Batavia (4-0, 2-0) at St. Charles East (4-0, 2-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norris Stadium
Last week: Batavia 48, Elgin 0; St. Charles East 28, St. Charles North 21
Last year: Batavia 28, St. Charles East 0
Outlook: Resurgent St. Charles East will try to do Friday what no football team in the Upstate Eight River has accomplished in more than five years: knock Batavia out of first place. Fresh off last week's 28-21 win at No. 7 St. Charles North, St. Charles East (4-0, 2-0) welcomes Batavia (4-0, 2-0) in the division's key game. The Bulldogs are ranked third in the Associated Press Class 7A poll. The Saints will follow the same formula against the Bulldogs that worked so well against the North Stars. They intend to use their overall team speed to negate skill-position players and limit the opponent's possessions by devouring clock via the triple-option offense. The formula has been working. The Saints are unbeaten through 4 games for the first time since the 1998 quarterfinal team started 11-0. "From the beginning of the season, we really felt that St. Charles East had a chance to be one of the top teams in our area," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "They had a lot of players back from last year's team and they got better and better as the year went on. I believe it will be a really tough game. We could play well and still might have trouble because they are a good team." The Saints have to clear the mental hurdle of defeating a program that hasn't lost within the River Division since the Class of 2017 was in sixth grade. Batavia has won 34 straight UEC River games dating back to 2010. "I don't think this group will be mentally freaked out by Batavia," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "This group is different. Their mentality has been different from the start. When we went down 14-0 in the first six minutes against (St. Charles) North, they didn't panic. They just responded. These seniors beat Batavia as sophomores so they are confident they have the ability to do it. It's just a matter of going out and getting it done."
Next week: Geneva (2-2) at Batavia; Bartlett (2-2) at St. Charles East
Larkin (2-2, 0-1) at Geneva (2-2, 1-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Larkin 46, West Chicago 12; Geneva 35, Streamwood 7
Last year: Geneva 41, Larkin 27
Outlook: The winner's playoff aspirations get a boost. Larkin's remaining schedule includes tough matchups against Batavia (4-0) and St. Charles North (3-1) and winnable games against Streamwood (1-3) and Elgin (0-4). Thus, a victory over Geneva would potentially clear a path to 5 wins and a possible playoff berth, Larkin's first since quarterback Cam Kinley led the Royals to the playoffs in 2006. Geneva has won all five meetings between these teams since joining the Upstate Eight Conference in 2010. "We're getting better as a team and a program and moving in the right direction, and maybe we're getting them at the right time," Larkin coach Dragan Teonic said of the Vikings. "They are not a bad team by any stretch, but maybe they're not the typical Geneva team we've seen." Larkin option quarterback David Hibbler is a 50-percent passer (22 of 44) who can run. He has rushed for more yards (209) than he has thrown (174). Junior running back Kindrel Morris has 398 yards and 6 touchdowns on 66 carries. The Vikings counter with the area's leading rusher, Lance Arni. The senior has carried 115 times for 697 yards and 6 touchdowns. Geneva senior quarterback Kyle Evert has completed 25 of 53 passes for 318 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both Hibbler and Evert have thrown 3 interceptions. Geneva needs the win just as badly with games against Batavia, St. Charles North and West Aurora (4-0) still to come. "I told our coaches we're in playoff mode already," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "They have to beat us and it's a real must-win for us. They haven't been in this situation for a long time so we're going to get a really good shot from them. We can't mess around."
Next week: Geneva at Batavia (4-0); Larkin at Streamwood (1-3)
Streamwood (1-3, 0-2) at Elgin (0-4, 0-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: Can Elgin snap its 14-game losing streak in an Upstate Eight River game that seems evenly matched on paper? Elgin has been outscored 139-42. Streamwood has been outscored 149-42. The Maroons allow fewer yards per game (315) than the Sabres (358).
St. Charles North (3-1) at Glenbard East (0-4)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: 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.