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Article updated: 11/7/2013 9:10 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
  • Devin Strickland of Waubonsie is on the run during the Naperville North at Waubonsie Valley football playoff opener Saturday.

    Purchase Photo | Devin Strickland of Waubonsie is on the run during the Naperville North at Waubonsie Valley football playoff opener Saturday. Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

By Kevin Schmit and David Oberhelman

kschmit@dailyherald.com

Story Continues Below

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

No. 1 Montini (10-0) at No. 9 Marian Central (8-2)

Class 5A

Game time: 6 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Montini 43, No. 16 Morgan Park 6; Marian Central 42, No. 8 Bremen 8.

Outlook: These Suburban Christian Conference powers will have met five straight years in the playoffs, eight of the last 10. Montini's won the last four. The Broncos pounded Morgan Park, gaining 471 yards and 28 first downs to the Mustangs' 83 yards, 4 first downs. Offensive linemen Michael Johnson, Tommy Long, A.J. Melarkey, Mario Galli, Frank Vosicky and Grant Branch won't be able to dominate Marian defensive linemen Josh Olsen and Tommy Lesniewski like that, forcing Broncos quarterback Alex Wills and receivers Leon Thornton III and Tyler Tumpane to spread the field a bit. The Hurricanes rallied a little in Montini's 40-35 win in Week 7, but Marian coach Ed Brucker obviously wants a few more stops. He's also got a high-octane offense, averaging 43 points behind upstart quarterback Billy Bahl, deep threat Brett Olson and 1,100-yard running back Ephraim Lee. A damp grass field, not turf, may be a factor.

Next week: The winner advances to the 5A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 4 Joliet Catholic (9-1) and No. 5 Kaneland (9-1).

No. 6 Lincoln-Way West (9-1) at No. 3 Glenbard South (10-0)

Class 5A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Lincoln-Way West 48, No. 11 Bronzeville 8; Glenbard South 47, No. 14 St. Francis 28.

Outlook: These could be the two sleeper teams in the brutal upper half of the 5A bracket. Lincoln-Way West makes no secret about its offensive plans of hammering running back Javier Montalvo, who last week carried the ball only a handful of times while teammate Adam Knerr handled the bulk of the load. A week after Jack Curtis snared 3 interceptions, Glenbard South's pass defense needs to be wary of Warriors receiver Jake Robbins. Last week he caught 3 touchdown passes. Lincoln-Way West has the same challenge trying to slow Glenbard South's potent offense. Quarterback Alex Jeske was the model of efficiency last week while gashing St. Francis on bubble screens to Clark Gary and Zach Smith, a big-play threat running or catching the ball. Jeske's biggest strength may be his ability to spread the ball to all his skill players. The Raiders aim for another quick start to put the Warriors on their heels.

Next week: The winner advances to the 5A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 2 Sycamore (10-0) and No. 10 Nazareth (8-2).

No. 5 Wheaton North (8-2) at No. Fenwick (9-1)

Class 7A

Game time: 7 p.m. Saturday at Elmhurst College.

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

Last week: Wheaton North 53, No. 12 Glenbrook North 7; Fenwick 28, No. 13 Hersey 6.

Outlook: Wheaton North's vaunted offense, led by Northwestern-bound quarterback Clayton Thorson, returned to beast mode with last week's dominant victory. Not only has Thorson thrown for 2,300 yards, he also now leads the Falcons in rushing yards after last week's 90-yard effort. Fenwick's defense, allowing only 10 points a game, will focus its attention on Falcons receivers Matt Biegalski, J.P. Forcucci and Michael Bloss. Fenwick utilizes diverse offensive sets, but it boils down to getting the ball to Western Michigan-bound running back Michael Spillane. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior ran for 260 yards in last week's win in front of mammoth 6-7, 300-pound lineman Dan Cooney and 6-5, 240-pound tight end Ryan Smith. Wheaton North can't match up in size, but the Falcons counter with defensive speed. And they do have 6-5, 285-pound Tristan Jones and Artem Pinkevich playing well up front.

Next week: The winner advances to the 7A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 1 Lake Zurich (9-1) and No. 8 Hononegah (8-2).

No. 3 Glenbard West (9-1) at No. 11 Conant (7-3)

Class 7A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

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

Last week: Glenbard West 49, No. 14 Machesney Park Harlem 14; Conant 42, No. 6 Jacobs 35.

Outlook: Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet says Conant presents the best passing attack his defense has seen this season. While that feeds into the strength of a secondary led by safety Hayden Carlson, it'll be a challenge slowing Conant quarterback Danny Modelski, the son of coach Bill Modelski, who has 24 touchdown passes against 3 interceptions. The Hilltoppers aim to limit Cougars running back Elias Gardener to make them one-dimensional. Can Conant's young defense slow Glenbard West's three-headed backfield of Scott Andrews, who last week rushed for 189 yards and scored 5 touchdowns, Jermon Kindle Joyner and Devante Toney? Last week the Cougars allowed more than 200 rushing yards. It'll be even tougher against a Glenbard West line led by North Carolina State-bound Eric Shute, who becomes more dominant the more he distances himself from an early-season rib injury.

Next week: The winner advances to the 7A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 2 Schaumburg (9-1) and No. 10 St. Patrick (7-3).

No. 8 Downers Grove North (6-4) at No. 5 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-2)

Class 7A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Downers North 28, No. 1 Morgan Park 0; WW South 48, No. 4 Dunbar 16.

Outlook: WW South coach Ron Muhitch and Trojans counterpart John Wander agree on one thing. Both ball-control offenses likely will have limited touches, so the outcome depends on who does the most with few chances. WW South's lightning defense landed three unanimous selections to the all-DuPage Valley Conference team -- defensive back Jake Schultz, linebacker Joe Kazar and lineman Mocha Uchiyama. They're charged with slowing the Trojans' split back veer featuring Kyle Leto and Charles Creamer, but it's unknown who will run the show. Returning quarterback David Edwards, a force at 6-foot-6, 210-pound, remains questionable after missing several games with a leg injury. Trojans defensive standout Vontae Diggs is set to return from an ankle injury, good news going against a healthy Tigers unit led by quarterback Ryan Graham, running back Isaiah Campos and receiver Keishawn Watson.

Next week: The winner advances to the 7A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 2 Mt. Carmel (9-1) and No. 3 St. Rita (9-1).

No. 6 Stevenson (8-2) at No. 3 Glenbard North (9-1)

Class 8A

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Stevenson 35, No. 11 St. Charles East 7; Glenbard North 35, No. 14 New Trier 10.

Outlook: As always, this one comes down to Stevenson's ability to contain Northwestern-bound running back Justin Jackson, who's rushed for 2,888 yards and 36 touchdowns, including last week's 338-yard effort. The Panthers placed linemen Chris Edwards and Eric Graham on the all-DuPage Valley Conference team in addition to fullback Dillon Warnecke. The ground game received another boost with the return from injury of 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end Bryan Leckner, who also will be a target for quarterback Brett Gasiorowski. Defensively, they don't come much better than Michigan State-bound Stevenson safety Matt Morrissey. Glenbard North's defense, powered by lineman Connor Dombrowski, will have its hands full against dual-threat quarterback Willie Bourban and a pair of big receivers in 6-3 Morrissey and 6-4 Cameron Green. Expect to see a lot of Jackson at cornerback for the Panthers.

Next week: The winner advances to the 8A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 2 Barrington (9-1) and No. 10 Warren (9-1).

No. 5 Waubonsie Valley (8-2) at No. 4 Oswego (8-2)

Class 8A

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

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

Last week: Waubonsie Valley 31, Naperville North 20; Oswego 42, No. 13 Hinsdale Central 13.

Outlook: Waubonsie Valley handled the Southwest Prairie Conference champ 40-21 in Week 2. Oswego coach Brian Cooney's Panthers, who dropped their opener to Geneva, haven't lost since. Waubonsie coach Paul Murphy could hardly get better balance than that first meeting -- Tony Durns and Jon Fizer heading 232 yards rushing, Jack Eddy passing for 229. A familiar nonconference foe, Murphy said Oswego has settled into a power running game that draws the defense up, up -- then quarterback Steven Frank throws a play-action pass. He did it for 3 touchdowns against Hinsdale Central while Tyler Walsh ran more than 30 times for a reported 173 yards. Waubonsie faces an Oswego offensive line averaging 270 pounds; the Warriors will attempt to keep linebackers Demario Webb and Hugh Griffin free while defensive backs such as Brock Westwood and Josh Scudder remain alert for the pass.

Next week: The winner advances to the 8A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 1 Bolingbrook (10-0) and No. 8 Marist (7-3).

No. 7 Naperville Central (7-3) at No. 2 Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1)

Class 8A

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

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

Last week: Naperville Central 36, No. 10 Downers Grove South 0; Homewood-Flossmoor 49, No. 15 Sandburg 14.

Outlook: The only thing standing between the Vikings and an unbeaten record is an overtime loss to Bolingbrook. Naperville Central's defense faces immense talent across the board with Homewood-Flossmoor's offense, a unit led by quarterback Isaac Cutrara and running back Vashon Nutt, who last week rushed for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns. That came a week after Cutrara threw for three scores. Bobby McMillen, Jack Wooldridge and the Redhawks' defense needs to be in top form. Nate Teske was a playmaker last week on the defensive line. Naperville Central's offense enjoyed tremendous balance with running back Kevin Clifford rushing for 2 touchdowns and quarterback Jake Kolbe throwing for two more. Receiver Ben Andreas, who last week had 6 catches for 112 yards and also ran for a 53-yard touchdown, is playing his best football of the season at the perfect time for the Redhawks.

Next week: The winner advances to the 8A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 6 Simeon (7-3) and No. 3 Neuqua Valley (9-1).

No. 6 Simeon (7-3) at No. 3 Neuqua Valley (9-1)

Class 8A

Game time: 6 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Simeon 20, No. 11 Lyons Twp. 16; Neuqua Valley 38, No. 14 O'Fallon 7.

Outlook: Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus said Simeon has six players faster than any Wildcat, hard to believe with 4.4 sprinter Mikey Dudek around. Neuqua got a sample of speed last week and quickly sent O'Fallon into desperation mode with two Broc Rutter touchdown passes to Dudek and a 10-play scoring drive capped by running back Nolan Dean. Two things stand out for Neuqua Valley's offensive success -- protect Rutter from a 3-4 defense that sacked Lyons Twp. 6 times, and continue the balance that averages 232 yards rushing, 189 passing, with but 3 interceptions. Defensively, Derrek Warkenthien, Eli Tappin, Devon Griffin, Evan Cherney and Co. must brace themselves for a sideline-to-sideline sprint to contain not one, not two but possibly three Wolverines quarterbacks. Timon Watkins was the man against Lyons, a reported 11-of-14 passing for 173 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 75 yards rushing.

Next week: The winner advances to the 8A quarterfinals against the winner between No. 7 Naperville Central (7-3) and No. 2 Homewood-Flossmoor (9-1).

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