By David Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
Montini (13-1) at Maine South (9-3)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Montini 21, Maine South 19.
Outlook: As Montini coach Chris Andriano said, the Broncos got their spread offense from Maine South. Leading it now is 6-foot-3 senior Chuck Norgle, behind a line that averages 280 pounds. Montini has Indiana-bound receiver Leon Thornton III on the edge and others like junior receiver Tyler Millikan looking to make a statement. Sophomore back Prince Walker wasn't on varsity at this point last year, but he averaged nearly 14 yards a carry on limited snaps in 2013. Fellow back Terrance Savain, a 225-pound senior, scored on Maine South last year. Maine South returns junior quarterback Brian Collis, running back Justin Fahey and two-way star Vinny Labus. The Hawks won Notre Dame's 62-team 7-on-7 and Wheaton Warrenville South's linemen's challenge. Andriano, seeking field position from punter Steven Dennis to support an untested defense, sees a close, high-scoring game. Something like 50-48. "We just have to make sure we've got the 50," Andriano said.
Next week: East St. Louis at Montini; Maine South at WW South.
Naperville Central (11-3) at Waubonsie Valley (8-3) Nonconference
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Naperville Central 23, Waubonsie Valley 10.
Outlook: It's a strength-on-strength showdown between Naperville Central's explosive set of skill players and Waubonsie Valley's experienced defense. The Redhawks field DuPage County's most-terrifying receiver set with Michael Kolzow, committed to Illinois State, and Emmanuel Rugamba, who last season combined for 84 catches and over 1,000 yards. Naperville Central also has a dynamite linebacker tandem with Iowa State-bound Bobby McMillen and Dan DelGrosso. Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy was none too happy after last year's opener. The Warriors lost 3 fumbles, committed 12 penalties worth 104 yards and allowed a touchdown on the last play of the first half. Four new starters on the offensive line again makes discipline a factor. The Warriors also have new No. 1's at each of the offensive skill positions -- quarterback Zach Bennema, receiver Keaton Casey and tailback Tony Durns, who scampered for 41 yards against Central.
Next week: Naperville Central at Waubonsie Valley; Waubonsie Valley at Oswego.
Neuqua Valley (10-2) at Naperville North (5-5)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Neuqua Valley 34, Naperville North 27.
Outlook: Neuqua Valley advanced to the Class 8A quarterfinals last season but in Week 1 it needed a touchdown with 3:36 left to beat the Huskies. Quarterback Broc Rutter, on his way to a 2,100-yard season and an Indiana State offer, threw for 3 touchdowns against North, and with returning back Charlie Hunter in the mix the Wildcats ran for 252 yards. Linebacker Eli Tappin returns, too; he made 10 tackles with a fumble recovery and an interception against the Huskies. Naperville North's a force on both lines, but the offense takes a hit this week with the absence of running back Leon Hardy, who's out with an injury. Behind returning all-DuPage Valley Conference lineman Jake Bashaw, the Huskies will look for a new primary running threat to emerge among a half dozen eager candidates. The Huskies' defense needs to put pressure on Rutter, starting up front with a dominant group that includes Chris Zhang, Tyler Bushman, Edi Dalazi and Tom Rizzi.
Next week: Naperville Central at Neuqua Valley; Naperville North at Thornton.
Wheaton North (9-3) at Cary-Grove (7-4)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Wheaton North 42, Cary-Grove 18.
Outlook: For a young team like Wheaton North, you couldn't ask for a more challenging start to the season. Cary-Grove's ranked third in the Associated Press Class 7A preseason poll while next week's opponent, Joliet Catholic, is No. 2 in 5A. Three sophomore starters include quarterback Luke Anthony, who in the summer emerged from a pack of four potential signalcallers. With returning receiver J.P. Forcucci and 6-foot-6 tight end Jake Heggeland, Anthony has plenty of targets. The running game remains an unknown, something that definitely isn't the case with Cary-Grove. It starts on the line with Notre Dame-bound tackle Trevor Ruhland and continues with fullback Tyler Pennington, who last season rushed for 1,000 yards. It's a daunting challenge for a Falcons defense starting two sophomores in linebacker Erik Mueller and safety Danny Walker. A talented group of linebackers is led by Nick Singleton and Austin Oltman, who both return varsity experience.
Next week: Joliet Catholic at Wheaton North; Lake Zurich at Cary-Grove.
Wheaton Warrenville South (8-3) at Glenbard West (11-2)
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Last year: WW South 17, Glenbard West 14.
Outlook: It's no surprise the last regular-season meeting between these Class 7A powers is expected to be a good one. WW South's defense should be a special unit with Northwestern-bound Tommy Vitale, Andrew Ives and Brett Miller returning at linebacker, and Joe Metzger and Anthony Melton back on the line. It'll still be a challenge matching up against Glenbard West's vaunted running game. While the offensive line returns only Jack Kane, the backfield is deep and talented with Sam Brodner, Donahvon Vaughn and others. Glenbard West's play-action passing game can't be overlooked with quarterback Kyle Kramer and receiver Aidan Gould, who led the Hilltoppers to the Red Grange Summer Classic 7-on-7 tournament title. Tigers quarterback Josh Prueter has one of DuPage County's top receivers in Keishawn Watson, a Western Michigan recruit. It's another great matchup to watch against Glenbard West returning defensive backs Jason Balogh and Ryan Thomas.
Next week: Maine South at WW South; Morton at Glenbard West.
Chicago Christian (2-7) at Westmont (1-8)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Westmont coach Otto Zeman figures if the Sentinels have a shot at a productive season they've got to win this game. It will help if new quarterback Kyle Domin starts strong and such D-linemen as Josh Hicks and Quintin Brown can get a pass rush.
Conant (7-4) at Lake Park (3-6)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The experience advantage falls to the Lancers, but they'll take nothing for granted after last season's 2-touchdown loss. Quarterback Mike Perry and running back Kenny Jones may get an offensive boost from talented Antonio Shenault at receiver.
Downers South (6-4) at Benet (6-4)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Benedictine University.
The quick hit: Can Benet offensive linemen Sean O'Connor, Connor O'Donnell and Tyler Takahashi handle the push from Mustangs' Caleb Konney, Jamaal Harvey and Jeff Agnew? Redwings running back Brad Sznajder aims to pick up from where he left off last year.
Fenton (6-4) at Grayslake Central (4-5)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Fenton's third-year starters will carry the load as the younger players gain their varsity legs. Running back-linebacker Matt Lucas leads the power ground game, but look for third-year quarterback Willie Wassmann to also make an impact.
Glenbard East (2-7) at Willowbrook (7-3)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Glenbard East's Drake Pusateri, Mickey Farnham and Dominic Wilberton all had an impact on last year's 28-21 Rams win. The Warriors lost much more to graduation, but linebackers David Harris, Jake Henderson and Elijah Rochel are back on defense.
Glenbard North (9-2) at Centerville, Ohio (8-3)Game time: 6 p.m. Saturday.
The quick hit: Scouting Centerville wasn't easy. Last year's team ran triple option, but this year's team is expected to be spread, no-huddle. The Panthers hope to make it a non issue by controlling the ball on the ground with backs Vittorio Tricase and Devion Hodges.
Glenbard South (10-1) at Addison Trail (2-7)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Will we see 60 combined points again? Not if Addison Trail improves as expected with Matt Gontarek and two-way threat Jaavion Bradley leading the secondary. It'll be interesting to see how much Jack Curtis plays quarterback for the Raiders.
Hinsdale Central (5-5) at Bolingbrook (10-1)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Not exactly the ideal debut game for first-year Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman, who takes the helm after three years at Evergreen Park. Will 6-foot-7 basketball standout Matt Rafferty quarterback the Red Devils' fast-paced offense?
Lisle (4-5) at Peotone (8-3)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Paul Parpet Sr. Era dawns for Lisle. It hopefully includes strong pass defense since Peotone won last year's game 28-14 with touchdown passes of 58, 82 and 90 yards. Behind a returning line, Lions junior back Michael Metoyer could shine.
Lockport (3-6) at Downers North (7-5)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Trojans will rely on a slew of juniors but the key remains with the senior experience of Wisconsin-bound quarterback David Edwards and run-stopping lineman E.J. Phillips. Former Glenbard South coach Dan Starkey is now at Lockport's helm.
McNamara (7-4) at IC Catholic Prep (6-4)Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
The quick hit: While the Knights' offense is powered by experienced linemen Stephen Stam and Michael Perrone, it'll be interesting to watch talented skill players like quarterback Connor Youngman and running backs Jordan Rowell and Max Eichhorn.
Menomonie, Wis. (9-3) vs. St. Francis (5-5)Game time: 4 p.m. Friday, Middleton High School in Madison, Wis.
The quick hit: First-year coach Mike Fitzgerald unfurls St. Francis' new schemes. He ran a spread at Marist, but expect senior running back Steven Fassnacht to also hit the ground running while quarterbacks Clint Bobowski and Nick Dama get their feet wet.
Plainfield North (3-6) at Metea Valley (4-5)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: In what's hoped to be a breakout year, Metea can use a Week 1 win. Coach Ben Kleinhans expects Plainfield to run the football, and looks for offensive balance by new starting quarterback Kyle Mooney, back Bryson Oliver, wideout Nick Dodson.
Romeoville (5-5) at Hinsdale South (4-5)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: A 32-29 heartbreaker in this one last year set the tone for an 0-3 start for the Hornets. They're determined not to let it happen again with quarterback Rob Regan directing the offense and lineman Josh King and linebacker Eric Dubose on defense.
Walther Christian (2-7) at Wheaton Academy (4-5)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: All the pieces are in place for a spectacular opener at the West Chicago campus. Performance Trust Field debuts, allowing the Warriors to be a true "home" team for the first time since the program, revived in 2007, was discontinued in 1989.
West Chicago (1-8) at East Aurora (1-8)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Season openers bring hope even to struggling programs. Doubt, however, can creep back in quickly. New West Chicago coach Ted Monken hopes physical defensive returners like Parrish Benton, Alex Maltese and Mike Otzwirk can lay it on thick.
Clark (2-7) at York (3-6)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Matt Monken, after 13 years assisting at Bolingbrook, makes his head coaching debut for the Dukes. The focus on both sides of the ball is clear. They aim to pound the ground game with Kyle Coughlin and stop the run on the other side of the ball.