Despite the recent wave of summerlike temperatures I haven't heard one weather complaint from student-athletes, coaches, fans, parents or fellow writers for more than two weeks the high school football season is heading into the home stretch.
Believe it or not, there's just two weeks of the regular season remaining.
Four of our local teams Aurora Christian, Batavia, Geneva, and Kaneland have already qualified for the state playoffs.
Two others, Aurora Central Catholic and Marmion, hold out hopes of punching their tickets to postseason play.
Meanwhile, West Aurora, St. Charles East, and St. Charles North have been eliminated from participating in the "second season" but still have plenty to play for over the final two games.
Aurora Central (3-4, 1-3)
Remaining games: Wheaton Academy, Oct. 14; at Aurora Christian, Oct. 21.
Strengths: It took the Chargers just six games to surpass last year's offensive point totals. Senior quarterback Kyle Clechenko has hurt teams with his arm and legs, evidenced by his two first-half touchdown runs against Walther Lutheran last Saturday.
Season highlights/lowlights: Trailing Marengo 25-14 in Week 2, ACC scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a 26-25 victory. However, their last two losses have been the crippling kind 18-15 vs. Guerin, and 28-26 to a Walther Lutheran team that entered with a 1-5 record.
Outlook: It won't be easy but the Chargers can make the playoffs for the first time since 1997 by winning their last two games. With just 13 seniors on the roster, the arrow is pointing upward for 2012.
Aurora Christian (6-1, 4-0)
Remaining games: St. Edward, Oct. 14; Aurora Central Catholic, Oct. 21.
Strengths: Averaging 40 points per game, the Eagles' offense has been difficult to stop. Senior quarterback Anthony Maddie has the ability to take over a game, as he did during last weekend's come-from-behind victory over Immaculate Conception. Junior receiver Cory Windle is Maddie's favorite target.
Season highlights/lowlights: Maddie did his best Aaron Rodgers impersonation last Friday, throwing for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns with a pair of TD runs, a 2-point pass conversion and 2-point run in the Eagles' Suburban Christian Gold Conference championship clinching victory over IC. The Eagles' only blemish was a 55-14 Week 5 loss to Montini.
Outlook: With their firepower, no opponent will feel comfortable facing the Eagles in the Class 3A playoffs.
Batavia (7-0, 4-0)
Remaining games: At St. Charles North, Oct. 14; Streamwood, Oct. 21.
Strengths: Pretty much everything. Defensively, the Bulldogs have pressured quarterbacks into throwing 15 interceptions. Offensively, senior quarterback Noel Gaspari has enjoyed a superb season, flanked by a stable of running backs Dom Guzaldo, Alec Lyons, Alex Moore, Anthony Thielk, Austin Lindquist and receivers Zach Strittmatter, Evan Zeddies, Thielk, and tight end Cole Gardner. Place-kicker Brandon Clabough has also been impressive.
Season highlights/lowlights: When you're unbeaten through seven games, the highlights are aplenty. Topping the list was the Bulldogs' 46-34 road win over Geneva. If there's a lowlight, it has been Batavia's penchant for penalties (11 for 120 yards vs. Elgin).
Outlook: This team should be a force to reckon with in the Class 6A (likely) playoffs.
Geneva (6-1, 4-1)
Remaining games: At S. Elgin, Oct. 15; At Larkin, Oct. 21.
Strengths: The senior-led trio of quarterback Matt Williams, tailback Parker Woodworth, and receiver Ben Rogers has been difficult to contain. Geneva has put up some impressive numbers, having scored 175 points in its last four games. One of the area's top athletes, the NIU-bound Williams also handles punting and kickoff duties.
Season highlights/lowlights: The Vikings' come-from-behind, 33-24 Week 2 win over Wheaton North included a pair of successful onside kicks. Geneva's defense blanked Streamwood 42-0 last Friday. A pair of special teams' mistakes proved costly during the team's 46-34 loss to Batavia.
Outlook: Whether they're put in Class 6A or 7A, the Vikings have enough talent to make another lengthy postseason run.
Kaneland (7-0, 3-0)
Remaining games: At Sycamore, Oct. 14; At Morris, Oct. 21.
Strengths: The lethal passing combination of Drew David-to-Quinn Buschbacher. Buschbacher, who does everything but sell tickets and help concessions with sales of pork chop sandwiches, has scored 16 touchdowns (11 receiving) in seven games. That's an average of more than 2 TDs per contest. David has picked up where graduated Joe Camiliere left off with 27 TD tosses.
Season highlights/lowlights: Coming from behind to outlast DeKalb, 49-38, in Week 6, the Knights pounded lumps on Yorkville last weekend (45-7). At the same time, the fact that the Knights allowed the Barbs to put up 38 points was unexpected.
Outlook: Coach Tom Fedderly will have a better idea of how good his team is after road tests vs. Sycamore (5-2) and Morris (7-0). Expect a few postseason shootouts involving the Knights.
Marmion (4-3, 2-2)
Remaining games: At Guerin, Oct. 15; Marian Central Catholic, Oct. 21.
Strengths: The Cadets have displayed a stingy defense that has kept them within striking distance in two of their three losses. Senior left-footed kicker/punter A.J. Friedman has been one of the top special team performers for the last two seasons.
Season highlights/lowlights: Friedman booted a school-record 48-yard field goal in the Cadets' Week 6 win over Wheaton Academy. A slow start (falling behind 20-0 at halftime) proved pivotal in last weekend's 20-14 loss to St. Francis.
Outlook: A win over Guerin this Saturday would almost surely clinch a playoff berth but the Cadets will need a healthy Garret Becker at tailback to make some postseason noise.
W. Aurora (2-5, 0-5)
Remaining games: At West Chicago, Oct. 14; Glenbard East, Oct. 21.
Season highlights/lowlights: The Blackhawks led 2-time defending 7A state champion Wheaton Warrenville South 6-0 until the latter stages of the third quarter in Week 3. Unfortunately, West Aurora has dropped its last five games, all in DVC play.
Outlook: Wins over West Chicago and Glenbard East could give the Blackhawks some momentum heading into 2012.
St. Charles East (1-6, 1-3)
Remaining games: At Elgin, Oct. 14; St. Charles North, Oct. 21.
Season highlights/lowlights: The Saints have experienced some highs and lows on special teams this season. Nick Devor, Brannon Barry and Carter Reading all own TD kick/punt returns, but a blocked field goal returned for a late TD vs. Larkin stunned the Saints in Week 4.
Outlook: St. Charles East has a chance to win three of its last four while putting 2011 in the rearview mirror.
St. Charles North (2-5, 2-2)
Remaining games: Batavia, Oct. 14; At St. Charles East, Oct. 21.
Season highlights/lowlights: Down by 11 heading into the fourth quarter, the North Stars scored 15 unanswered points to hand Larkin a grueling 29-25 setback last Friday. STC North isn't a stranger to heartbreaking losses, having suffered back-to-back blows in Week 1 (27-26 vs. Hinsdale Central) and Week 2 (26-21 vs. Plainfield Central).
Outlook: The North Stars will get their shot at knocking off unbeaten Batavia before taking on STC East in the annual "Cross-town Classic."
You can reach Craig Brueske at firstname.lastname@example.org