a similar East St. Louis team in Week 2. Playoff perennial Morgan Park features 850-yard rusher Charles Bournes, who owns a program-record 18 kickoff/punt return touchdowns; and option quarterback Tim Smith with about 600 yards passing. Cornerback Brandon Riley has 6 interceptions and will probably cover Montini burner Leon Thornton III. Montini has its share of speed in players like Thornton and linebacker Nile Sykes, but a true specialty is raw, brute force. The Broncos plan to disrupt that option at the line and on offense pound the ball, hoping the hurry-up set can eventually wear out the Mustangs.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 9 Marian Central (7-2) and No. 8 Bremen (8-1).

No. 14 St. Francis (5-4) at No. 3 Glenbard South (9-0)

Class 5A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Integral to St. Francis' success is tailback James Butler, who has run for 1,185 yards and 19 touchdowns but did not return after an apparent injury during last week's 50-8 win over St. Edward. If Butler is unavailable the Spartans look for balance, with improved quarterback Zach Prociuk throwing the football and fullback T.J. Jackson running it. On the heels of the first 9-0 record in school history, Glenbard South relishes the prospect of its first home game in three weeks. No doubt the Raiders' defense will focus on Butler's running ability with lineman Erwin Lane and linebackers Connor Willis and Andre Steiger. Running back Zach Smith, a running and receiving threat, is the heart of the offense.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 11 Bronzeville (7-2) and No. 6 Lincoln-Way West (8-1).

No. 12 Fenton (6-3) at No. 5 Marmion (7-2)

Class 6A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

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

Outlook: The Bison, back in the playoffs after a year away, lean on the power run game of Alex Cowan, who's rushed for 800 yards and 17 touchdowns. More important is the offensive diversity brought by quarterback Willie Wassmann. Defensively led by linebacker Phil Espinoza, Fenton must withstand the physical play of Marmion's ground game. The Cadets have retooled up front after a couple key line injuries, and running back Jordan Glasgow may not be 100 percent after turning an ankle. Quarterback Brock Krueger looks for consistency in the passing game. Not as big as in the past defensively, but end Nick Ferraro and linebackers Sam Breen, Mike Montalbano and Josh Meyers fly to the ball.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 13 Prairie Ridge (5-4) and No. 4 Lakes (8-1).

No. 12 Glenbrook North (6-3) at No. 5 Wheaton North (7-2)

Class 7A

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

Outlook: The Spartans ride into the playoffs on a five-game winning streak that allowed them to claim the Central Suburban North title with last week's win over Highland Park. Unlike last season's team with a featured running back, this year's Glenbrook North team relies heavily on quarterback A.J. Spitz and his playmaking ability. Wheaton North comes in beat up on defense, especially in the secondary. The front seven, however, is capable of leading the unit. Northwestern-bound Falcons quarterback Clayton Thorson, who has thrown for 2,169 yards and rushed for 386 yards while accounting for 30 touchdowns, carries the offense with four receivers boasting at least 20 catches.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 13 Hersey (6-3) and No. 4 Fenwick (8-1).

No. 14 Machesney Park Harlem (6-3) at No. 3 Glenbard West (8-1)

Class 7A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Glenbard West isn't the biggest team around, so the stiffest challenge may be matching up with Harlem's physical front lines on both sides of the ball. Six-foot, 200-pound running back Dee Woods and quarterback Tanner DiGiovanni have combined for nearly 800 rushing yards while DiGiovanni's also thrown for 1,300 yards. Glenbard West's starting backfield should be intact for the first time in several weeks with the return from injury of backs Devante Toney and Jermon Kindle Joyner. The Hilltoppers opened up the passing game last week, so Harlem must be wary of quarterback Drew Vogg's ability behind center. Safety Hayden Carlson's developed into a big-play threat in all three phases.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 11 Conant (6-3) and No. 6 Jacobs (7-2).

No. 8 Downers Grove North (5-4) at No. 1 Whitney Young (9-0)

Class 7A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Lane Stadium in Chicago.

Outlook: This is the second straight year the Trojans have entered the playoffs as a four-loss team facing an unbeaten top seed. For the second straight year they're looking for an upset win. Downers North endured another game, and loss, without injured quarterback David Edwards. His absence continues to hurt the Trojans, although do-it-all talent Vontae Diggs -- normally a defensive standout -- is doing his best to keep the offense churning. Receiver Richard Olekanma and running back Kyle Leto are also a huge part of keeping the chains moving. Downers North's run stoppers, including linebacker Dan Izewski, will be put to the test against a Whitney Young offense that's piled up 1,400 rushing yards.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 5 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-2) and No. 4 Dunbar (8-1).

No. 5 Wheaton Warrenville South (7-2) at No. 4 Dunbar (8-1)

Class 7A

Game time: 4:15 p.m. Friday at Gately Stadium in Chicago.

Outlook: You'll pardon Dunbar for nightmares heading into this game -- and a whole lot of motivation. These teams met in the second round of the 1996 playoffs, a game decided on a last-second hook-and-ladder touchdown by the Tigers, who eventually won the Class 6A title. Look for WW South's defense to key on Demoria Harris, a state track medalist who is especially dangerous on jet sweeps. If there's one strength with the Tigers' defense, though, it's speed with Jake Schultz and Joe Kazar. Quarterback Ryan Graham and the Tigers' offense gets a big boost this week with the return from injury of running backs Isaiah Campos and Zack Moberg, receiver Savone Carter and lineman Jack Williams.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 8 Downers Grove North (5-4) and No. 1 Whitney Young (9-0).

No. 7 Benet (6-3) at No. 2 Mt. Carmel (8-1)

Class 7A

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gately Stadium in Chicago.

Outlook: The Redwings found out the cost of a three-game losing streak by drawing a first-round matchup against the defending Class 8A champions, a team now prepping for a run at the 7A title. While Benet's offense has been nowhere near crisp, much of the trouble can be traced to a large number of turnovers -- 14 in the last three weeks. The Redwings would go a long way toward minimizing mistakes by keeping Mt. Carmel's talented defensive line off quarterback Jack Beneventi. Benet's defense, led by lineman Nick Surges, will focus on Illinois-bound running back Matt Domer, who has been out three weeks with a knee injury. The Caravan's vaunted run game has been dominant regardless.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 6 Willowbrook (7-2) and No. 3 St. Rita (8-1).

No. 6 Willowbrook (7-2) at No. 3 St. Rita (8-1)

Class 7A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Outlook: The Warriors aim to break a streak of nine straight first-round playoff losses, but it won't be easy against a Mustangs team that's beaten Willowbrook twice in the postseason. The Warriors' explosive offense has been the key to success all season, a unit led by record-breaking quarterback Brian Johnson, receivers Hayden Adams and Devin Childress and running back Jeremy Barnes. St. Rita's lone loss came to defending Class 8A champion Mt. Carmel, but the Mustangs turned around last week and handed Loyola its only loss. Willowbrook must find a way to slow dual-threat St. Rita quarterback Tommy Mister, who last week piled up nearly 350 yards of total offense.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 7 Benet (6-3) and No. 2 Mt. Carmel (8-1).

No. 14 New Trier (5-4) at No. 3 Glenbard North (8-1)

Class 8A

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

Outlook: Can anyone stop Glenbard North running back Justin Jackson? New Trier's the latest to try, although it'll be quite a daunting task against a player who's rushed for more than 1,000 yards the last three weeks and has 2,550 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on the season. The DuPage Valley Conference's offensive player of the year is also among the state's top defensive backs, although his use on defense depends on the opponent's ability to throw the ball. New Trier junior running back Kevin Mulhern has rushed for 400 yards the last two weeks as the Trevians clinched their playoff berth. The Panthers will rely on defensive linemen and run-stoppers Cyris Parker and Connor Dombrowski.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 11 St. Charles East (6-3) and No. 6 Stevenson (7-2).

No. 13 Hinsdale Central (5-4) at No. 4 Oswego (7-2)

Class 8A

Game time: 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: After piecing together a quarterback-by-committee situation through most of the season, Hinsdale Central welcomed back Chase Hamilton after he missed the bulk of the campaign with a broken bone in his leg. The difference showed last week as the Red Devils beat Downers North to clinch a playoff berth. Hamilton's return allows players like two-way standout Jacob White to focus on linebacker and contributing at running back. Ben Stefani leads the ground game that's amassed nearly 2,000 yards. The defense must contend with a balanced Oswego offense boasting quarterback Steven Frank, who's thrown for 1,700 yards, and running back Tyler Walsh, who's rushed for 1,000 yards.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 12 Naperville North (5-4) and No. 5 Waubonsie Valley (7-2).

No. 12 Naperville North (5-4) at No. 5 Waubonsie Valley (7-2)

Class 8A

Game time: 3 p.m. Saturday.

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

Outlook: Facing the team that's scored the most points in the 8A field, Naperville North knows it must be prepared to absorb an early offensive onslaught. The best way to counter is for the Huskies to keep their ground game moving the chains with DeSean Brown, Sharad Crosby and Leon Hardy, who have combined for 1,400 rushing yards. Waubonsie linebackers Hugh Griffin and Demario Webb and defensive linemen Jon Harris, Kurtis Chione and Anthony Napolitano will be well-drilled in their responsibilities. Warriors tailback Jon Fizer ran for a personal-high 297 yards last week, just part of an offense that spreads defenses wide and deep with Tony Durns, Christian Gibbs and quarterback Jack Eddy.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 13 Hinsdale Central (5-4) and No. 4 Oswego (7-2).

No. 10 Downers Grove South (6-3) at No. 7 Naperville Central (6-3)

Class 8A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Outlook: These playoff veterans have faced each other four previous times in the postseason with three games decided by a total of 11 points. Whichever team has the more effective passing game will go a long way in determining the winner. Naperville Central's secondary, headed by Dillon Grooss, will focus on Downers South touchdown machine Javon Turner. The Mustangs' much-improved defense -- improvement epitomized by safety Eric Denby and lineman Mike Hobbs -- has a more interesting challenge against the Redhawks' Jake Kolbe-led offense. The Illinois State-bound quarterback has several talented receivers to lean on including Ben Andreas, Michael Kolzow and Emmanuel Rugamba.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 15 Sandburg (5-4) and No. Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1).

No. 14 O'Fallon (5-4) at No. 3 Neuqua Valley (8-1)

Class 8A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

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

Outlook: A 20-time playoff qualifier, O'Fallon runs a 4-4 defense led by 6-foot-5, 265-pound Tennessee-bound defensive end Dewayne Hendrix and Division I recruit linebacker Micquell Cotton. Taking losses to Loyola and Edwardsville, this is a good 5-4 team. The Panthers run wide-open offense, three receivers over 40 catches plus 1,000-yard rusher Kentrail Moran. Quarterback Camden Bauer has passed for 17 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. More accurate is Neuqua's Broc Rutter, 24 touchdowns to just 3 picks, but he's iffy after a Bartlett hit. If he's unable to play that puts Matt Perrigo under center and places more emphasis on linemen like Sai Klein and the tailback tandem of T.J. Scruggs and Nolan Dean.

Next week: The winner advances to play the winner between No. 11 Lyons Twp. (5-4) and No. 6 Simeon (6-3).

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