St. Charles East (0-4, 0-2) at Batavia (4-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Batavia 28, St. Charles East 0.
Last week: Larkin 26, St. Charles East 20; Batavia 35, Bartlett 13.
Outlook: St. Charles East's offense, which has improved steadily with Charlie Fisher's move back to quarterback and Carter Reading's 179 yards rushing off tackle last week against Larkin, will face a mighty challenge by Batavia, which finally broke into the Class 7A Poll this week, at No. 10. Rolling into homecoming off last week's statement victory over Bartlett, Bulldogs linebacker Sean Oroni and defensive linemen Alec Lyons, Mack Brown and Austin Lewis continue to make plays though cornerback Jon Gray was the individual defensive star last week with 3 interceptions, 1 returned for touchdown.
St. Charles East coach Mike Fields looks for guard Tyler Sullivan, center Tommy Wilson, tight ends Mike Marino and Nolan DiMartino to again provide rushing lanes for Reading, with fullback Jacob Bruce cleaning up those holes ahead of Reading. The last two weeks the Saints have played solid first halves only to struggle in the second. "We're just going to go out and try to play the best game we can," said Fields, whose squad was only a couple breakdowns away like a blocked attempt, returned 82 yards for Larkin's game-winning touchdown, of Danny Muzzalupo's shot at a game-winning field goal from recording its first victory last week. "So we're going to go out and try to improve this week as well."
In addition to getting big plays by Gray and Austin Thielk, who ran for a touchdown and returned a kickoff nearly 100 yards for another, Batavia coach Dennis Piron was excited about the "resolve" his team showed last week. Aiming to duplicate ball control this week, late against Bartlett the Bulldogs cemented victory behind offensive linemen Brock Batka, Zack Schoettes, Nick Pappas, Ben Link, Sebastian Vermaas, Tim Wiley and tight end Cole Gardner. Alex Moore, one of Batavia's "speed guys" St. Charles East must contain, ended Bartlett's hopes. Bulldogs quarterback Noel Gaspari will keep St. Charles East guessing, and those linemen must protect him from St. Charles East's blitzing defense. "Don't let their record fool you," said Piron, who gets his first taste of the typical homecoming distractions in his first year as head coach. "They sure don't look like an 0-4 football team to us on film."
Next week: St. Charles East at Streamwood (4-0, 2-0), Oct. 1; Batavia at Geneva (4-0, 2-0), Sept. 30.
Geneva (4-0, 2-0) at St. Charles North (0-4, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Geneva 35, St. Charles North 34.
Last week: Geneva 45, Elgin 14; Streamwood 35, St. Charles North 9.
Outlook: Last year's track meet, decided on a pass breakup by Geneva's Tyler Ulin after St. Charles North coach Mark Gould's gutty call to go for a 2-point conversion, likely won't be replicated. In the past two weeks the North Stars have struggled to score, netting just 12 total points all on field goals by Michael Schroeder. Geneva coach Rob Wicinski, after watching film of two St. Charles North passes dropped in the end zone and a third dropped just shy of the goal line, concedes nothing. "They've got the pieces to be nasty," he said.
Seeing the size of St. Charles North offensive linemen such as Chase Gianacakos, Andrew Diehl and Kyle Breith, his concern is stopping North Stars running backs George Edlund and William Ohlrich. Geneva sparkplug linebacker Nick Caruso, defensive end Henry Zupke and junior linebacker Colin Griffin get the assignments. St. Charles North looks for receiver Oshay Hodges to keep Geneva from loading the box, and the North Stars simply must extinguish drive-stopping penalties. "They've shown they could be a real good offense at times," Wicinski said. "We just hope they don't put it together against us." For his part, Gould's focus will be on containing Geneva quarterback Matt Williams the focus of each of Geneva's opponents. "I think it starts with their quarterback," Gould said.
Williams, who passed for a season-high 221 yards last week against Elgin, was at his best in game management last week, Wicinski said. As well as an ad-lib 53-yard shovel pass to Bobby Hess for a touchdown, the Northern Illinois-bound Williams hit wideout Ben Rogers 3 times for 106 yards including a 20-yard touchdown. "Getting Ben deep was important for us, it extended the field a little bit," said Wicinski, hoping to catch the North Stars on the wrong side of a blitz.
Thus, St. Charles North's 3-5 defense is susceptible to being stretched thin between defensive ends Shawn Meaney and Wes Pasholk keeping contain on Williams and outside linebackers Corbin Burke and Alec Datoli maintaining position in wait of cutbacks by Geneva tailback Parker Woodworth. St. Charles North can best limit Williams & Co. is by sustaining offensive drives. Toward that end Gould returned to the basics this week getting pads lower on blocking, etc. "We don't have to be Superman," Gould said. "We have to make a few more plays, but we have to play the fundamentals of football."
Next week: Batavia (4-0, 1-0) at Geneva, Sept. 30; Elgin (1-3, 0-2) at St. Charles North, Sept. 30.
Rochelle (4-0, 0-0) at Kaneland (4-0, 0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Kaneland 35, Rochelle 8.
Last week: Rochelle 42, Dixon 7; Kaneland 56, LaSalle-Peru 14.
Outlook: After all the preliminaries, during which Kaneland has outscored its opponents 193-41 with consecutive 59- and 56-point games, comes the important stuff. The Knights look to get their 2010 Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division title defense off to a good start against a team that has been nearly as dominant. Rochelle, ranked fifth in the Class 5A Poll (Kaneland is ninth in 6A) has outscored its foes 179-37. "They're the same every year," Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said of the Hubs. "They're really physical, the run the Wing-T as good as anybody, and on our defense everybody's got to do their job."
That means defensive linemen Ryan Noel and Zach Theis, linebacker Ryan Lawrence and the rest. Fedderly said the pass is a big play for the Hubs, but last week Rochelle quarterback Nick Moore was 0-for-3 with 2 interceptions. Still, Kaneland corners Kory Harner and Jacob Razo, and safety Blake Bradford can't get sucked up too far. The name of the defensive game for Kaneland is assignment football, stopping Moore and Wing-T backs Kane Rodriguez, Jake Bigelow, Tony Walsh and primarily returnee Will Metzger, who has 452 yards on the year.
"It's all 11 guys against this type of offense," Fedderly said. Provided Kaneland can stop the Hubs' rare pass, the Knights have just the element which can get Rochelle out of its methodical game: the big play. Usual suspect Quinn Buschbacher got the train rolling last week with a 93-yard return of the opening kickoff, and he later took a Drew David screen pass 72 yards for a touchdown that gave the Knights a 42-14 halftime lead over LaSalle-Peru. Between Buschbacher's returns and Matt Rodriguez's kicking, "I'm really happy with our special teams," Fedderly said.
Also among the big playmakers was Jesse Balluff, whose 73-yard touchdown run helped him reach 124 yards for the game. David had numbers quarterbacks dream about: 18 of 22 passing for 351 yards with 5 touchdown passes and three passes dropped. Put several of those 19.5-yard passes together against Rochelle's 4-4 defense, and the Hubs will have a hard time matching the Knights on the scoreboard. Having tuned up against lesser lights, as has the rest of the division, which has a cumulative record of 22-2, Fedderly feels his team is prepared. "Yes, I do," he said. "We feel good."
Next week: Rochelle at Yorkville (4-0, 0-0), Sept. 30; Kaneland at DeKalb (2-2, 0-1), Sept. 30.
Immaculate Conception (4-0) at Marmion (2-2)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Did not play.
Last week: Immaculate Conception 41, Walther Lutheran 6; Marmion 38, St. Edward 6.
Outlook: If Immaculate Conception can stand up to Marmion's size and physicality on the offensive and defensive lines, this will be a very interesting game. The Knights, who beat Marmion 40-38 in their last meeting in 2008 when IC won the Class 2A championship have a dual-threat quarterback in Demetrius Carr and a two-headed monster sharing tailback in the spread offense: Dan Vatch and Matt Mesnard. In three games (IC was awarded a Week 2 forfeit win in a game canceled by lightning) Carr has run for 327 yards and thrown for 408, accounting for 8 touchdowns.
IC, now No. 7 in The Associated Press Class 4A Poll, likes to run between the tackles, but the addition of Carr adds a different dimension to the Knights. Another new dimension first-year coach Chris VanDyke (formerly of Naperville Central's program) brought is a nearly two-platoon system, which helps IC later in games. A key to IC's success will be how the offensive line of Sean Fenton, Adalberto Suarez, co-captain James Peachey, Brendan Flaherty and Patrick Skrodzki fares against Marmion defensive linemen Ryan Glasgow, Tyler Boyd and Blake Mickey and linebackers like Matt Lally and Angelo Silvestro.
The bad news for the host Cadets is linebacker and special teams kingpin Mike Shares dislocated his elbow on the opening kickoff last week; Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said Shares is out for up to six weeks. "He was the quarterback of the defense," Thorpe said. But the coach believes that the spread offense, which Marmion has already seen plenty against Batavia, Montini and Fenwick, plays more into Marmion's hands than the option IC ran for years.
"Them in the spread has helped us because in the past running the veer, you couldn't practice it the way they ran it," Thorpe said. "The coaches knew it and the kids knew it and that was a huge advantage that they've had." Out of Marmion's double-wing, Garret Becker ran for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 carries last week against St. Edward. Becker, Kyle Kozak, Cody Snodgrass and quarterback Charlie Faunce will aim to grind it out behind well-conditioned linemen Glasgow, Boyd, Mike Eberth. The ground game and physicality at the line will attempt to both sideline IC's offense and disrupt it. "We've got to contain the quarterback," Thorpe said, "got to shut down the run and make them one-dimensional."
Next week: Immaculate Conception at Chicago Christian (0-4, 0-2), Sept. 30; Wheaton Academy (0-4, 0-2) at Marmion, Oct. 1.
Aurora Christian (4-0) at Montini (2-2)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Montini 42, Aurora Christian 0.
Last week: Aurora Christian 43, Guerin 0; Marian Central 21, Montini 20.
Outlook: The difference between Suburban Christian Conference crossover foes Montini and Aurora Christian is similar to the difference between Class 5A Montini and 8A Loyola (which beat the Broncos 41-24 in Week 2) overall physicality and size, and depth. Aurora Christian, No. 3 in this week's Class 4A Poll with a couple first-place votes, will test these facets. Though Montini brings 300-pound, Iowa-bound defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson the Broncos' defensive line has been decimated by injury. Aurora Christian offensive linemen Julian Sosa and Jonah Walker are either out or iffy for this one, but the Eagles can supply 291-pound R.J. Morris and 245-pound Josh Kok.
Montini coach Chris Andriano was disgruntled that last week Marian Central developed long offensive drives. Despite interceptions by linebacker Mitch Lydon and defensive back Kyle Nastasowski, Andriano said: "we weren't able to affect their passing game with the rush or coverage." The Broncos' offense also has struggled through the air, difficult to get the ball downfield to Nebraska-bound receiver Jordan Westerkamp a main focus of Aurora Christian's defense. Thus, Montini may try to find its rhythm with tailback Dimitri Taylor, who has run for 449 yards and 3 touchdowns. In defending Aurora Christian, Andriano said he'd prefer Eagles' senior quarterback Anthony Maddie to throw the ball than get loose outside.
Though Western Michigan-bound Maddie has already passed for 1,048 yards and 17 touchdowns on 63 percent accuracy, Andriano recalls last season when Montini held the slinger to 11-of-25 passing, 124 yards, and an interception. Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe may get a break offensively with the possible return from collarbone injuries of both his son, Chad, and Grayson Roberts, to the receiver corps. Don Beebe said this week's keys are winning the turnover game Montini quarterback Mark Gorogianis has thrown 8 interceptions to Maddie's 3 and keeping Westerkamp off the field. The Eagles are better suited to do that than their meetings the past two seasons. "I love these types of games because I'm always one who loves to play teams that are better," Beebe said. "And certainly Montini is one of those."
Next week: Walther Lutheran (1-3, 0-2) at Aurora Christian, Sept. 30; St. Francis (3-1, 11) at Montini, Sept. 30.
Aurora Central Catholic (3-1) at Marian Central (4-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Did not play.
Last week: Aurora Central 38, Chicago Christian 12; Marian Central 21, Montini 20.
Outlook: "This is a chance for us to get a signature win," said Aurora Central coach Brian Casey. Considering Montini allowed 458 yards of offense against Marian Central, which trails only Joliet Catholic in Class 5A polling, it'll be a tough task Casey looks forward to undertaking. One key, along with creating some early breaks to bolster belief, will be to maintain a faster-paced ground game that last week accumulated more than 330 yards led by Luke Dickerson with 173 yards on 13 carries, plus 2 catches for 36 yards and a 41-yard kickoff return to set up a touchdown.
Casey hopes a void created by a knee injury to left guard-defensive tackle Izzy Rosa won't be too detrimental against Hurricane's stellar lineman Scott Taylor and Kurt Stirneman; he's looking for input by Chargers juniors Patrick Marcoux and Josh Karn. Inopportune penalties and 3 turnovers turned a 20-0 third-quarter lead over Chicago Christian into a closer contest than it should have been, and Marian Central won't be as forgiving. The Chargers did intercept Chicago Christian 3 times, by defensive tackle Joe Anger and defensive backs Javier Liz and Tyler Nelson who also blocked a punt returned by freshman Matt Rahn for a touchdown and all hands must be on deck against Marian's passing game.
Behind solid protection, Hurricanes dual-threat quarterback Chris Streveler completed 23 of 34 passes for 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions against Montini; 6-foot-3 tight end Scott Stochl and 6-2 receiver Kyle Thompson have the edge in height over ACC's secondary, which still lacks cornerback Anthony Andujar (back). On the other hand, Marian can also pound the ball behind a double-tight formation that will challenge ACC defensive tackles Anger and Nick Tansor and middle linebacker Nick Holzer, he of the astronomical 66 tackles. The Chargers' tackling improved last week, but this will be a handful. "I won't say it'll be easy to prepare for, but it'll be easy to gear up for because we have nothing to lose," Casey said.
Next week: Aurora Central at Guerin (2-2, 1-1), Sept. 30; Marian Central at St. Edward (3-1, 1-1), Sept. 30.
Chicago Christian (0-4) at Wheaton Academy (0-4)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, Wheaton College
The quick hit: Joel Swick's 63-yard touchdown run was too little, too late against St. Francis, but the young Warriors are on equal footing in this Suburban Christian Conference crossover. Sophomore defensive back John Gemmel brings 2 sacks into the game.
Guerin (2-2) at St. Francis (3-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, College of DuPage
The quick hit: Look for a result similar to St. Francis' 56-12 win (49-0 at one point) over Wheaton Academy. Jack Petrando already has 539 yards, 6 TDs rushing, but the Spartans still would like to get more out of the passing game. Here's a chance to tune up.
West Aurora (2-2, 0-2)
at Glenbard North (4-0, 2-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Glenbard North 34, West Aurora 21.
Last week: Naperville Central 35, West Aurora 20; Glenbard North 49, Glenbard East 0.
Outlook: The thrust for West Aurora is pretty simple. Reduce turnovers. The Blackhawks have 14 of them the last three games. "We need to stop turning the ball over and if we can do that I think we'll have some success," said Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer. Though Richie Renner threw 2 interceptions last week also a touchdown pass to Spencer Thomas he'll get the majority of the snaps this week, though Eimer didn't rule out Quintez Jones seeing time as well. Jones threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Cole Childs to pull the Blackhawks within 14-6 of Naperville Central in an inevitably disappointing game.
West Aurora's ground game may have taken a bit of a hit as running back and linebacker Booker Ross, the Blackhawk's third-leading rusher after Shon Enoch and Nate Zinzer, rolled an ankle against Naperville Central. Glenbard North will challenge West's passing game with defensive backs such as Johnny Gosinski and Anthony Tomsovic, plus the Panthers' usual complement of bruising linemen and flying linebackers. Defensively, returning West Aurora linemen and linebackers Ross, Javonta Black, Terrence Pierce, Alexander Pope, Kendall Williams and Brandon Warren will remember Glenbard North running back Phil Jackson.
Last season he ran for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns against West. Quarterback Brian Murphy piled on overmatched Glenbard East last week for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 9 passes. Glenbard North flies somewhat under the radar in the DuPage Valley Conference behind the Wheatons and Napervilles, but the Panthers are now 49-22 in coach Ryan Wilkens' seven seasons, and have made the playoffs 10 of the last 11 years with state runner-up finishes in 2000 and 2007. West Aurora, perhaps owning an edge in team speed, has got to limit Jackson's ground game, amass some rushing yardage itself and hang onto the ball. "We've got to find a way to use that speed," Eimer said, "because if they go right at you it could be tough."
Next week: Wheaton North (3-1, 2-0) at West Aurora, Sept. 30; Glenbard North at Naperville Central (3-1, 2-0), Sept. 30.
Richmond-Burton (3-1, 0-0) at Burlington Central (3-1, 0-0)
When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill
Last year: Richmond-Burton 34, Burlington Central 0
Last week: Burlington Central 34, Stillman Valley 7; Richmond-Burton 27, Byron 6
Outlook: It's only the league opener, but the winner of this game gains the edge in its quest for the title in the Big Northern East. Central returns to Rocket Hill for homecoming after turning heads last week with a complete performance at state power Stillman Valley. The Rockets' only loss came in Week 2 in overtime against Sycamore (4-0). "I think ever since the Sycamore game we've had a pretty good mindset," first-year head coach Rich Crabel said. Richmond-Burton is the team to beat in the Big Northern East until Central, Harvard (4-0) or North Boone (3-1) proves otherwise.
The two-time defending league champion enters this game on a 14-game winning streak in BNE contests. Hampshire was the last team to beat R-B in Week 4 of the 2008 season. Richmond has also reached two state semifinals and a state quarterfinal in the last three seasons. It's an impressive resume, but expect Central to ignore the pedigree. "I've said it before, but it's what we believe we just expect to be successful and our kids have taken to that thought process," Crabel said. "We don't mean any disrespect to anybody else, but we're pretty confident in ourselves even though we have to go up against a good Richmond team this week. They've been using a lot of different running backs, and they've got an awful lot of good kids on the offensive line. They do a lot of trapping."
The Burlington Central offense thrived last week, thanks in part to the blocking of rotating senior fullbacks Chandler Crary and Al Willett, Crabel said. The duo and the improving offensive line paved the way for junior tailback Joel Bouagnon (pronounced Boon-yohn) to rush for 147 yards on 23 carries, including 2 TDs. It helps that the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Bouagnon is tough to bring down. "I think some people will be taking a look at him," Crabel said of college coaches. "He has size and decent speed. He's a raw talent." Another talent, R-B running back Jake Dechow, could return this week from a broken bone in his ankle suffered over the summer. Dechow rushed for over 1,300 yards last season.
Next: Marengo at Richmond-Burton; Burlington Central at Marengo
South Elgin (2-2, 2-0) at Neuqua Valley (3-1, 1-0)
Last year: South Elgin 21, Neuqua Valley 14
Last week: South Elgin 33, Metea Valley 0; Neuqua Valley 56, East Aurora 7
Outlook: South Elgin won the previous two meetings between these UEC Valley Division schools, and both were extremely hard-fought victories. The third meeting should be no different. South Elgin plays a physical brand of football, led by senior two-way lineman Jon Slania (6-2, 275). Senior Devonte Greene (6-2, 225) is a menace on the defensive line. The Storm defense had to replace starters at nine positions. It has begun to jell since facing two state-ranked running teams to open the season in Downers Grove South and Metamora.
The Storm defense shut out previously undefeated Metea Valley last week. "Slania and DJ (Greene) in the middle and Zach and Nate Marotta and Chris Bingham at linebacker have done a real good job," South Elgin coach Dale Schabert said. "And we have good corners and safeties. We were just young and hadn't played together yet. Since that first night these guys have not stopped working hard. They have heart." Neuqua Valley hasn't been tested the last two weeks in blowout victories over winless St. Charles North and East Aurora, but the Wildcats also defeated Naperville North (2-2), which beat Wheaton Warrenville South last week.
The South Elgin offense will face a Neuqua Valley defense that likes to confuse opposing blockers. "They play that 3-5 and they're always coming at you," Schabert said. "They're physical, their linebackers change depths and they run twists and stunts with the linemen. We've worked real hard this week. We've thrown every stunt and twist them. We just have to know our assignments, where we're at and we have to take care of the ball." Neuqua Valley juniors Joey Rhattigan (11 TDs) and Danny Dudek have combined to run for 806 yards.
Next: Bartlett at South Elgin; Metea Valley at Neuqua Valley
Bartlett (2-2, 1-0) at Lake Park (1-3, 0-2)
When: today at 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Bartlett 56, Lake Park 28
Last week: Batavia 35, Bartlett 13; Waubonsie Valley 54, Lake Park 7
Outlook: Not much went right for Bartlett last week in a lopsided loss at Batavia. The good news? It wasn't a conference game. The Hawks return to Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division play tonight in Roselle. "We're still 1-0 in the conference," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. "Last week was definitely a wakeup call for us, though. We have to come out and play better this week. We've made some personnel changes and we've made some adjustments on offense and defense. We'll go from there." Lake Park junior quarterback Zach Gehant is in his second year as the starter for the Lancers. He'll throw to junior Scott Filip (13 rec., 215 yds, TD).
Gehant threw an interception last week in a loss to Waubonsie Valley, but fumbling the football was the bigger issue for the Lancers. They fumbled five times and lost all five. Senior running back LaCurt Evans scored 5 touchdowns in Lake Park's first two games, but he was kept out of the end zone by South Elgin and Waubonsie Valley. Bartlett hopes to extend his drought. "Looking at film, I think we can stop their run," Meaney said. "Our defensive line has had a good week of practice. They have three or four kids you have to worry about with the pass."
Next: Bartlett at South Elgin; Lake Park at East Aurora