IC Catholic Prep (4-0, 0-0) at St. Edward (4-0, 0-0) Metro Suburban Blue
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: IC Catholic 72, Chicago Christian 0; St. Edward 50, Guerin 0.
Last year: IC Catholic 41, St. Edward 6.
Outlook (from the IC Catholic perspective): Since 2009 these teams have split 3-3 dating to their Suburban Christian Conference days. They're the MSC Blue's top two teams both in scoring and scoring defense, with IC averaging 56 points and St. Edward allowing 10.5. IC's Northern Illinois-bound Jordan Rowell has already run for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns, though the Knights' up-tempo offense is predicated by how quarterback Luke Ricobene reads the defense. Senior safety Matt Sutton makes the calls on defense, which will bring the heat with physical linemen Jimmy Kenneally, Robert Vitek, Dylan Packer and Ricky Mysliwiec. St. Edward's 6-foot-2 quarterback Dylan Mlinarich has thrown for 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns, gutting Walther Christian and Lindblom for 7 TD passes apiece. Saveon Smith has caught 6 touchdown passes and averages 27 yards per catch. However, IC's staff includes former NFL safety and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, a big advantage.
Outlook (From the St. Edward perspective): This Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division opener is among the most important games on the schedule for each of these longtime rivals. A Class 3A semifinalist in 2015, IC is 3A's top-ranked team. Led by all-state tailback and cornerback Jordan Rowell (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), committed to Northern Illinois, and junior quarterback Luc Ricobene, the Knights have scored 225 points. That total includes 61 points against a St. Laurence team that has beaten Benet, St. Rita and defending 3A champ Bishop McNamara. Rowell has rushed for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns on 55 carries. Ricobene has completed 45 of 73 passes for 617 yards and 5 touchdowns and been intercepted three times. Ricobene also has rushed 19 times for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, which has St. Edward coach Mike Rolando's attention. "Rowell is outstanding and you have to account for him, but what scares us most is (Ricobene)," Rolando said. "Even if you do everything well on a play, he can scramble and make a play because he's so multidimensional." IC gave up 49 points to St. Laurence in a Week 2 win. Otherwise, the Knights shut out Bishop McNamara, Elmwood Park and Chicago Christian. IC defensive end Jimmy Kenneally (6-1, 235) was an honorable mention all-state pick in 2015. Last year, he terrorized St. Edward quarterback Dylan Mlinarich throughout IC'S 41-6 victory. Mlinarich comes in hot. The left-handed junior has thrown for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns on 66-of-115 passing (57.4 percent).
Next week: Riverside-Brookfield at IC Catholic; St. Edward at Fenton.
Wheaton Academy (4-0, 0-0) at Riverside-Brookfield (3-1, 0-0)
Metro Suburban Blue
Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday
Last week: Wheaton Academy 26, Elmwood Park 14; Aurora Central Catholic 21, Riverside-Brookfield 20.
Last year: Riverside-Brookfield 31, Wheaton Academy 21.
Outlook: For a third straight season Wheaton Academy finished its nonconference slate 4-0. Now the goal is not only to reach the playoffs but to start picking off the tougher teams in the MSC Blue. Warriors quarterback Ben Thorson, running backs Kent Harmon and Cristian Carstens and receiver Miles VanderKlok stack up against most foes' skill sets, but the challenge for the Warriors becomes matching the physicality and execution of teams like R-B at the line of scrimmage. A good step for Wheaton Academy is it is approaching a two-platoon situation up front. Nori Kasai and Dimitrie Skakavac are the only offensive linemen who also will play full time on defense. Warriors coach Brad Thornton said Thorson had his best game last week making decisions and passing on the money. The maturing sophomore most likely will need to step it up further against a Bulldogs squad that loads the box and features safety Ja'mari Wise and linebackers Michael Wilson and Scott Keenan.
Next week: Wheaton Academy at Glenbard South; Riverside-Brookfield at IC Catholic Prep.
Glenbard South (2-2, 0-0) at Fenton (2-2, 0-0)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Fenton has won its last two games by a total score of 81-0, but not against teams of Glenbard South's caliber. Always a physical contest between these Metro Suburban Blue foes, Fenton nose tackle Dylan Butts meets Raiders guard Nick Puleo.
Aurora Central Catholic (4-0, 0-0) at Guerin (0-4, 0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: A win gives the Chargers their longest winning streak since 1996, when former coach Mike Curry's team lost the season opener but won its next five. A victory also makes ACC playoff eligible for the fourth time in five seasons. Guerin has been outscored 158-6.