Burlington Central (2-1) at Stillman Valley (2-1)
When: today at 7 p.m.
Last year: Stillman Valley 40, Burlington Central 14
Last week: Burlington Central 56, Rock Falls 0; Stillman Valley 49, Genoa-Kingston 7
Outlook: The Rockets face a challenge against the 2010 Class 3A state runner-up, which plays at home for the first time after three road contests to open the season. Stillman Valley lost its season opener at Aurora Christian, which is currently ranked No. 4 in Class 4A. The Cardinals have since won at Wauconda (38-21) and Genoa-Kingston (49-7). They received 10 votes in the Class 3A Associated Press poll this week. "They are a strong program and everybody knows how much they've won in the last decade," Burlington Central coach Rich Crabel said of a program that won state titles in 1999 (Class 2A), 2000 (2A), 2003 (3A) and 2009 (3A). "Nothing they do is going to be a surprise for the most part. They do a few things and they do them really well. No disrespect to them or anyone else we play, but we believe we're going to win every time we step on the field." The Cardinals run the ball well. Seniors Jake Wold, Eric Boettcher and A.J. Dobson have already combined to rush for 10 touchdowns and nearly 700 yards. Burlington Central last week enjoyed its largest margin of victory in a shutout since coach Dave Smith's Rockets defeated St. Edward 59-0 in 2000. The balanced Central offense has rushed for 459 yards and thrown for 454. Leading the way thus far have been junior tailback Joel Bouagnon (39 carries, 346 yards, 4 TDs) and senior receiver Zach Ranney (14 receptions, 232 yards, 5 TDs). Junior quarterback Ryan Ritchie has completed 35-of-65 attempts for 451 yards and 7 touchdowns (1 int.) Much of the credit for the offense's success lies in its improving line. "We're still working up front on both sides of the ball, but things are coming along nicely," Crabel said. "We know we won't be bigger on the lines than our opponent in any game we go into, but we won't use that as an excuse. We'll play to the things we do well and to what we've got. We get more and more people getting better every week and contributing, which is important when you're carrying between 40 to 44 kids."
Next: Richmond-Burton at Burlington Central; Oregon at Stillman Valley
Hampshire (0-3) at Cary-Grove (2-1)
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field
Last week: Grayslake Central 34, Hampshire 0; Crystal Lake South 10, Cary-Grove 7
Outlook: Cary-Grove welcomes a new opponent for its traditional Saturday afternoon homecoming game. The Whip-Purs, the latest addition to the Fox Valley Conference, will get a glimpse of life in the ultracompetitive Valley Division in this FVC crossover. "As we've told our guys, this is a great challenge for us," Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "Cary-Grove is one of the best teams in the state in any class, so let's see how we match up and let's go at it." The Whip-Purs have been led offensively by running back Chase Lundry. The senior has rushed for 389 yards and 3 touchdowns on 53 carries (7.3 avg.). He contributed heavily to a 17-play drive in the third quarter of last week's loss to Grayslake Central. Quarterback Kyle Anderson has completed 16-of-47 attempts for 234 yards and a touchdown. His top receiver has been Brendan Waterworth (6 rec., 131 yards, TD). The Trojans intend to use the lessons learned from last week's last-second loss to CL South to their long-term benefit. "The film from last Friday was a great teaching tool for us," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "We showed them the film and went back to work on Monday focused on the details. Offensively, we have to work on all the details that go into our blocking assignments. We want to finish blocks to the whistle. So often we could see on film we were close to having a very good play or a big play, but either a lack of execution or a lack of finishing kept it from happening." Seaburg credited the play of junior defensive end Mickey Duncan (6-1, 190). He started last week in place of injured senior end Sean Bryan, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his leg, Seaburg said.
Next: Hampshire at Grayslake North; Cary-Grove at Jacobs
Huntley (0-3, 0-1) at Crystal Lake South (3-0, 1-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Ken Bruhn Field
Last year: Crystal Lake South 48, Huntley 14
Last week: Crystal Lake South 10, Cary-Grove 7; Prairie Ridge 43, Huntley 2
Outlook: It's the home opener for the Gators after three road wins at Thornridge, Crystal Lake Central and Cary-Grove. CL South, ranked No. 5 this week in Class 7A, can't let its guard down against Huntley. "They play pretty good defense," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "I know they had some guys ineligible last week (against Prairie Ridge), which I think was really a factor on the defensive side of the ball for them. We're preparing for another tough game. Offensively, I think they had to do some things last week that they hadn't, again, because they were missing some guys. They tried to run the football and control the clock and throw when they had to. I think the game will dictate how much they have to run the ball or not." The Gators boast four talented ball carriers. Each gets his share of touches, which means fresh legs throughout the game. That rotation includes junior Zevin Clark (24 carries, 114 yards, 1 TD) and seniors Reese Dziedzic (16-89-1), Bryan Kazmer (19-61-2) and Karl Mikulec (22-38-1). Quarterback Austin Fowler has completed 10-of-19 attempts for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been intercepted once. Will Ahsmann (4 catches, 95 yards, TD) and Brad Walovitch (5-56) lead the team in receiving. Also a safety, Walovitch has 4 interceptions. Leading the defense are linebackers Joe Coriaci (13 tackles) and Steve Forner (11 tackles, sack) and lineman Josh Beveridge (11.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4.5 TFL). Huntley faces a challenge along its offensive line as two players get their first varsity starts due to injuries. The Red Raiders have rushed for 433 yards, and senior quarterback Jake Brock has completed 20-of-46 attempts for 328 yards. "We've been throwing the ball a little bit more than we originally planned in Week 1," Huntley coach Matt Gehrig said. "Jake has been getting better and better with more experience, more reps and more game action. We'll be looking for him to make a couple of plays for us, but we're still going to work to establish the run." Junior running back Ethan Connor and senior wide receiver Frank Recchia will both return to the lineup this week, Gehrig said.
Next: Huntley at Dundee-Crown; Crystal Lake South at McHenry
Dundee-Crown (0-3) at Prairie Ridge (3-0)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Prairie Ridge Athletic Field
Last meeting (2006): Prairie Ridge 38, Dundee-Crown 14
Last week: Prairie Ridge 43, Huntley 2; McHenry 33, Dundee-Crown 14
Outlook: These teams haven't tangled since a 2006 FVC crossover. The Chargers have never had any success against Prairie Ridge. The Wolves have won all 10 previous meetings. This squad is as talented as any PR coach Chris Schremp has fielded and poses several mismatches for the rebuilding Chargers. "They are the best team we have played so far this year," D-C coach Vito Andriola said. "They have a great defense. They really fire out and hit, so this will be a challenge. We're approaching this game as a barometer to see where we're at against a good team." Dundee-Crown led 14-13 at halftime last week until McHenry scored 20 unanswered points. An early second-half turnover contributed to a McHenry touchdown that sapped D-C's momentum. However, such growing pains are to be expected when sophomores start at eight positions. "We're just trying to sustain good play," Andriola said. "That's been the hardest thing. We only played well for about 28 or 29 minutes last week." Dundee-Crown will be without sophomore running back Cody Lane, who will miss the game with a lower body injury.
Next: Huntley at Dundee-Crown; Crystal Lake Central at Prairie Ridge
Jacobs (3-0) at McHenry (2-1)
When: today at 7:15 p.m. at McCracken Field
Last year: McHenry 57, Dundee-Crown 15
Last week: Jacobs 62, Grayslake North 21; McHenry 33, Dundee-Crown 14
Outlook: The Golden Eagles couldn't be more prepared to face quarterback Robert Tonyan and the McHenry spread offense. "Every team we've played has run the spread," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "Doesn't anybody want to run the football anymore?" Mitz's Golden Eagles do. They've already rushed for 979 yards, led by senior tailback Caz Zyks (38 carries, 492 yards, 5 TDs), senior fullback Kyle Wright (33-306-4) and quarterback Jason Judson (18-70-1). The Jacobs attack is hardly one-dimensional. Judson has completed 27-of-44 attempts (61.4 percent) for 393 yards and 4 touchdowns. His leading receiver has been junior Jake Gierlak (10 catches, 193 yards, TD). McHenry trailed Dundee-Crown 14-13 at halftime last week but scored 20 unanswered points in the second half. Tonyan, who has thrown for over 600 yards and 6 touchdowns, will have the support of a large homecoming crowd at McCracken. "They'll be all fired up," Mitz said of the Warriors. "Their quarterback is a good player and he has some good players to throw to. We'll have to put some pressure on him and mix some things up."
Next: Cary-Grove at Jacobs; Crystal Lake South at McHenry
Larkin (1-2, 0-1) at St. Charles East (0-3, 0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Norris Stadium
Last year: Larkin 16, St. Charles East 14
Last week: Batavia 50, Larkin 6; Geneva 35, St. Charles East 17;
Outlook: Larkin needs to give senior quarterback Kyle Newquist more time to operate. He was hurried throughout the Royals' lopsided loss to Batavia and completed only 6-of-17 attempts for 47 yards as a result. St. Edward transfer Maurece Jackson last week rushed 13 times for 43 yards and scored his second touchdown of the season. The winless Saints have had trouble finding the end zone. Senior Carter Reading scored on a 41-yard run last week, but that's the only touchdown the Saints have generated offensively in three games. Reading also scored last week on an 84-yard kickoff return. It was the Saints' second kickoff return for a touchdown in as many weeks. Larkin coach Mike Scianna expects to see quarterback Charlie Fisher, who took over for injured starter Dean Bowen at halftime in Week 2. "He might be tougher than what we've seen on their early film," Scianna said. "They look like a very tough group and they've obviously played some tough opponents. They seem to be similar to us numbers-wise, so I think it's a team more on our level. We'll have to be ready to walk into the bee's nest again. It's their homecoming so they'll be pumped up."
Next: Larkin at Elgin; St. Charles East at Batavia
Elgin (1-2, 0-1) at Geneva (3-0, 1-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Burgess Field
Last year: Geneva 34, Elgin 13
Last week: Streamwood 28, Elgin 14; Geneva 35, St. Charles East 17
Outlook: Elgin coach Dave Bierman will always respect Geneva, where he worked as an assistant for two seasons between head coaching gigs at DeKalb and Larkin. Bierman and Geneva coach Rob Wicinski were college teammates on Northern Illinois University's 1983 California Bowl team. "Those two years with Rob were great years," Bierman said this week. "It couldn't have come at a better time in my career between head coaching jobs. I was able to just coach and not worry about all the other things that go on as a head coach that take you away from actually coaching football. It was a great experience." Bierman's squad is a bit banged up, so wider participation will be required against the Vikings, who enter the game ranked No. 7 in Class 7A. Cramping limited Elgin standout Dennis Moore throughout the second half last week. "Conditions have changed from last week as far as weather, but we have to be smarter with our rotations and get kids on and off the field," Bierman said. "Getting some fresh legs out there will help." The Maroons expect to see more fronts from the Vikings than in the past, which will require defensive discipline to stay with assignments, Bierman said.
Next: Larkin at Elgin; Geneva at St. Charles East
St. Charles North (0-3, 0-0) at Streamwood (3-0, 1-0)
When: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Millennium Field
Last year: St. Charles North 56, Streamwood 42
Last week: Streamwood 28, Elgin 14;
Outlook: Don't look now but a victory would move the Sabres within a win of playoff eligibility for the first time since 2002. Streamwood aims to reverse recent history. The Sabres have not beaten the North Stars since the first year the schools met in 2001. St. Charles North has since won 9 straight contests between these Upstate Eight Conference River Division foes. The Sabres are off to their best start since 1997. The North Stars may be winless, but they are hardly pushovers. They lost to Hinsdale Central in the season opener on a failed 2-point conversion in overtime, and they were beaten by Plainfield Central on a punt block for a touchdown on the game's final play. "We've watched them on film and they are certainly not an 0-3 team relative to the competition they've played," Streamwood coach Cal Cummins said. "I think it's going to be a good ballgame. They certainly have some weapons and can do some things. They play hard. It's a school we haven't beaten in a long time, so I hope the guys take that as a challenge." Streamwood's offense reeled off 28 unanswered points against Elgin last week. The Sabres are paced by senior running back Alex Morrow (531 yards, 7 TDs) and senior quarterback Dalton Lundeen. The lefty has completed 25-of-44 attempts for 514 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Next: East Aurora at Streamwood; Geneva at St. Charles North
Metea Valley (3-0, 1-0) at South Elgin (1-2, 1-0)
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at South Elgin Stadium
Last year: South Elgin 48, Metea Valley 13
Last week: South Elgin 42, Lake Park 7; Metea Valley 47, East Aurora 0
Outlook: South Elgin plays the first home game in school history Saturday afternoon on the heels of a 3-game road trip that felt more like a 4-game trip due to two trips to Metamora. The Storm overcame obstacles both mental and physical last week when they surged past Lake Park just four days after losing a weather-delayed road game downstate. "Short week, wet field, tough conditions I think these guys grew up a little bit last week," Storm coach Dale Schabert said. "I think we saw a bunch of new kids finally figuring things out a bit. Some of the little things that killed us the first two weeks missing a pass here or there, turning the ball over and putting our defense on a short field we did better." South Elgin is a run-first team this year, led by tailback Adolfo Pacheco. The senior has rushed 55 times for 482 yards and is coming off a 4-touchdown game. Quarterback Zach Gross has rushed for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns and has thrown for 195 yards. South Elgin represents a step up in caliber of opponent for the Mustangs, who also defeated Plainfield East and Quincy. Former St. Charles East coach Ted Monken has had three years to coach this year's seniors at the new Aurora school. "We had a chance to do that here not so long ago," Schabert said. "It's a rare opportunity. He's coached those kids like crazy for three years. They have a lot of speed. They throw it vertically and get it down field in a hurry. We can't get too spread out because they have a back who can run it well. We've played some pretty tough competition. I think our schedule has prepared us for this part of our season."
Next: South Elgin at Neuqua Valley; Waubonsie Valley at Metea Valley
Bartlett (2-1) at Batavia (3-0)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Bartlett 40, Batavia 22
Last week: Batavia 50, Larkin 6; Bartlett 27, Waubonsie Valley 20
Outlook: The Hawks embark on the first of three consecutive road games, a trip that will also take them to Lake Park and natural rival South Elgin. Bartlett took a huge early step toward a division title last week by defeating 2010 UEC Valley co-champ Waubonsie Valley. The Bartlett defense picked off 2 passes and held the talented Warriors to 108 rushing yards. The offense set the tone with a long scoring drive to open the game. Senior quarterback A.J. Bilyeu has now completed 36-of-58 attempts for 493 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has 2 interceptions. The Hawks have also rushed for 567 yards on 105 attempts, an average of 5.4 yards per attempt. Bartlett steps away from divisional play to face a confident, undefeated Batavia team under first-year coach Dennis Piron. The Bulldogs like to throw the ball behind veteran quarterback Noel Gaspari, who has completed 41-of-60- attempts for 713 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. Gaspari spreads the ball out for big gains between 6-foot-5 junior receiver Zach Strittmatter (14 rec., 229 yards, 1 TD, 16.3 avg.), 6-3 senior tight end Evan Zeddies (9-200-2-22.2), 5-11 senior receiver Jon Gray (5-107-2-21.4) and 6-1 sophomore receiver Michael Moffat (4-81-2-20.2). "We have to be ready for their passing game," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "They're a good team, but we've played good teams like Wheaton North and Waubonsie. Our kids are competitive and they're used to challenges like this. They know they have to come out and play hard." The Hawks will play on grass for the first time this season, the same surface they practice on daily.
Next: Bartlett at Lake Park; St. Charles East at Batavia
St. Edward (3-0, 1-0) at Marmion (1-2, 0-1)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Listen: The game will be broadcast on WRMN AM-1410 and streamed live on the web at wrmn1410.com, announcers Jeff Myers and Kyle Bault.
Last meeting (2008): St. Edward 20, Marmion 8
Last week: St. Edward 40, Wheaton Academy 0; Montini 13, Marmion 6
Outlook: St. Edward did exactly what it had to do in winning its first three games. Now, the competition level rises as the Green Wave gets its first crack at a member of the Suburban Christian Conference elite. Of St. Edward's final six opponents, four are either ranked or received double-digit votes in this week's Associated Press poll. The Cadets are not one of those teams. All they did was reach the Class 6A state title game a year ago. "We know we need to win 2 of these last 6 games to get into the playoffs," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "A lot of people say we won't be able to compete with the schools from these classes that are bigger than ours, but we've been erasing doubters since we got here. People said it would be impossible to rebuild the program here, but we did. Our kids take a lot of pride in the way they play defense. They believe in each other and they believe they can go out there and beat anybody. Of all the teams I've coached, this one has a unique heart that can offset some of the potential shortcomings in size. We're expecting a war." The Green Wave defense has allowed only one touchdown this season, led by seniors Mark Sink (32 tackles) and Evan Finnane (26 tackles, 3 sacks). The Marmion offense leans heavily on the running game, led by Garrett Becker (45 carries, 232 yards, TD) and junior Cody Snodgrass (27-117). Marmion's defense picked off 3 passes against Montini last week, including a pair by Jake Ruddy.
Next: Walther Lutheran at St. Edward; Immaculate Conception at Marmion