By Jerry Fitzpatrick
Batavia (1-0) at Libertyville (1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Batavia 34, Belleville West 24; Libertyville 19, Fremd 15
Outlook: Two of the top teams from last year's Class 7A playoffs clash in nonconference action for the first time. Libertyville reached the state title game a year ago before falling to champion Glenbard West. Batavia made it to a quarterfinal but bowed out against Cary-Grove. Both return strong teams despite graduating all-state quarterbacks. Libertyville has four starters back on either side of the ball, including offensive linemen Tyler Jost (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) and Charlie Schmidt (6-5, 270). In last week's opener against Elk Grove, tailback Jason Tse rushed 11 times for 97 yards and senior quarterback Jack Ruskell (6-3, 200) completed 11 of 21 attempts for 112 yards without an interception. He threw 2 touchdown passes to 6-3 senior receiver Brandon Rule. Batavia relied on the biggest offensive line in program history to pave the way for 350 rushing yards. Reggie Phillips rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown in 22 attempts (6.5 avg.). Batavia used two quarterbacks last week. Junior Riley Cooper completed 8 of 11 passes for 60 yards. Mobile senior quarterback Ben Weerts did not throw a pass but rushed 12 times for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. "We hope to have a balanced attack between the run and the pass sooner rather than later," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said.
Next week: Batavia at Streamwood; Warren at Libertyville
Burlington Central (0-1) at Hampshire (1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Byron 20, Burlington Central 0; Hampshire 35, Dundee-Crown 28
Last year: Hampshire 27, Burlington Central 9
Outlook: How these spread offenses choose to attack differs. Burlington Central, running the spread under first-year coach Brian Melvin, rushed more times than it threw in last week's loss to Byron. Quarterback Cam Kaldenberger was limited to 4 completions in 13 attempts, but the Rockets don't need him to do it by himself. "Cam's job at quarterback is to get the ball to our athletes," Melvin said of players like running backs Dionte Smith and Jimmy Fay and wide receivers Colin Anderson, Logan Dietz and Sam Dossey. "Whether he hands it off or throws it, that's his job. Our job as an offensive staff is to figure out how to get the ball in our athletes' hands more." Hampshire has become adept at the spread under third-year coach Mike Brasile. All-FVC quarterback Jake Vincent opened the season by throwing for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns (1 int) in a comeback victory at Dundee-Crown. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound senior was efficient, completing 30 of 41 attempts. All-area receiver Jared Hornbeck made 12 receptions for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns. In only 12 attempts, tailback Daniel Tuzak rushed for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, the Whip-Purs couldn't stop the run. D-C rushed for 392 yards. "That's a concern," Brasile said. "You have to stop the run first or it's going to be a long night. It was our first game with 11 new guys on defense, including a couple of sophomores playing up."
Next week: Hampshire at Cary-Grove; Burlington Central at Rockford Lutheran
Huntley (1-0, 1-0) at Prairie Ridge (1-0, 1-0)
Fox Valley Conference
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Huntley 35, Jacobs 0; Prairie Ridge 26, Cary-Grove 14
Last meeting: Huntley 34, Prairie Ridge 7 (2013)
Outlook: It's only Week 2, but this could be the game of the year in the Fox Valley Conference. Prairie Ridge, a Class 6A semifinalist a year ago, takes on defending FVC Valley champion Huntley. Led by junior quarterback Samson Evans, Prairie Ridge and its veteran roster of 37 found a way to win last week at talented Cary-Grove, another FVC contender. Meanwhile, Huntley blew out Jacobs. There are seven weeks still to play, but the winner of this game sits in the FVC driver's seat. "Yeah, we probably will have faced the two top teams in the league after this week, but our conference is so good this year that it's going to be nine weeks of tough football," PR coach Chris Schremp said. "Any of these good quarterbacks can jump up and upset you. Plus, you never know about injuries." Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said his players thrive on big games like this early FVC showdown. "They're just super anxious to play these teams and I just love their desire to want to play the Jacobs and Cary-Groves and Prairie Ridges," Zimolzak said. "These players are playing disciplined football and buying into their roles." The game features two of the best junior quarterbacks in the state. Last week, Huntley's Eric Mooney rushed 12 times for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns and completed 14 of 18 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. PR's Samson Evans rushed for 60 yards on 19 carries and completed 5 of 9 passes for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Next week: Huntley at Dundee-Crown; Prairie Ridge at Crystal Lake Central
Geneva (1-0) at Kaneland (1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Last week: Geneva 45, St. Francis 7; Kaneland 43, Brooks 20
Last meeting: Geneva 27, Kaneland 23 (2009)
Outlook: An area rivalry is rekindled. Separated by 16 miles, these teams squared off each season between 2003-10, first as members of the Suburban Prairie Conference's North Division, later as members of the Western Sun. Geneva dominated the seven-year series, winning the last 6 contests by an average score of 37-19. Though the Vikings return no starters on either side of the ball, last week they rose up and dismantled St. Francis. Senior Lance Arni rushed 19 times for 203 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Vikings outgained the Spartans 355 yards to 130. "They're doing a good job running the ball and their defense is really sound," Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. "Geneva always has good athletes. Our kids are really excited. It's going to be a great night weather-wise and we're hoping for a great crowd." The Knights outgained Brooks 443-89, balanced between the pass (241 yards, 2 TD) and run (202 yards, 4 TD). Sophomore Jonathan Alstott carried 22 times for 110 yards and 2 late touchdowns. Junior QB Jack Douglas completed 21 of 30 attempts for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both to 6-2 junior receiver Josh Marczuk, who had 9 catches for 133 yards. "Their quarterback managed the game well and got the ball to (Marczuk), which is a really good thing to do," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said.
Next week: Geneva at St. Charles East; Rich Central at Kaneland
Bartlett (1-0) at St. Charles North (1-0)
Upstate Eight crossover
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Bartlett 6, Conant 0; St. Charles North 42, Schaumburg 10
Last year: St. Charles North 35, Bartlett 13
Outlook: Last week, senior quarterback Zach Mettetal threw for 421 yards and 5 touchdowns in a win at Schaumburg. He was on point last year against Bartlett, when he completed 24 of 33 attempts for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns. Expect the North Stars to attack with Colorado State recruit Griffin Hammer (6-4, 230), whose 6-reception, 124-yard performance last week included touchdowns of 41 and 34 yards. "We switch from facing a run-based attack against Conant to a pass-based offense where they put the ball in the quarterback's hands and let him make plays to some talented wide receivers," Bartlett coach Eric Ilich said. "They have a well-coached offense and well-coached team. We want to focus on ourselves, try to get better and take on the challenge every Friday night." The Hawks counter with senior defensive back Jake Flint, who defended 3 passes in last week's shutout of Conant. Bartlett senior TJ Nicoll (6-3, 225) had 2 sacks. Senior Vanshon Lindsey carried 24 times for 85 of Bartlett's 127 rushing yards. The North Stars would like to establish a running game behind third-year tailback Eric Lins, who last week gained 62 yards in 6 carries. "The running game wasn't there for us last week as much as I would have liked it to have been," North Stars coach Rob Pomazak said. "We want to be a balanced offense as much as we can be. Manageable second and third downs make life easier."
Next week: Bartlett at West Chicago; Larkin at St. Charles North
Cary-Grove (0-1, 0-1) at McHenry (1-0, 1-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: The Trojans look to bounce back after a physical battle with Prairie Ridge. Cary-Grove has won 12 straight in this series, including a forfeit victory last season due to the McHenry teacher's strike. The Warriors notched their first win under new coach Nat Zunkel last week, a 45-31 home win against Crystal Lake South.
Crystal Lake South (0-1, 0-1) at Crystal Lake Central (1-0, 0-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: Senior Michael Swiatly was a bright spot in last week's 14-point loss at McHenry as the Gators dropped their fourth straight season opener. The senior ran for one touchdown and caught a 68-yard pass from quarterback Luke Nolan for another.
South Elgin (0-1) at Lockport (1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: South Elgin's short passing game stalled in a 39-9 loss at St. Charles East due to penalties. Also, the Storm allowed 247 rushing yards. The Porters are coming off a 20-9 win over Downers Grove North in which quarterback Ben Davis completed 16 of 18 passes, including 3 touchdown throws.
Dundee-Crown (0-1, 0-1) at Jacobs (0-1, 0-1)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: Dundee-Crown running back Greg Williams followed his veteran offensive line last week for 385 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on 52 carries. Williams also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass. Jacobs has won 14 straight in this series, including a 49-17 victory in Carpentersville last year.
Elgin (0-1) at Mundelein (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: The Maroons attempt to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to East Aurora in the final seconds. Mundelein lost its season opener to Larkin after allowing 282 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.
Larkin (1-0) at Maine West (1-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: Larkin aims for its first 2-0 start since 2009. In a 14-0 season-opening win at Proviso East, Maine West outgained the Pirates 289-37. Warriors junior Matt Kentgen (6-4, 190) caught TD passes of 21 and 24 yards from senior Sam Kindle.
West Chicago (0-1) at Streamwood (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Millennium Field
The quick hit: Both teams look for their first victory in this Upstate Eight crossover. They last met in 2014; Streamwood prevailed 28-8. The Sabres must improve against the run. Against Hoffman Estates they allowed 199 yards on 35 carries (5.7 avg.), which translated to 24 first downs.
DuSable (1-0) at Marmion (1-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Fichtel Field
The quick hit: Alumni are invited to attend a pregame reception as Marmion goes for the 400th win in program history. The Cadets shut out CICS/Ellison 44-0 last week, led by 2 interceptions and 3 tackles by junior safety Jake Molenhouse. The Panthers won their season opener against Chicago Academy 72-6.
Lindblom (0-1) at St. Edward (1-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Greg True Field
The quick hit: St. Edward discovered its running game in a 30-20 win over a team from Jacksonville, Fla. Angel Garcia rushed 20 times for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lindblom, enrollment 1,003, lost 28-18 last week to Lincoln Park, a school of 2,107 students.
Westmont (1-0) at Aurora Central Catholic (1-0)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: ACC controlled the ball and the clock in a 22-9 win over Aurora Christian, thanks largely to 110 hard-fought yards on 31 carries by junior running back Ryan Cerza. Westmont edged Chicago Lakeview 30-28 to win its season opener.
Chicago Marshall (1-0) at Aurora Christian (0-1)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday
The quick hit: Junior quarterback Drew Clippert left last week's loss to Aurora Central Catholic with a hip injury and will be "out for a while," according to Eagles coach David Beebe. Freshman Josh Beetham gets the start. In relief last week, he completed 4 of 9 passes for 126 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown to 6-4 senior Ryan Burke. Marshall defeated Urban Prep/West 40-0.
West Aurora (1-0) at Waukegan (1-0)Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Weiss Field
The quick hit: Not only did West Aurora's defense not allow a touchdown in last week's 33-3 win at Yorkville, the unit scored 6 points when linebacker DaVion Cross returned an interception 52 yards to pay dirt. Waukegan caused 7 turnovers last week at North Chicago yet still had to sweat out a 31-27 win.
St. Charles East (1-0) at East Aurora (1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Aurora Christian.
The quick hit: The Saints' triple option pounded South Elgin last week with 45 carries for 247 yards, paced by sophomore Justin Jett's 130 yards and 3 scores in 20 attempts. East Aurora's Nasir Phillips stole the ball out of an Elgin ball carrier's hands with 18 seconds left and raced 96 yards for the winning touchdown.
Chicago Hope (1-0, 1-0) at Westminster Christian (1-0, 1-0)Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday at Warrior Field
The quick hit: Quarterback Tannor Park rushed for 97 yards and threw for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 49-12 win at Mooseheart. The Eagles handed Westminster one of its 3 regular-season losses last year, a 40-6 setback. The Warriors are 0-3 vs. Hope.