Cary-Grove (5-1, 5-1) at Crystal Lake South (2-4, 2-4)
When: 7 p.m. Friday at Ken Bruhn Field
Last year: Cary-Grove 43, Crystal Lake South 0
Last week: Cary-Grove 50, Dundee-Crown 13; Crystal Lake South 45, Hampshire 20
Outlook: Crystal Lake South has fought its way back from an 0-4 start with consecutive wins over Dundee-Crown and Hampshire. "Obviously, we're happy we didn't hang it up after starting 0-4 because it's been a long, long time since that's happened here," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "We've responded well. Working hard and getting better each week has been our focus." Cary-Grove, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A, represents a greater challenge. The Trojans have won 5 straight since their season-opening loss to Prairie Ridge, which remains ranked No. 2 in 6A. Last week they rushed for 511 yards against Dundee-Crown. Senior quarterback Bobby Collins led the way by rushing 10 times for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 51-yarder to open the scoring. Crystal Lake South's defense scored last week when junior Sam Greenspan returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown. Offensively, the Gators have a huge but young line that last week paved the way for 292 rushing yards, led by fullback Kyle Leva's 15 carries for 122 yards. Senior receiver Matthew Meyers (6-foot-3) had 4 catches for 177 yards, including touchdown receptions of 74 and 69 yards from senior quarterback Luke Nolan (7 of 14, 232 yards, 2 TD). "They're finding their niche and what they want to do as a team," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said of the Gators. "Any time you lose a couple of games, and they've lost some tough games, and then you win a couple you start to develop a team identity. I think they're finding their identity."
Next week: South Elgin (3-3) at Cary-Grove; Crystal Lake South at Huntley (3-3)
Glenbard East (1-5) at Jacobs (3-3) Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Glenbard East again tries to shake schizophrenic tendencies. Like last week's 4 red-zone turnovers, then what coach John Walters called the Rams' best four minutes, Jared Rech's interception, a 70-yard touchdown drive and Bret Bushka's winning 27-yard run. Jacobs must win this "pink out" game to keep its playoff hopes realistic ahead of next week's game against undefeated Fox Valley Conference leader Prairie Ridge. This is the healthiest the Golden Eagles have been. Senior safety Connor Beech returns from injury to make his season debut, and the team recently welcomed back 6-foot-2, 222-pound linebacker Tyson Pachniak and senior receiver Aidan Ludlum (6-0, 170). "We've got to get this one," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "Every game for us is a big one."
Hampshire (3-3, 2-3) at Prairie Ridge (6-0. 5-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: The Prairie Ridge triple option offense directed by standout quarterback Samson Evans is one of the most potent rushing attacks in the state. That's a tall order for a young Hampshire defense that allows 260 rushing yards per game. The Whip-Purs close the regular season with home games against McHenry (4-2) and Jacobs (3-3).
Huntley (3-3, 3-2) at Crystal Lake Central (2-4, 1-4)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: The Red Raiders seek to snap a 2-game losing streak against Crystal Lake Central. The Tigers won 34-27 the last time these Fox Valley Conference schools met in 2013, part of a 3-game losing streak that kept Huntley from making the playoffs. The Red Raiders have the upper hand this time; CL Central lost to Hampshire and Jacobs, teams Huntley defeated by a combined score of 84-7.
Dundee-Crown (1-5, 0-5) at McHenry (4-2, 3-2)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday at McCracken Field
Quick hit: The Chargers boast the second-leading rusher in the Fox Valley area in senior running back Greg Williams, who has rushed for 813 yards and 8 touchdowns on 151 carries. McHenry and first-year coach Nat Zunkel seek a fifth win for the first time since 2007-08, when the Warriors finished 6-4 and last made the playoffs. Dundee-Crown won by forfeit last year due to the McHenry teacher's strike.