Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/22/2016 6:57 PM

Week 5: Scouting the Upstate Eight Valley

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South Elgin (2-2, 2-0) at West Aurora (4-0, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: South Elgin 22, Bartlett 14; West Aurora 26, Glenbard East 7

Last year: South Elgin 37, West Aurora 21

Outlook: This could be the defining game of the Upstate Eight Valley season. Defending champion South Elgin has bounced back from an 0-2 start to win 2 straight, thereby extending its UEC Valley winning streak to 7 over two seasons. Unbeaten West Aurora's homecoming mission? Defeat the defending champs and stay on course to win the program's first conference title since 1983. West Aurora gets starting quarterback Jake Jankovsky back from an ankle sprain for the first time since Week 1. He should bring a bit of balance to an offense that has thrown for only 115 of its 1,357 total yards. Over the last 3 weeks, Jankovsky's understudies attempted only 9 passes, completing 2. Senior DaVion Cross leads the offense with 25 carries for 358 yards (14.3 avg.) while twin brother DaQuan Cross has 39 carries for 240 yards (6.2 avg.). Each has scored 6 touchdowns. West Aurora's defense has yielded only 18 points, led by linebackers Chandler Behrens (30 tackles), Taylor Zimmerman (30 tackles, 6 sacks), JaeShawn Robinson (24 tackles, 3 sacks), DaQuan Cross (4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 ints.) and Fabian Guerrero (22 tackles, sack, fumble recovery). "To beat us, you're going to have to make a lot of great offensive plays for four quarters," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. That defense must contain do-everything South Elgin QB/WR/SS Nate Gomez. The junior has rushed for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns, thrown for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 65 yards and a score.

Next week: West Chicago (0-4) at South Elgin; West Aurora at Huntley (3-1)

East Aurora (1-3, 0-1) at West Chicago (0-4, 0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: The bottom line for West Chicago: 4 games, 11 turnovers. The Wildcats must contain those and contain East Aurora's speed. The offense goes as quarterback Zach Stefan goes. Fullback Frank Aniello and two-way starter Jeremy Grant are making strides. An East Aurora victory would give the Tomcats 2 wins in a single season for the first time since 2008, when they finished 2-7. West Chicago has been outscored 151-53. East Aurora has been outscored 170-52. The Tomcats lost the turnover battle 3-1 in last week's loss at Dundee-Crown.

St. Charles North (3-1) at Glenbard East (0-4)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Rams defensive linemen Camron Simmons, Brandon Raines, Zach Thornton and Tom Flood have their hands full against St. Charles North's big offensive line. Glenbard East returns No. 1 running back Scott Szabo from injury but lost another, Jack Oberli. The North Stars attempt to bounce back from their first loss in this Upstate Eight crossover. A St. Charles North offense averaging 35.6 points and 391 yards per game faces a Glenbard East defense that allows 28.6 points and 344 yards per game.

Prairie Ridge (4-0) at Bartlett (2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Quick hit: The Hawks face the No. 2-ranked team in Class 6A after a short week to prepare. The Wolves' triple-option attack is triggered by junior quarterback Samson Evans, who has rushed for team highs of 420 yards and 7 touchdowns in 66 attempts (6.4 avg.). Bartlett limits opposing offenses to 218 total yards per game.

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