Wheaton Academy (1-6)
at Aurora Central Catholic (3-4)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Wheaton Academy 51, ACC 20.
Last week: Marian Central 56, Wheaton Academy 16; Walther Lutheran 28, ACC 26.
Outlook: Aurora Central's loss last week means that to be considered for a playoff berth the Chargers need to beat both Wheaton Academy and, in Week 9, Aurora Christian. Next week's game will be most difficult but the Chargers have to focus on this Suburban Christian Conference crossover. Wheaton Academy lacks the speed owned by such Walther Lutheran athletes as Najee Toomer, but Warriors outside-geared running back Joel Swick did have a three-game streak in which he made plays for at least 67 yards. Otherwise, aside from trying to pound John Mark Wiersema up the middle on traps he had some success early against Marian Central Wheaton Academy will try to exploit the passing combo of Drew Decker to receiver Matt Lindsay, who has caught 29 passes for 562 yards, 5 touchdowns. "They try to hit a lot of big plays and that's something where we've not improved, in terms of stopping big plays, all season," said Aurora Central coach Brian Casey. Decker did show a penchant against Marian for lofting the ball, which could benefit ACC defensive backs like Luke Dickerson and Javier Liz and linebacker Nick Holzer, who has made 102 tackles, 10 for loss. The key will be the pass rush of defensive linemen Jake McCarthy, Joe Anger, Pat Marcoux, A.T. White, Izzy Rosa and, playing some defensive end, Kyle Clechenko. Offensively, while Casey desires more production out of a passing game that's earned just 282 yards, the Chargers will mainly stick with the horse that bring them the ground-based double-wing set that ran for more than 320 yards against Walther Lutheran. Quarterback Clechenko (615 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns), backs Dickerson (471 yards, 5 TDs), Brian Bohr and Steven Amoni will test Wheaton Academy's ability to play both assignment football on inside traps, and reach the perimeter to contain the speedy Dickerson and Clechenko. "We'll execute what we do and go from there," Casey said.
Next week: Wheaton Academy at Montini (5-2, 3-1), Oct. 21; Aurora Central Catholic at Aurora Christian (6-1, 4-0), Oct. 21.
St. Edward (4-3)
at Aurora Christian (6-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Aurora Christian 29, St. Edward 22.
Last week: Montini 59, St. Edward 14; Aurora Christian 35, Immaculate Conception 28.
Outlook: With St. Edward needing one more win for playoff consideration in this Suburban Christian Conference crossover and playing 5-2 St. Francis next week Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe equates the Green Wave to a cornered animal. To match that desperation he feels the Eagles must play "emotionally high," not rest on the laurels of their comeback victory over Immaculate Conception, which likely earned them the SCC Gold title. Also, with the first game in history next week against Aurora Central, Beebe hopes there's no looking ahead. St. Edward's losses have come against Blue division foes Marmion, Marian Central and Montini, which beat Aurora Christian by a similar 55-14 score in Week 5. Beebe hopes his defense will be able to limit St. Edward backs Luke Duffy and Troy Gudino and force quarterback Robert French to throw the ball. Shifting between a three- and four-man defensive front against Immaculate Conception, Aurora Christian won the line of scrimmage with great games by Josh Kok, Nick Larson, Roman Czerwinski, Julian Sosa, Tyler Glassman and Jonah Walker, who made 3.5 tackles for loss. IC reported 169 yards rushing, but the Eagles held sway and also contained the perimeter. Last week St. Edward allowed 348 yards passing and 8 touchdown passes, which may have Aurora Christian quarterback Anthony Maddie and receiver Cory Windle salivating. Maddie, up to 1,903 yards passing and 27 touchdowns on the year, drove the Eagles downfield in the last 2:38 against IC, finding Windle alone for a 36-yard, game-winning touchdown pass. Maddie has passed for 300 yards in each of his past two games, and Windle has caught at least 6 passes for 116 yards in four of his last five games. As Beebe said, "Big-time players make big plays in big games." Unfortunately, Beebe's junior son, Chad, re-broke his collarbone and is probably done for the year. Still, five other receivers caught passes against IC in a victory that moved Aurora Christian to No. 5 in The Associated Press Class 4A poll. All will need to be on board Friday. "I think St. Ed's will come and play their best game of the season," Don Beebe said.
Next week: St. Edward at St. Francis, (5-2, 2-2), Oct. 21; Aurora Central Catholic (3-4, 1-3) at Aurora Christian, Oct. 21.
Batavia (7-0, 4-0)
at St. Charles North (2-5, 2-2)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: St. Charles North 38, Batavia 28.
Last week: Batavia 49, Elgin 0; St. Charles North 29, Larkin 25.
Outlook: Batavia, up to No. 4 in The Associated Press Class 7A poll, is the obvious favorite in this Upstate Eight Conference River Division game. After all, asked what advantages host St. Charles North may take into the game, North Stars coach Mark Gould jokingly said, "We know where the puddles are on the field." But Batavia coach Dennis Piron, who must also consider North Stars kick return ace Ben Kaplan, certainly won't take the North Stars, 2-0 against Batavia, for granted. "They're improving each week," Piron said. St. Charles North, winner of its last two games, overcame Larkin's 25-14 lead after three quarters on a 7-yard George Edlund touchdown run and the first touchdown catch by sophomore tight end Garrett Johnson, the game-winner from Ryan Fischbach. A junior who has taken over the quarterback job, Fischbach passed for 95 yards and ran in a 1-yard score against Larkin. Key to St. Charles North's improvement has been using a blocking fullback ahead of Edlund, and the overall play of linemen Kyle Breith, Dan Cassidy, Chase Gianacakos, A.J. Diehl and Tyler LaMaide. Plus, the simple fact that the Stars are limiting offensive mistakes while forcing teams into them. "Defensively the kids are starting to get turnovers and are playing more aggressively," Gould said. That will have to be the case against a Batavia team that has outgained the opposition 2,851 yards to 1,337, and which last week held Elgin to minus-33 yards rushing headed by lineman Mack Brown's 3 tackles for loss. Batavia's spread offense does not field a consistent 100-yard rusher, yet guys like Dom Guzaldo and Alex Moore have still paced a ground game that's earned 1,210 yards and 23 touchdowns. St. Charles North's 3-5 defense gives the Bulldogs a little different look. "The difficulty may be how much time we have to throw, or if they blitz into a lane," Piron said. St. Charles North will have to predict correctly, otherwise quarterback Noel Gaspari who completed 8 of 11 passes for 143 yards, 2 touchdowns coming back from his slightly separated left (non-throwing) shoulder Week 6 against Geneva will pick out one of the Bulldogs' eight receivers who have scored touchdowns. "Hopefully at times," Piron said, "they're guessing what you're going to do, and they guess wrong." Should this come down to a field goal opportunity, St. Charles North does have very good kicker Michael Schroeder ready to go, countered by Batavia's Brandon Clabough, who leads the Bulldogs with 53 points and has kicked 6 field goals. "It's a fun team to play, and we know we're going to be in a real good game with Batavia," Gould said. "We look forward to playing a team that's undefeated."
Next week: Streamwood (5-2, 2-2) at Batavia, Oct. 21; St. Charles North at St. Charles East (1-6, 1-3), Oct. 21.
at South Elgin (3-4)
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Last year: Geneva 31, South Elgin 28.
Last week: Geneva 42, Streamwood 0; South Elgin 52, East Aurora 6.
Outlook: After their Week 6 comeuppance by Batavia, Geneva returned to the basics of technique and consistency to record the shutout. "If we can learn by what happened to us hopefully it'll show in the wash," said Vikings coach Rob Wicinski. Ranked eighth in the latest Class 7A poll of The Associated Press, Geneva looks to retain the momentum in this Upstate Eight Conference crossover. Despite the running-clock whipping South Elgin laid on East Aurora, in which running back Adolfo Pacheco ran for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns on a reported 3 carries, this Storm team is not as strong as the pass-happy veterans who took Geneva to the limit in 2010. Coach Dale Schabert, who fields a quality kicker-punter in senior David Reisner, relies on the one-two punch of Pacheco and quarterback Zach Gross, who ran for 1 touchdown and passed for 2 against East Aurora. Wicinski, who views this "as really a heck of a challenge for us" and looks forward to the Saturday start, similar to a playoff game compares Gross to Batavia quarterback Noel Gaspari in terms of running ability. Thus, he looks for another solid game by defensive end Henry Zupke, who tied linebacker Nick Caruso with 6 tackles last week against Streamwood. Zupke, Jeremy Craig and Nathan Balettie will be joined on the defensive line by Zac Miller and Paul Larson. Offensively, while Geneva paved over Streamwood for 6 rushing touchdowns 3 by quarterback Matt Williams, 2 by tailback Bobby Hess and another by tailback Parker Woodworth as the Vikings gained 331 yards rushing Wicinski had sought a spark in the passing game. He got it. Williams went 11 of 14 for 188 yards, and despite throwing only his third interception of the season the Northern Illinois-bound senior targeted Ben Rogers 5 times for 125 yards. Tyler Hickey caught 2 passes for 19 yards, a total Wicinski will want to expand upon against South Elgin. "Both the quarterback and the receivers were much more aggressive, there was not as much hesitation going on." Wicinski said. "Matt was getting the ball out, the receivers went up and got the ball. It shows a little bit of what we're going to have to do in the future."
Next week: Geneva at Larkin (3-4, 2-2), Oct. 21; South Elgin at Waubonsie Valley (6-1, 3-1, Oct. 21.
Kaneland (7-0, 3-0)
at Sycamore (5-2, 2-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Kaneland 30, Sycamore 13.
Last week: Kaneland 45, Yorkville 7; Sycamore 26, Rochelle 23.
Outlook: There will be no need for rousing pep talks by Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly, who in the past was annually reminded by former Knights coach Joe Thorgesen, later Fedderly's defensive coordinator, about the strength of the Kaneland-Sycamore rivalry. "This is our oldest rivalry," Fedderly said. "It's become a pretty good rivalry lately." Kaneland will also need no further motivation to stop the Sycamore trap play because Morris, like Kaneland, keeps winning. Morris hosts 5-2 Rochelle and if these patterns continue it sets up a winner-take-all game next week for the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division title. Last season both Kaneland and Sycamore entered their Week 8 match unbeaten. "We pulled that off," Fedderly said, "so they're going to want to come back and get us. It's going to be a fun night." More fun for the visiting Knights if linebackers Ryan Lawrence and Blake Bradford get a helmet on running back Austin Culton. According to the Daily Chronicle's John Sahly, the junior back ran for 214 yards and 4 touchdowns including a 64-yard gambol with five minutes left to defeat Rochelle. Sahly wrote that linebacker Jordan Kalk sealed the win with an interception in the last three minutes. The Spartans have a three-year starting quarterback in 6-foot-4 Ryan Bartels, who according to the Daily Chronicle and Rivals.com has offers from Indiana State and North Dakota. Fedderly knows to expect the unexpected from Sycamore coach John Ryan and his boys. "They always come out showing something we haven't seen before," Fedderly said. Last week against Yorkville, Kaneland senior receiver Quinn Buschbacher showed something unseen in Maple Park a program-record 5 touchdown receptions, which helped sophomore quarterback Drew David increase his total to 27 touchdown passes and 1,891 yards passing. Sycamore can't isolate Buschbacher (34 receptions, 726 yards, 11 touchdowns) while ignoring the likes of Sean Carter (28 receptions, 466 yards, 9 TDs), Kyle Pollastrini or Zack Martinelli. To shorten the contest, though, look for the Knights to establish sophomore running back Jesse Balluff (648 yards rushing, 11 TDs), who last week ran for less than 100 yards, first time in a month. Kaneland, No. 7 in Class 6A, won't be welcomed gladly. "It's a big rivalry game so you can throw out the records," Fedderly said. "It's going to be a big game with a lot of people there, so it should be a big-game atmosphere."
Next week: Kaneland at Morris (7-0, 3-0), Oct. 21; Sycamore at Yorkville (4-3, 0-3), Oct. 21.
at Guerin (4-3)
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Last year: Marmion 52, Guerin 0.
Last week: St. Francis 20, Marmion 14; Guerin 35, Chicago Christian 0.
Outlook: Based on the frustration Marmion coach Dan Thorpe felt with the Cadets' first-half play against St. Francis spotting the Spartans a 20-0 lead and allowing 167 rushing yards overall while trailing in time of possession Guerin will be up against it in this Suburban Christian Conference crossover. Poor technique and worse, lack of fire, were among the faults Thorpe cited, though the defensive effort was somewhat rectified in the second half. "Ultimately, though, that's my responsibility," Thorpe said, and he's unlikely to let Guerin rest in both teams' pursuit of a fifth victory. The Gators "put 19 points on St. Francis," Thorpe said. "We sure didn't." Guerin, celebrating their senior day this Saturday, whomped overmatched Chicago Christian behind Eric Giovenco, who scored touchdowns both rushing and receiving, and three-year starting quarterback Tommy Kelly, who completed 13 of 23 passes for 179 yards without an interception. Justin Williams anchors the ground game, and Thorpe was impressed by the defensive play of linebacker Alex Sullivan. While Marmion springs the element of surprise mainly by its double-wing shell game, Guerin is high-risk/high-reward on both sides of the ball. Marmion, though, should be able to pound the ball behind its big line with Jake Ruddy, Cody Snodgrass and quarterback Charlie Faunce, who ran for 110 yards last week. The Cadets may also return senior back Garret Becker from injury, still Marmion's leading rusher with 416 yards. "On paper we should march up and down the field," Thorpe said. "But unfortunately you don't play the game on paper." Mike Shares also returns from injury to resettle the inside linebacker position. With SCC Blue leader Marian Central up next week, Marmion can ill afford a lackluster effort versus a Guerin team that's improved since last season and over the course of this one. "We have to coach better, we have to play better, we have to prepare better," Thorpe said.
Next week: Marian Central (7-0, 4-0) at Marmion, Oct. 21; Guerin at Immaculate Conception (5-2, 3-1), Oct. 22.
St. Charles East (1-6, 1-3)
at Elgin (1-6, 0-5)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Elgin 27, St. Charles East 24.
Last week: Lake Park 43, St. Charles East 27; Batavia 49, Elgin 0.
Outlook: As Upstate Eight Conference River Division foe Elgin demonstrated in 2010, 27 points is usually enough to win a football game. St. Charles East's allowance last week was a little generous. Lake Park ran 46 offensive plays, 20 of them going longer than 10 yards. "It was a good game, we just couldn't get the stops when we needed to," said St. Charles East coach Mike Fields, who now lacks senior co-captain and outside linebacker John Kelley, done for the season with his second broken thumb. While fullback and middle linebacker Joe Hoscheit is day-to-day with an ankle injury that kept him out last week affecting both the Saints rushing offense and its defense Elgin got plenty banged up against Batavia. Both its top running backs, Dennis Moore and Jaylen Clemons, got hurt; Clemons remains questionable, but the inside-outside Moore did at least practice this week. On the play Moore went out while playing safety, he collided with Elgin's all-conference linebacker Elrich Keophilalay, who is expected to play. Fields is anticipating both Moore and Clemons will play, who combined with Maroons quarterback Ryan Sutter and receiver Devin Gilliam give St. Charles East plenty to cover. The Saints have their weapons, too. Tailback Carter Reading, while limited to 22 yards rushing on 15 carries, broke a 99-yard kickoff return for touchdown, his second this season, and finished with 199 return yards against Lake Park. Quarterback Charlie Fisher led the Saints in rushing with 76 yards and completed 14 of 26 passes for 136 yards passing and touchdowns to Brendan Slattery and Kyle Lanthier, who had his top receiving game with 6 catches for 60 yards. The goal against Elgin is to establish the run, to open up the play-action pass and, of course, eliminate turnovers. Fields is highly familiar with his pal, Elgin coach Dave Bierman, both men having coached in Rob Wicinski's program at Geneva. "I know Dave hasn't had the year he would have wanted, similar to our situation, but I know they're a very good team and they're going to come out and give us all we can handle," Fields said.
Next week: St. Charles North (2-5, 2-2) at St. Charles East, Oct. 21; Elgin at Metea Valley (3-4), Oct. 21.
West Aurora (2-5, 0-5)
at West Chicago (1-6, 1-4)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: West Aurora 29, West Chicago 28.
Last week: Naperville North 45, West Aurora 21; West Chicago 28, Glenbard East 21.
Outlook: In West Aurora coach Nate Eimer's first year it unfortunately is too late to bolster the Blackhawks' playoff hopes against the DuPage Valley Conference's lesser lights. Still, West has the opportunity in these last two weeks to match last year's wins mark. The mantra is "finish what you started," Eimer said. "I think we've battled hard, and we're going to finish out the season strong." And fast. The Blackhawks bring more speed on both sides of the ball than West Chicago will offer. But despite a solid outing last week by quarterback Curtis Townsend 16 of 27 passing for 139 yards, 95 yards with a touchdown to Nate Zinzer in his first start at quarterback this season, Eimer is hoping to get it done on the ground. D.J. Nelson (hamstring) returns to a line where Austin Beebe hopes to lead backs Shon Enoch, Booker Ross and Townsend through and around West Chicago's defense. Townsend ran for 56 yards against Naperville North, Ross for 55. Perhaps West Aurora also could find Zinzer or Cole Childs targeted by 8 passes last week without a completion on a pass route and catch the Wildcats' opportunistic, blitzing defense off guard. "We've got to put some points on the board," Eimer said. Last week against Glenbard East, West Chicago scored its biggest bounty of the season; the Wildcats' previous high was 16 points Week 2 against Larkin. Out of an option set, Nick Sanzeri ran for 81 yards and 3 touchdowns against Glenbard East. Quarterback Matt Green added 79 yards rushing and a touchdown pass, and Brian Baids lent 43 yards toward the Wildcats' 246-yard ground game. Eimer has seen opponents such as Naperville North run right at the Blackhawks Naperville North did so for 280 yards rather than let West's speed track them down. Eimer hopes the defense, which is now without lineman Alex Pope (knee), will stand up to a hungry foe. "It's a team that's DVC-tested, and I know they've taken some lumps, but they'll be excited to play us," he said.
Next week: Glenbard East (1-6,0-5) at West Aurora, Oct. 21; West Chicago at Naperville Central (4-3, 3-2), Oct. 21.