Taking on Batavia's first-rate defense with a reworked backfield is the less-than-ideal scenario Geneva faces in Friday's rivalry game.
Geneva (3-2, 2-1 Upstate Eight River) is coming off a 50-24 win at Larkin, but the victory had a cost: tailback Lavonte Jones. The 5-foot-9, 168-pound senior rushed for 96 yards on 15 carries, highlighted by a 52-yard touchdown run. However, Geneva's third-string tailback suffered a separated shoulder late in that game and won't play this week.
Jones joins first-stringer Brendan Krohe, a junior, and senior Aidan Morell on the growing list of injured Geneva tailbacks.
Out of options, Geneva coach Rob Wicinski is converting fullback Reilly Waldoch into a tailback against Batavia's stingy defense, which limited Lemont, Libertyville, Streamwood, Elgin and St. Charles East to 138 rushing yards combined.
"He was the starting fullback," Wicinski said of Waldoch, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior. "Now, he's the tailback and we'll rotate guys at fullback. He's out of position. He's not a tailback, but if we can move the chains, we'll see."
Waldoch enjoyed a productive outing against Larkin, rushing for 131 yards and 5 touchdowns. Also the team's kicker, he added 5 extra points and a field goal to account for 38 points.
Batavia defeated St. Charles East 7-0 last week to improve to 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the UEC River. It was the third shutout this season for the Bulldogs, who play at St. Charles North (4-1, 2-0) in the regular-season finale on Oct. 20.
"With that record we're in really good position in the conference," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "Us and (St. Charles) North are both undefeated in the league, so, you know, we've got a shot at this thing this year. That's what the kids are trying to do. They'd like to be conference champions.
"Geneva is somebody that's going to be right there standing in our way. They've really improved. They played (St. Charles) East tough (in a 23-16 loss), scored on them, made it a war with those guys when the quarterback (Clayton Isbell) was healthy. We're going to have our hands full so we'd better be ready to go. It's been circled. It's a game that's been circled on our calendar and it's a game that we really look forward to for our kids, for our community and our coaching staff."
Wicinski said Batavia has the look of a team that believes in itself.
"They're a very physical team and they play with more swag than I think they had even on their state championship team," he said. "Those boys believe they have the goods, so it'll be very interesting. We'll have to play very well because they are the class of the conference."
It could be worse: Cary-Grove (3-2, 3-2 Fox Valley) lost a couple of key players to injury in last Friday's 41-32 loss at Huntley.
Senior fullback/safety Max Skol and junior cornerback/running back Danny Daigle both left the game due to injury. Both will sit out Saturday's homecoming game against Dundee-Crown (1-4, 0-4) but are expected to return to the lineup eventually.
"Max has a sprained knee so he's probably out this week and beyond that I'm not sure," Trojans coach Brad Seaburg said. "Daigle has a shoulder injury. We're hoping to get him back in a couple of weeks. I don't think either one will be season-ending."
You can put it on the board: Yes, Streamwood cracked the scoring column in Week 5.
Shut out through 4 games, the Sabres (0-5, 0-3) scored 3 touchdowns in a 42-20 loss to Elgin.
Quarterback Brendon Marton threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior fullback Zedan Eledan in the first quarter for the first points of the season.
Streamwood coach Don Guindon hopes recent changes made on the offensive line will continue to pay dividends.
"We've found some cohesiveness up front with five guys who work well together," Guindon said. "The first couple of weeks we couldn't protect and give Marton any time, we were making mistakes all over the field and putting ourselves in bad spots on special teams. We've been better every week and we finally got some points. We just have to be more consistent."
Plus nine: One of the keys to Marmion's undefeated start is a plus-nine turnover margin.
The Cadets (5-0, 2-0 Chicago Catholic Green) won the turnover battle 2-1 in last Friday's 28-27 victory over Montini, highlighted by senior free safety Jack Molenhouse's 74-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was Marmion's first win over Montini since 2010.
The Cadets preach ball security on offense and their defense practices stripping the ball, but sometimes you just need a bounce to go your way.
"Sometimes the football gods are in your favor," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. "That happened Friday night and we're very appreciative."
Marmion plays a key CCL Green game at Fenwick (3-2, 0-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Fenwick lost to Montini 28-7 three weeks ago.
Flying high: Aurora Christian (3-2) faces an important test at Bishop McNamara (2-3) Friday in the Chicago Catholic White opener for both teams.
The Eagles' spread offense is directed by quarterback Drew Clippert, the unanimous CCL White MVP a year ago. A 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior with an offer from Dayton, Clippert has completed 119 of 199 passes (59.8 percent) for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns with 7 interceptions.
"Drew is outrageous," Aurora Christian coach David Beebe said. "I wish all the people who saw his stats knew the kid because he is quite a kid. He's everything you want in a representative of your program. He's a 4.2 student and he cares about everybody on the team. He doesn't think he's more important than anyone else. He's a coach's dream. And he just happens to throw for 450 yards every week."
Competing for a Cause: Geneva and Batavia are using their rivalry for good.
The schools will make a joint donation to charity via the sale of T-shirts leading up to the 99th meeting between the rivals at Geneva's Burgess Field on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The "Competing For A Cause" T-shirts, available in Bulldog red and Viking blue, are $15 each. Proceeds will go directly to three charitable organizations in the Fox Valley area: AVA Warriors, CHIP IN Batavia and Bulldogs Unleashed.
The fundraiser is a friendly competition between the rivals. Whichever school raises the most money for its designated charities receives a traveling trophy it keeps until next year when it will again be awarded to the school that raises the most money.
The shirts are available for purchase at Geneva High's athletic entrance on Thursday from 5-7 p.m., at Batavia High's cafeteria on Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. or at the game, beginning at 5 p.m.