Neuqua Valley is the first of four DuPage Valley Conference football teams that will make long road trips to fill a bye week in their schedule. The Wildcats head to Indianapolis to play Bishop Chatard on Friday.
Chatard doesn't have a home field, so it will host at Lawrence North, 7802 N. Hague Road. Neuqua (4-0) will leave Naperville at 10:30 a.m. and hope to be back by 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The game starts at 7 p.m. in Indianapolis, 6 p.m. here.
Neuqua Valley had tried to line up an Illinois program that had the same bye week and was willing to play but found no takers, Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus said.
He inquired of out-of-state schools and Chatard signed up. It's a 13-time and defending Indiana state champion ranked second in Class 3A (out of Indiana's six classes for football) and 26th overall by Jeff Sagarin. It's a one-year deal though Ellinghaus said Neuqua would like to host the Trojans in 2017.
"We will be challenged up front on both sides, and our kids will challenge them right back because that's something we've stressed all year long, to win the battle up front," Ellinghaus said.
In 2014-15 Chatard's enrollment was 678. Ellinghaus said Chatard is used to playing larger schools, and this season the Trojans have played -- and lost to -- Cathedral and Lawrence Central, Nos. 3 and 6 in Indiana's Class 6A, respectively, as well as Roncalli, No. 2 in 4A.
Chatard clocked 3A Brebeuf 23-3 and 2A Cardinal Ritter 45-6. In 2009 Neuqua played Cathedral and lost 63-34. Cathedral beat Chatard 44-10 on Sept. 9.
"The film shows you that they're in every game," Ellinghaus said of Bishop Chatard. "That they're going to battle and they're in every football game."
Naperville Central will visit St. Edward of Lakewood, Ohio, on Oct. 1. Waubonsie Valley follows on Oct. 7 at Hamilton Southeastern in Fishers, Indiana, and Wheaton Warrenville South travels to St. Mary Prep in Orchard Lake, Michigan, on Oct. 15, Week 8.
On the heels of sending three wide receivers to FBS programs in recent years, Wheaton Warrenville South coach Ron Muhitch has a message for college coaches.
Cam Moore is next.
The Tigers' 6-foot-1, 199-pound senior transferred from Wheaton North after his sophomore year and had to sit out his junior season at WW South. From the start of this season's opener -- against the Falcons, of all teams -- Moore flashed instant impact.
"He makes us a much more explosive team," Muhitch said. "He adds so much to our offense."
Moore has 27 catches for 496 yards and 2 touchdowns, an average of almost 7 catches and 125 yards a game. With a rocket arm he's also thrown 2 touchdown passes for 115 yards and carried the ball 5 times for 52 yards.
There hasn't been much to cheer this season for the winless Tigers, but Moore's been the exception.
"He's an unknown right now because people haven't seen him much," Muhitch said, "but Cam Moore is a Division I player."
Wild about the Wildcat:
Every coach saves something up their sleeves for a special occasion.
For Naperville North, last week's game against Lake Park was the time to unveil a long look at the Wildcat formation featuring talented running backs Eric Wright and Cross Robinson in the backfield.
Late in their 28-20 DuPage Valley Conference win over Lake Park, the unbeaten Huskies turned to Wright and Robinson to grind out a tight victory. They combined for 294 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, with Wright accounting for 169 yards and 2 scores on 32 carries.
"It's something we've worked on in practice for a while, and we used it the previous week on the goal line," said Naperville North coach Sean Drendel. "We were just waiting for the right time to use it."
Something else with the Wildcat could be up Drendel's sleeve, and it involves quarterback Luke Cegles spread out wide.
"Luke's a good receiver, so you never know," Drendel said. "We just didn't throw it to him last week."
In the past two seasons Fenton (2-2) had allowed Walther Christian to hang around a bit before the Bison won decisively. In last week's game the goal was to dominate right off the bat.
The challenge was not to punt the entire first half. Instead Fenton scored the first six times it had the ball, started subbing in for starters before halftime, and won 48-0.
"The key was that we were the better team and we had to show it and I think we did," said Bison coach Mark Kos.
Greg Cazares, Abel Rivera, Ivan Rodriguez and Dylan Butts all ran for between 42 and 63 yards, with nose tackle Butts and defensive end Rodriguez also combining for 5 tackles for loss.
Now comes Friday's Metro Suburban Blue opener against Glenbard South in Bensenville. Continuing to execute on both sides of the ball against a tough opponent is the key.
"The level of competition is going to amplify tremendously starting with Glenbard South, but we're excited for the challenge that awaits us," Kos said.
Missing five players who were injured in the previous week's West Suburban Gold loss to Willowbrook, Addison Trail regrouped to beat Downers Grove South 34-28 after building a 27-7 halftime lead.
"For a half we played like we always thought we could," said Blazers coach Paul Parpet Jr.
Nick D'Ambrose stepped up with 171 rushing yards and 44 receiving yards, and scored 3 touchdowns. Quarterback Bobby Daniels enjoyed one of his better games while completing 9 of 15 passes for 140 yards and 2 scores.
Despite having an already thin roster thinned out even more, Addison Trail (2-2, 1-1) finds itself in the thick of the race for the Gold title heading into this week's action against Leyden (2-2, 1-0).
"I thought our kids responded to the challenge and rose to the occasion," Parpet said. "To play as poorly as we did against Willowbrook and then play as well as we did against Downers, I give a lot of credit to our kids."
Quote of the week:
Plucked from Daily Herald correspondent Bill Stone's game story on Glenbard South's 49-27 football victory over Ridgewood on Sept. 16, Raiders coach Ryan Crissey exhaled after Glenbard South (2-2) survived a game that delivered touchdowns on 2 kickoff returns, a punt return and an interception return.
"It was traumatic and dramatic," Crissey said.
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