Bartlett (2-1) at Batavia (3-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Bartlett 40, Batavia 22.
Last week: Bartlett 27, Waubonsie Valley 20; Batavia 50, Larkin 6.
Outlook: With apologies to Batavia's Week 1 foe Marmion and St. Charles East next week, this will be the Bulldogs' biggest challenge until Week 6 at Geneva. An Upstate Eight Conference crossover foe, the Bartlett Hawks over time have been perhaps the most physical team in the conference; last week they removed Waubonsie quarterback Mitch Stefani with a broken collarbone, on a clean two-on-one hit. "They're extremely well coached, they game plan as well as anybody we could ever play against," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron. "Their kids pay the price in the weight room." The Bulldogs have also stressed physicality, and it played out in the win over Larkin. Led by defensive end Marquise Jenkins and linebacker Anthony Thielk with 3 quarterback pressures apiece, Batavia hurried Larkin quarterback Kyle Newquist a stately 14 times and allowed just 119 total yards. It's a good sign when defensive backs are not required to make tackles, and seven of the Bulldogs' eight leading tacklers last week, led by middle linebacker Sean Oroni with 14, were either linemen or linebackers. Cole Gardner's return to full strength makes the Bulldogs front four, with Alec Lyons, Mack Brown and Jenkins, a chore even for Bartlett's power ground game featuring fullback Nathan Massey and tailback James Butler, who ran for 97 yards and a touchdown against Waubonsie. Still, the key to Bartlett is Air Force-bound quarterback A.J. Bilyeu, who is the Hawks' second-leading rusher and has completed 36 of 58 passes for 493 yards, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. "He's got the capability to take it to the house, or throw up a bomb," Piron said. Bilyeu's top targets are Zach Karys and Lorenzo Mitchell, who have combined for 5 touchdown receptions. While Batavia quarterback Noel Gaspari has run for less than half of Bilyeu's yardage, the Bulldogs' three-year starter has already completed 41 of 60 passes for 713 yards, 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. It's tough to double-cover any of Batavia's receiving options, including Michael Moffatt, Jon Gray, Evan Zeddies and Zach Strittmatter who last week caught 8 passes for 100 yards. It was great that Lyons, Thielk and Alex Moore all ran for touchdowns against Larkin, but this game will probably hinge on the quarterbacks and which offensive line provides better protection. Should be great fun. "We're talking about it to our kids this is what a playoff game's going to be like in a few weeks," Piron said.
Next week: Bartlett at Lake Park (1-2, 0-1), Sept. 23; St. Charles East (0-3, 0-1) at Batavia, Sept. 23.
Elgin (1-2, 0-1)
at Geneva (3-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Geneva 34, Elgin 13.
Last week: Streamwood 28, Elgin 14; Geneva 35, St. Charles East 17.
Outlook: A four-quarter effort is the rub for the Vikings against Elgin. Perhaps facing letdown after beating Wheaton North in Week 2 the Vikings went into St. Charles "a little loose," Vikings coach Rob Wicinski felt Geneva needed a 21-point rally to overcome St. Charles East's 17-14 halftime lead. "I'm glad we didn't stop at halftime," Wicinski quipped. Junior Bobby Hess, out injured since Week 1, returned with vigor, his 63-yard touchdown run turning momentum against the Saints. Geneva, still ranked seventh in the AP's Class 7A poll, salted the game away behind another strong effort by running back, Parker Woodworth, with 179 yards and 3 touchdowns on 29 carries. With Woodworth, Hess and quarterback Matt Williams whose 63 yards rushing nearly matched his 85 yards passing the Vikings amassed 354 yards on the ground. A repeat effort will help keep Elgin's dangerous Dennis Moore off the field at least on the offensive side for this two-way starter. Moore opened the scoring last week with a 12-yard run, among his 98 yards rushing against Streamwood. Not allowing him access to the perimeter, which St. Charles East was able to exploit, will be a key for the Vikings, who may have lost junior nose tackle Nathan Balettie to injury this week. That points to defensive ends Henry Zupke, who last week made 5 tackles and recovered a fumble, and all-conference senior Drew White. Wicinski also looks for linebackers Nick Caruso and the Jakes Powers, Will, Boser to have a good game along with junior linebacker Colin Griffin back from injury. Once forced to throw after Streamwood made up a 14-0 deficit, Elgin was intercepted 3 times. "I think if we can bottle (Moore) up a little bit we can be OK," Wicinski said. He's also hoping Geneva's numbers will wear down a thinner Maroons roster, but mainly Wicinski looks for a stronger start. "We're hoping to ratchet up the intensity," he said.
Next week: Larkin (1-2, 0-1) at Elgin, Sept. 24; Geneva at St. Charles North (0-3, 0-1), Sept. 23.
Larkin (1-2, 0-1)
at St. Charles East (0-3, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Larkin 16, St. Charles East 14.
Last week: Batavia 50, Larkin 6; Geneva 35, St. Charles East 17.
Outlook: A 20-yard field goal was the difference between these Upstate Eight Conference River Division foes last season. Should St. Charles East start the way it did against Geneva, that winless mark should be corrected. "I think the kickoff return to start the game got them believing," Saints coach Mike Fields said of Carter Reading's 84-yarder to begin the game with a touchdown. Reading also took a handoff and made a cut for a 41-yard touchdown run that continued the belief. Though Geneva came back with early second-half defensive stops and a power ground game that manufactured 21 unanswered points, the Saints' offense clicked a little louder with Charlie Fisher at quarterback the whole game. Last year's signalcaller, moved to receiver to start the season, will again take the snaps with Dean Bowen still questionable with an ankle injury. Fisher carried the ball 15 times for 77 yards. Reading added 60; the Saints' 144 yards rushing were the best of the season, and against a very good team. Fisher also went 11 of 22 passing for 153 yards. "He was a huge pickup for the kids and really sparked our offense and got everybody going," Fields said. The goal is for center Tom Wilson, guards Tom Doyle and Tyler Sullivan, tackles Trevor Ouimette and Mike Hockett and tight ends Nolan DeMartino, Tyler Windau and Mike Marino to keep up the good work, and a four-quarter team effort against Larkin. "This isn't rocket science," Fields said. "Ball control, keeping our defense off the field, keeping our defense fresh, I think that's what's going to lead us." When Brannon Barry and the rest of the Saints defense takes the field the goal will be as it was against Geneva quarterback Matt Williams try to contain Larkin quarterback Kyle Newquist. Batavia did last week, holding the senior to just 47 yards passing and 6 completions. If this game is close this season, look for St. Charles East kicker Danny Muzzalupo to provide the edge. His 33-yard field goal gave the Saints their last lead over Geneva. Fields hopes an improving offense will give the strong-legged senior other responsibilities. "We need to give him more opportunities to kick off."
Next week: Larkin at Elgin (1-2, 0-1), Sept. 24; St. Charles East at Batavia (3-0, 1-0), Sept. 23.
St. Charles North (0-3, 0-1)
at Streamwood (3-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: St. Charles North 56, Streamwood 42.
Last week: Neuqua Valley 43, St. Charles North 3; Streamwood 28, Elgin 14.
Outlook: If there was ever a team that needed a break it was St. Charles North, which took two excruciating losses to start the season then faced a Neuqua team North Stars coach Mark Gould admitted was "just better." But a break won't be had this week at Millennium Field. Streamwood looks to be this year's Elgin, sniffing an upper-half finish in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division. Thunder-thighed senior running back Alex Morrow already has run for 531 yards including 277 in the Sabres' opener against Hoffman Estates. Quarterback Dalton Lundeen is a three-year starter who last week completed 7 of 12 passes for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of them went to 6-foot-2 junior receiver Blake Holder, a returning starter who is among the conference's fastest players. "They are a big-play team," Gould said. He's hoping defenders such as sophomore middle linebacker Reece Conroyd and Garrett Johnson, a tight end who may pull double-duty at defensive end, can put the kibosh on those big plays. In an effort to emphasize the physicality required, Gould has brought up the names of North Stars past, such as Kevin Czerwinski and Dominic Cozzi. "If we can be physical we're not a bad football team," Gould said. He's also hoping the North Stars can take advantage of Streamwood's blitzing approach and 5-2 scheme to generate big offensive plays of their own. Last week was a setback for quarterbacks Collin Peterson and Ryan Fischbach, who combined to go only 5-of-27 passing for 39 yards after tasting previous success targeting potential game-breaker Oshay Hodges. The highlight was 57 yards rushing by George Edlund, and the sole score on Michael Schroeder's 28-yard field goal. After that, and two bitter defeats, it might be expected for St. Charles North to be down but Gould indicates otherwise as the team heads into Streamwood. "We probably had one of our best days of practice yesterday," he said Thursday.
Next week: Geneva (3-0, 1-0) at St. Charles North, Sept. 23; East Aurora (0-3, 0-1) at Streamwood, Sept. 23.
Naperville Central (2-1, 1-0)
at West Aurora (2-1, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Naperville Central 45, West Aurora 6.
Last week: Naperville Central 48, Glenbard East 7; Wheaton Warrenville South 20, West Aurora 6.
Outlook: What a shocking development, it must have seemed, for West Aurora to take a 6-0 third-quarter lead on mighty WW South, on Shon Enoch's 7-yard run. Finishing the job is another matter. Friday at Ken Zimmerman Field comes another DuPage Valley Conference foe the Blackhawks have never beaten in their 14-year DVC tenure. Obviously, though, this is a different West squad. "We proved we can compete with just about anybody, but at the same time we've got to make sure that we come out with the same energy, the same type of effort that we did last Friday," said coach Nate Eimer. "It's great we did that on Friday, but that can't be the peak of our season." While West Aurora had to target mainly WW South's Dan Vitale in Week 3, Naperville Central offers the two-headed monster of running back Matt Randolph and quarterback Ian Lewandowski, a pair of returning starters who each have the ability to run for 100 yards in the same game. Randolph, in fact, ran for 271 yards and 5 touchdowns last week, accounting for all 6 of the Redhawks' touchdowns when he added a 24-yard touchdown catch. Against WW South, West Aurora nose tackle Javonta Black led a strong defensive line effort with 11 tackles with 3 for loss and linebacker Brandon Warren added 9 tackles. Still, the Blackhawks were outgained 355-156 including 244-34 on the ground. West didn't convert a third down in nine tries while allowing WW South to convert five of 12. All these figures come into play against a Naperville Central squad which Redhawks coach Mike Stine has called overall his physically strongest. Probably most important is for West to stop shooting itself in the foot 3 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles last week. Sophomore quarterback Quintez Jones will get his second straight start, but senior Richie Renner will also be out there to offer his experience particularly in crunchtime, Eimer said. The keys are being able to run the football and no turnovers. "I told the kids this is a big game for us," the coach said. "Last week we proved that we can play with people in this conference for a night. Now we've got to keep it rolling."
Next week: Naperville Central at WW South (1-2, 1-0), Sept. 23; West Aurora at Glenbard North (3-0, 1-0), Sept. 23.
at LaSalle-Peru (1-2)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Kaneland 56, LaSalle-Peru 7.
Last week: Kaneland 59, Dixon 14; Sterling 31, LaSalle-Peru 14.
Outlook: LaSalle-Peru runs a spread offense. The Cavaliers, however, have yet to achieve the success Kaneland's enjoyed under quarterback Drew David. Improving his production to 11 touchdown passes against just 2 interceptions, the 165-pound sophomore torched Dixon for 5 strikes, to Kyle Pollastrini, Sean Carter, Quinn Buschbacher and 2 to Zack Martinelli. "A lot of what we do is timing," Knights coach Tom Fedderly said. "He's making quick reads. He's a really smart kid, he studies a lot, he understands the concepts of what we're trying to do and he's just getting better every week." He's also getting protection by the offensive line of Nick Sharp, Shane Jorgensen, Zach Theis, Alex Snyder, Ben Kovalick and blocking tight end Matt Price. "I'm really happy with our offensive line," Fedderly said. "(Dixon) tried to blitz us and Drew had a lot of time to throw." Dixon was only 1-of-13 passing, and if the Knights can limit Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover foe LaSalle-Peru anywhere near that they'll succeed. LaSalle-Peru struck first against Sterling, but after that the Cavaliers managed just 141 yards of offense including 6 yards rushing. Kaneland defenders such as junior Ryan Lawrence and sophomore Dylan Nauert, who made 7 and 5 tackles respectively last week, will track LaSalle-Peru's 6-foot-3 receiver Tyler Jakse, among the targets of quarterback Zack Cinotto. Forced to throw, Sterling intercepted Cinotto 3 times and sacked him 5 times. Kaneland's ground game has supported David, sophomore Jess Balluff running for 129 yards and 3 touchdowns on 20 carries against Dixon, the most carries Fedderly can remember for one of his backs. This is Kaneland's last tuneup before Big 12 East play begins, and despite the Knights having outscored the competition 137-27 Fedderly seeks improvement mainly on blocking and tackling technique. "We're not looking past anything to conference yet," he said.
Next week: Rochelle (3-0) at Kaneland, Sept. 23; LaSalle-Peru at DeKalb (2-1), Sept. 23.
Wheaton Academy (0-3, 0-1) at St. Francis (2-1, 0-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, College of DuPage
The quick hit: Wheaton Academy's goal in this SCC Blue match is to capitalize 100 percent of the time it reaches the red zone after failing twice against both Byron and St. Edward. The Spartans? Solidify special teams and start strong after sluggish first halves.
St. Edward (3-0, 1-0)
at Marmion (1-2, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Did not play.
Last week: St. Edward 40, Wheaton Academy 0; Montini 13, Marmion 6.
Outlook: Marmion coach Dan Thorpe has a good memory. It extends to St. Edward's 20-8 victory over the Cadets in 2008. "They physically beat us up. They physically pounded us three years ago and we anticipate the same," he said. Nowadays it's hard to imagine anyone beating up Marmion, although St. Edward's 255-pound, two-way lineman Evan Finnane gave Wheaton Academy more than it could handle last week. Still, Finnane and 240-pound junior lineman Nick Plazewski are just two against a series of Cadets who go 240 and up: Blake Mickey, Pat Bakala, Tyler Boyd, Mike Eberth and the like, up to big Ryan Glasgow, who at 270 pounds leads Marmion with 21 tackles, 5 for loss. Even against Montini's tough defense the Cadets for 193 yards led by Garret Becker's 82 on 17 carries. "The big thing," Thorpe said, "is we have to take advantage of a lot of their kids going both ways." That includes St. Edward's Luke Duffy, who ran for 4 touchdowns and 248 yards against Wheaton Academy, more than half of Duffy's 2010 total of 429 yards rushing. While Marmion used primarily a four-man defensive front to limit Montini to 220 yards of offense with 2 Jake Ruddy interceptions and another by Kyle Kozak the Cadets lost speed rusher Charlie Clohecy to a separated shoulder. Though Marmion extended two-time 5A state champion Montini to the end the Cadets failed to cross the goal line; the offense needs more than kicker A.J. Friedman, Thorpe figures. "The bottom line is we lost. When we play St. Ed's or Marian or St. Francis six points is not going to win," he said. "Obviously our offense has to put points on the board." Whether through special teams, better blocking, a scheme advantage, big individual play, an improved passing game or otherwise Thorpe also mentioned trickery offense will be the focus. "If you don't score touchdowns you don't win many games," Thorpe said.
Next week: Walther Lutheran (1-2) at. Edward, Sept. 23; Immaculate Conception (3-0) at Marmion, Sept. 23.
Chicago Christian (0-3, 0-1)
at Aurora Central (2-1, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: ACC 12, Chicago Christian 0.
Last week: Aurora Christian 54, Chicago Christian 7; Immaculate Conception 41, ACC 0.
Outlook: Aurora Central arrived to practice Monday with "a little bit of a hangover" from the IC drubbing, but Chargers coach Brian Casey said they quickly turned that around. "We're more looking forward to what's in front of us rather than what's behind us," he said. For the Chargers' homecoming in this Suburban Christian Conference Gold affair, that means a Chicago Christian team that has been outscored 152-21, taking a Week 1 49-7 loss to a Marengo team ACC beat. Eric Washington's Knights got clobbered by Aurora Christian, but Trevor Stephens and Calvin Visser, also Chicago Christian's quarterback, intercepted consecutive passes. Visser's pick set up the Knights' sole touchdown, by running back Daniel Gutierrez. Casey was most impressed by Chicago Christian punter Jay Carr, who could make a difference in field position. Casey said Chicago Christian showed some ability to run the ball out of its option offense, which is a concern after IC racked up 223 yards on the ground against the Chargers despite ever-present middle linebacker Nick Holzer, who has already been credited with 52 tackles. The Chargers' defense took a couple more hits, losing defensive end Jake McCarthy and cornerback Anthony Andujar to injury. Offensively, Casey seeks a return to a faster pace than what the Chargers showed IC. He also felt the Chargers were able to move the ball but several critical penalties, and three fumbles, stalled momentum at inopportune times. Running back Marcus Jefferson, who left last week's game after getting clocked on a 17-yard pass reception but will play, had the most success, dinging the perimeter for 41 yards rushing. With both Brian Bohr and Steven Amoni still nicked, Jefferson and Luke Dickerson look to rebound along with quarterback Kyle Clechenko. Casey said they all learned a lesson last week, how to compete in a big game. "We need to make a statement like (IC) made to us," Casey said.
Next week: Chicago Christian at Wheaton Academy (0-3), Sept. 23; Aurora Central Catholic at Marian Central (3-0), Sept. 23.
Guerin (2-1, 1-0)
at Aurora Christian (3-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Did not play.
Last week: Guerin 34, Walther Lutheran 7; Aurora Christian 54, Chicago Christian 7.
Outlook: While scouting last week, Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe hobnobbed with Guerin coach Tony Pecoraro, who said that, for Guerin, this is "our year." That'll definitely be put to the test by Aurora Christian, facing its best opponent since Stillman Valley in the opener. What Pecoraro meant was he's got a number of three-year starters. Players like running back Justin Williams, who crushed Walther Lutheran with 253 yards rushing on 21 carries; and quarterback Tommy Kelly, who threw a pair of touchdowns to returning starter John Dabe, perhaps the Gators' top overall athlete. Beebe believes Kelly will be the second-best quarterback the Eagles will face, following only Immaculate Conception's Demetrius Carr. A big concern for him, though, is how to handle a "no-name defense" that offers a tough front seven. That'll be a challenge for AC tackles Julian Sosa and Josh Kok, guards R.J. Morris and Nick Larson, and center Roman Czerwinski, all have whom have done a fine job, Beebe said. The coach hopes his players approach this game with a little more intensity than last week, after a bus ride he said felt just a little "too giddy." Despite the landslide win, Beebe wasn't all that pumped up despite quarterback Anthony Maddie passing for the most yards thus far this season, 331 with 5 touchdowns, 3 to receiver Cory Windle, who had a whopping 190 yards in receptions. (Maddie also returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, and running back Mitch Holtz broke a 70-yard run for another score.) Defensively linebacker Kenny McCracken will target Guerin's Williams after hurting Chicago Christian with 11 tackles. The Eagles are favored to win the SCC Gold and obviously favored to beat the likes of Guerin, but that's of little solace to Beebe. "The only thing that concerns me, really, is how we approach it," he said.
Next week: Guerin at St. Francis (2-1), Sept. 23; Aurora Christian at Montini (2-1), Sept. 23.
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 Cardinals; the 2010 Class 3A state runner-up plays at home 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 Joe 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. He has been intercepted only once. 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
Metea Valley (3-0, 1-0) at S. Elgin (1-2, 1-0)
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Last week: Metea Valley 47, E. Aurora 0; S. Elgin 42, Lake Park 7
Last year: South Elgin 48, Metea Valley 13
Outlook: Metea will likely head into a festival atmosphere in South Elgin's first game at its new on-campus stadium. (Phase II will eventually include lights.) Metea encounters the 1-2 punch of Storm quarterback Zach Gross and tailback Adolfo Pacheco, who ran for 104 and 154 yards, respectively, against Lake Park.