St. Charles East (6-0, 3-0) at Larkin (4-2, 2-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Field
Last year: St. Charles East 48, Larkin 0
Last week: St. Charles East 37, Bartlett 19; Larkin 34, Streamwood 14
Outlook: Both squads have reason to believe they are the Upstate Eight River team of destiny. Each is enjoying a pinch-yourself type of season. St. Charles East has surged to sole possession of the UEC River lead, thanks to consecutive wins over Geneva, St. Charles North and five-time defending champion Batavia. Larkin has won 3 straight. Its 4 wins are the most in a season since the 2009-10 team went 5-4 under coach Matt Gehrig. A fifth win would qualify the Royals for playoff consideration. Larkin hasn't made the playoffs since 2006-07. What gets the attention of Saints coach Bryce Farquhar when he views film of the Royals? "Their speed," he said. "You see they are a little more aggressive this year than in the past. They play with a little more confidence, a little more energy. This will be a good challenge for us. Those kids believe in themselves and their coach (Dragan Teonic) has done a great job of turning things around there." The Saints play Elgin (0-6) and Streamwood (2-4) the next two weeks, which means Larkin likely is the biggest obstacle standing between them and the program's first undefeated regular season since 1998. Both teams played St. Charles North. East beat the North Stars 28-21; Larkin lost to the North Stars 38-0. But the Royals are a team with momentum. "We'll see what we can do here," Teonic said. "There's not a lot of pressure on us. They are a very good football team -- fast, disciplined, not really big and really well coached. But we're a good football team that's fast, not very big and we don't make a lot of mistakes. Our goals are in front of us. Let's see what we can accomplish."
Next week: St. Charles East at Elgin (0-6); Larkin at Batavia (5-1)
Batavia (5-1) at South Elgin (3-3)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Streamwood High School's Millennium Field
Last year: Batavia 35, South Elgin 28
Last week: Batavia 21, Geneva 7; South Elgin 49, West Chicago 12
Outlook: Originally scheduled to be played at South Elgin, this game has been moved to Streamwood's Millennium Field due to poor field conditions at South Elgin. The Storm and West Chicago chewed up South Elgin's field during Saturday's game played in the rain. Batavia needs a win to seal a playoff berth. This Upstate Eight crossover is critical to South Elgin's playoff hopes. The Storm need to win 2 of their last 3 games to qualify for playoff consideration. They will be heavily favored in Week 9 against East Aurora (1-5). That means they must knock off either Batavia, the No. 6 team in Class 7A, or find a way next week to beat Cary-Grove (5-1), the No. 3 team in Class 6A, on Cary-Grove's homecoming. Neither is an easy task. Batavia rushed last week for 333 yards on 45 carries against Geneva for an average of 7.4 yards per attempt. Reggie Phillips carried 18 times for 123 yards "Their (offensive) line is one of their strengths," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "We went to watch them (last Friday). They were firing off the ball and they have a really big tight end (6-foot-6 Glenn Albanese) who can do some damage. We're going to have to play physical. I think the speed will be a bonus for us on that turf, hopefully."
Next week: Larkin (4-2) at Batavia; South Elgin at Cary-Grove (5-1)
Elgin (0-6, 0-3) at Geneva (2-4, 1-3)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burgess Field
Quick hit: Standout Geneva running back Lance Arni looks for more room to run after he was held last week by Batavia to a season-low 66 yards on 21 carries without a touchdown. Elgin's defense allows 189 rushing yards per game. The Maroons yielded 44 first-half points last week against St. Charles North.
Streamwood (2-4, 1-3) at St. Charles North (5-1, 2-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Quick hit: Streamwood scored 14 points two weeks ago against Elgin and won by 8 points. The Sabres scored 14 again last week but lost to Larkin by 20. It's unlikely 14 will suffice against the North Stars, who have scored 39 more points than Upstate Eight River leader St. Charles East. St. Charles North can clinch a playoff berth.