at Aurora Central Catholic
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: The host Chargers hope to storm into a potential playoff run against this nonconference opponent from the Big Northern West Conference. Honestly, an ACC loss would be a big disappointment considering last season coach Bruce Bazsali's Crusaders clobbered Noble Street Charter 62-0 then were outscored 415-87 over eight straight losses. The last time Rockford Lutheran won more than three games in a season was 2002 when the Chargers won their second straight contest over the Crusaders, 29-25. One can never tell in a season opener, however, as turnovers, ill-advised penalties and consistency can plague teams regardless of strength. Particularly when Rockford Lutheran returns nine starters on both offense and defense, including spread-offense quarterback Jake Milbourn, speedy back Kyle Vangsness and big lineman Chris Gustafson-Nolan. ACC coach Brian Casey, however, points out that last season St. Edward's sophomore team beat Rockford Lutheran 42-0 and ACC's sophs beat St. Ed's by "a whole bunch." A small-numbered squad, a lot of Rockford Lutheran's players will go both ways, and behind ACC's big returning linemen like Alex Karafiat, Joe Anger and A.T. White the Chargers will go right at them in their no-huddle offense. While fullback Marcus Jefferson and running back Steven Amoni figure to batter away on the ground, this also will be a good opportunity for run-first quarterback Kyle Clechenko, in his first season as ACC's full-time signalcaller, to loosen up the arm. The goal against Rockford Lutheran which Casey said wanted out of a two-year contract and was obliged, Pontiac swapping in for 2012 is to play with intensity and urgency right off the bat. "If we can jump out on them real quick, 14-0 eight minutes into the game," Casey said, "the thought of 'here we go again' has got to creep into their heads."
Next week: Rockford Lutheran at Milwaukee-University, Sept. 2; Marengo at Aurora Central Catholic, Sept. 3.