Scouting Week 4 in the Fox Valley

Updated 9/19/2013 10:54 PM

Harvard (3-0, 0-0) at Burlington Central (1-2, 1-0)

When: today at 7 p.m. at Rocket Hill


Last week: Harvard 35, Byron 0; Burlington Central 34, Rockford Christian 0

Last year: Burlington Central 21, Harvard 9

Outlook: This will be the 29th and final meeting between the Rockets and a Tim Haak-coached Harvard team. The IHSFCA hall-of-famer plans to retire at the end of the school year. His keys to competing with Central haven't changed much through the years. "I think being able to have our offensive and defensive lines control the line of scrimmage, that's going to be the key, whether we can move them off the ball," Haak said Thursday. The veteran coach said top running back Christian Kramer, who aggravated a shoulder injury last week against Byron, will not play against Central. Quarterback Peyton Schneider, wide receiver Justin Nolen and running back Ben Platt did the heavy lifting after Kramer left last week's game in the first quarter. Schneider and Nolen connected twice for touchdowns and Platt capped a long touchdown drive with a short run to improve the Hornets to 3-0 for the second time in three years. The Rockets have been dealing with their own injury concerns, which last week prompted coach Rich Crabel to move quarterback Casey Matthews to running back while Parth Patel gained his first start at quarterback. Patel, who played the second half in a lopsided loss at Stillman Valley two weeks ago, completed 9 of 12 attempts for 176 yards and a touchdown and did not throw an interception. "We put some people in positions where we thought they could be successful and help the team," Crabel said. "Parth handled the opportunity fine. We hope he can do the same thing against Harvard, which is a pretty senior-dominated team with the majority of their kids back from last year. They're pretty good up front with some big kids and they play hard." The Central lines returned only one starter and only one player is a senior, but Crabel said his linemen on both sides of the ball "have been getting a little better every week." Central senior running back Reilly Marino returned to the lineup last week from an ankle sprain suffered in Week 1. He rushed 18 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Next week: Harvard at Marengo; Burlington Central at Genoa-Kingston

Grayslake Central (3-0, 1-0) at Hampshire (2-1, 0-1)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Hampshire athletic field

Last week: Grayslake Central 28, Johnsburg 21; Crystal Lake Central 46, Hampshire 21

Last year: Hampshire 46, Grayslake Central 20

Outlook: Two teams aiming for playoff berths clash in a Fox Valley Conference Fox Division game. Grayslake Central owns a quality win over Fenton (2-1), a team the Rams defeated on the road 29-8 in the season opener. They have since defeated winless Vernon Hills and Johnsburg. Johnsburg took a 7-0 first-quarter lead last week only to see the Rams reel off 4 straight touchdowns. However, that game wasn't sealed until senior Kacey Adams made 2 interceptions in the final 90 seconds to hold off a Johnsburg rally. Grayslake Central's double-wing, option offense is directed by 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback Alex Lennartz. The dual-threat senior has completed 21 of 42 attempts for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns and has been intercepted twice. He has also rushed 35 times for 132 yards and 7 touchdowns. Five of Lennartz's 7 scoring runs came in goal line situations inside the 5-yard line. Senior Matt Loeffl (6-1, 170) has over 200 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Hampshire counters with a defense paced by 6-foot-1, 185-pound linebacker Damon Mull. The senior leads the Whip-Purs in solo tackles (18) and assists (18). Mason Fleury, Kenny Blaese, Chris Calvin and Trey Schramm have interceptions to their credit. The defense will again play without linebacker Ben Bednarek due to injury, coach Dan Cavanaugh said, and junior lineman Stephen Kirkwood is questionable. Hampshire faced a very good Crystal Lake Central squad last week but still moved the ball. The Whips threw for 257 of their 328 total yards, led by a superior effort from wide receiver Tim Jansen. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior made 8 receptions for 237 yards, including touchdown catches of 38, 54 and 90 yards. He leads the area in receiving yards (439) and touchdown catches (7) and has 16 receptions. Junior quarterback Nick Mohlman has been efficient, completing 25 of 25 passes for 510 yards and 7 touchdowns without an interception. "Nick does a nice job of getting Tim the ball, and Tim is a very athletic receiver," Cavanaugh said. "He adjusts to the ball and outjumps people. He's something special. We haven't had a receiver with those kind of numbers since ... I really can't think of one."

Next week: Crystal Lake Central at Grayslake Central; Hampshire at Grayslake North

Dundee-Crown (3-0, 1-0) at Cary-Grove (1-2, 1-0)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field

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Last week: Cary-Grove 16, Huntley 13; Dundee-Crown 14, Crystal Lake South 13

Last year: Cary-Grove 46, Dundee-Crown 13

Outlook: Two teams fresh off dramatic victories battle to stay atop the Valley Division of the Fox Valley Conference. Dundee-Crown is 3-0 for the first time since 1993 after its defense staved off multiple Crystal Lake South drives to preserve the lead last week. Fabian Gutierrez had the big interception in the fourth quarter to seal D-C's happy homecoming. Cary-Grove, staring a possible 0-3 start in the face last week when it trailed Huntley 13-9, instead made a crowd of 3,500 go slack-jawed with a 60-yard touchdown pass on third-and-24 with 2:09 to play. The Trojans played against Huntley without five starters and still found a way to win. "I thought that spoke volumes about our kids and their ability to handle adversity," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "A lot of things went our way at the end, but we won. The resilience our kids showed at the end there was outstanding. We're hoping we can carry that momentum into the next week." For D-C, the mental hurdle of defeating Cary-Grove on its home field is as significant as the physical challenge the Trojans present. Cary-Grove has won the last 10 meetings in the series. D-C's last victory over Cary-Grove was a 14-7 decision in 2000. "We're playing a great program, not just their players," D-C coach Vito Andriola said. "We're playing their coaches and we're playing their program and that's an advantage for them, to be honest. At all three parts right now they are better than us. And that's not just blowing smoke. We have to play our game and be crisp. They play so fast, so fast. They are the epitome of what a high school football program is. They have a bunch of kids who look like they really, really love to play football." Dundee-Crown used junior Malik Dunner, also a safety, as a situational running back last week. He joins an already deep backfield that includes seniors TJ Moss and Cordero Parson and junior Caleb Parson. Together, the Chargers have rushed for 696 yards behind offensive linemen Trent Hanselmann, Jeremy Marshall, Mike Utley, Brad Spandeberg, Josh Mosley and Connor Steinmetz. "When you look at their specialists, they're fast and physical," Seaburg said. "And they beat a team like South, which has an offensive line that looks like a professional football team's offensive line."

Next week: Huntley at Dundee-Crown; Cary-Grove at Prairie Ridge

McHenry (2-1, 0-0) at Jacobs (1-2, 1-0)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Jacobs athletic field

Last week: McHenry 35, Woodstock North 28; Jacobs 20, Prairie Ridge 0

Last year: Jacobs 49, McHenry 42

Outlook: A shutout was a welcome occurrence for a Jacobs defense that allowed 63 points in its first 2 games against good competition. It was the first shutout by the Golden Eagles since a 49-0 win against Dundee-Crown in Week 9 of the 2011 season. "It's been a while since we had a shutout, so that was good," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "It was great to have that type of effort. We played a lot better and finished a full game. We hope to be that successful again Friday." Next up is a McHenry offense that has scored 79 points, including a season-high 35 last week despite a pair of first-half fumbles. Junior quarterback Mike Briscoe (6-4, 204) threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Payton Lykins to win it in the fourth quarter after the McHenry defense surrendered a 14-point lead. The Jacobs offense hopes to take advantage of a McHenry defense that has allowed 86 points. Improving the running game has been a point of emphasis during practice this week at Jacobs. "We've worked extremely hard this week offensively because we have got to be able to get (running back Josh) Walker loose and running the ball a bit," Mitz said. "Our passing has been great, but we have not sustained the running game the way we want to. Part of it is blocking and part of it is a young running back learning how to make cuts off certain plays. We're a young team with a lot of young guys in there. If we can get Walker a couple of seams, it would take the pressure off Bret." Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney enjoyed a productive game against Prairie Ridge. He connected 3 times with receiver Hunter Williams for touchdown passes of 42, 32 and 31 yards, part of a 19-for-28 passing performance that elevated his season totals to 577 yards and 5 touchdowns. Williams has 13 receptions for 254 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Next week: Crystal Lake South at McHenry; Woodstock at Jacobs

Prairie Ridge (1-2, 0-1) at Crystal Lake South (1-2, 0-1)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Ken Bruhn Field


Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last week: Dundee-Crown 14, Crystal Lake South 13; Jacobs 20, Prairie Ridge 0

Last year: Crystal Lake South 28, Prairie Ridge 7

Outlook: Two years ago these town rivals split the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title. Each team desperately needs a win to keep its FVC Valley title aspirations alive. The Wolves were their own worst enemy last week, fumbling 7 times and losing 4 of them, once near the goal line. They also threw an interception and lost the turnover battle 5-0. "I think Prairie Ridge is a pretty good football team that has hurt itself a little bit, and I hope for our sake that continues this week," CL South coach Chuck Ahsmann said. "It's one of those games where if they don't turn the ball over, it could be a really close game. If they help us out and drop the ball a couple of times, that changes things. I'm sure they're working hard on eliminating turnovers." The Gators need more offense. South has been limited to 4 touchdowns through 3 games. Quarterback Austin Rogers has completed 18 of 39 attempts for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns (3 interceptions). Senior running back Eric Landis (6-0, 205) broke out last week with 21 rushes for 128 yards and a touchdown, giving him a 3-game total of 60 carries for 249 yards. The Prairie Ridge triple-option offense directed by senior quarterback Brett Covalt was held to 199 total yards last week in a shutout by Jacobs, but the Gators remain wary of giving up the big play to the Wolves. "It's a hard offense to prepare for because you just can't simulate the speed of it in practice," Ahsmann said. "You never know where you stand as far as stopping it until you get in the game."

Next week: Cary-Grove at Prairie Ridge; Crystal Lake South at McHenry

Crystal Lake Central (2-1) at Huntley (2-1)

When: today at 7:15 p.m. at Huntley athletic field

Last week: Cary-Grove 16, Huntley 13; Crystal Lake Central 46, Hampshire 21

Last year: Crystal Lake Central 27, Huntley 26

Outlook: A Huntley defense that has limited opponents to 2 touchdowns in 3 games will be put to the test by the Tigers, who used their no-huddle, spread offense to put 46 points on the scoreboard last week against a decent Hampshire defense. Quarterback Kyle Lavand rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown and threw for 250 yards last week, and running back Kyle Williams rushed 21 times for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams and fellow running back Connor Hines each gained 107 yards in the season-opening win against Grant, but each was ejected late in that game and subsequently sat out during a 14-7 loss to rival Crystal Lake South. "We're treating them like an undefeated team because if they'd had their running backs in that (CL South) game they probably don't lose," Huntley coach John Hart said. "They are equally good on offense and defense. They have all kinds of skills. Their quarterback almost single-handedly beat us last year and their running backs are as good as advertised." The Tigers try to confuse defenses, thereby causing missed assignments leading to big plays. Senior linebacker Jordan Kabb leads the Red Raider defense with 9.3 tackles per game and has 2 of the unit's 12 sacks. Senior Mike Andrews has 2 of Huntley's 3 interceptions; sophomore Tim Ryan has the other. Hart believes the offense is improving weekly. "We just have to be better finishers," he said. "When we execute, we're a really good football team. Offensively, our problem is self-inflicted wounds. That's been the difference between us having a great offense and having a somewhat inconsistent offense."

Next week: Huntley at Dundee-Crown; Crystal Lake Central at Grayslake Central

Geneva (1-2, 0-1) at Larkin (2-1, 1-0)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last week: Batavia 49, Geneva 20; Larkin 46, Elgin 28

Last year: Geneva 56, Larkin 23

Outlook: It was unclear as of Wednesday whether head coach Mike Scianna would be able to coach the Royals in this Upstate Eight River meeting with the visiting Vikings. Scianna blew out left knee last Thursday while backpedaling during a practice drill. He coached the Elgin game from the bench with his headset on and his leg elevated. The fourth-year coach underwent reconstructive surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ACL and meniscus. If he can't coach, offensive coordinator Matt Freesman will call the offense. Defensive coordinator Terry Schabert will continue to call the defense. Larkin enters on a high note after defeating rival Elgin a week ago, whereas the Vikings seek redemption following a humbling loss to rival Batavia. Geneva is led by quarterback Daniel Santacaterina, who has completed 45 of 89 attempts for 763 yards and 7 touchdowns. His main targets include junior Pace Temple (6-0, 180) and senior Kyle Brown (6-3, 200). Senior running back T.J. Miller has rushed for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Like every year it seems like they just reload," Scianna said. "They're a big, strong team again and they have surprising speed. We're definitely not taking them lightly. They have a tough fullback and (junior Alex Doane) is a strong defensive end. They can run and throw, and we usually struggle with this type of balanced, well-coached team. But one of our goals this year is to be in games like this and give it our best shot. This will be a good test for us to see where we are and what we need to do to get where we want to be."

Next week: West Chicago at Batavia; Larkin at Streamwood

Elgin (0-3, 0-1) at St. Charles North (1-2, 0-1)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at St. Charles North athletic field

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last week: Larkin 46, Elgin 28; St. Charles East 28, St. Charles North 21, OT

Last year: St. Charles North 49, Elgin 0

Outlook: An Elgin team in search of its first victory takes on a team whose 2 losses both came in overtime. The North Stars lost to Elk Grove in Week 1 when a bad snap in overtime prevented a point-after kick attempt in an eventual 1-point loss. Last week 2 incompletions in overtime ended their bid to knock off the rival Saints. North Stars senior running back Evan Kurtz was an ironman last week against St. Charles East. He carried 36 times for 236 yards, raising his season totals to 70 carries for 529 yards and 7 touchdowns. "He's a good running back and they have a really big offensive line with a couple of D-I prospects," Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. "If we arm tackle (Kurtz) like we did last week against Larkin, we'll be in trouble." Elgin running back Jaylen Clemons gained 149 of his 187 rushing yards and scored 3 touchdowns last week against Larkin. Quarterback Ryan Sitter has completed 24 of 47 attempts for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. "We have to play low and try to create some seams," Rohde added. "We have some guys who can make plays for us if we can get them the ball and get them in the crease. The biggest thing is we have to take care of the football. We had 4 turnovers last week and that cost us the game, in my opinion."

Next week: Elgin at St. Charles East; St. Charles North at Geneva

Metea Valley (1-2, 1-0) at Bartlett (1-2, 1-0)

When: today at 7:30 p.m. at Millennium Field

Last week: Metea Valley 47, West Chicago 7; Bartlett 40, East Aurora 6

Last year: Bartlett 47, Metea Valley 27

Outlook: Both teams need a win in this Upstate Eight Valley contest to get back in the playoff hunt. "If either of us has playoff aspirations, this is a big game," Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. Bartlett holds a 3-0 series edge on the Mustangs, winning those 3 games by a combined score of 130-34. In last year's meeting Bartlett used big plays and 3 interceptions to run roughshod. Aaron Everson scored twice on kick returns and rushed for 159 yards. The Hawks replaced the graduated Everson this season with a foursome of backs: Titus Ayomidele (28 carries, 164 yards, 2 touchdowns), junior Hurschel Ross III (21-162-1), junior Nolan Bernat (6-125-1) and senior Jesse Mijes (7-104-1). It's a group of players who support each other and pat each other on the back when someone does well while simultaneously pushing each other to improve, according to their coach. Bartlett quarterback Jordan Flint has completed 40 of 78 attempts for 426 yards and 4 touchdowns (3 Ints.). Junior wide receiver Bryce Petty has 14 catches for 165 yards and 2 scores and tight end Clint Zierke counts a touchdown among his 7 receptions. Defensively, the Hawks have been led by leading tackler Michael Coleantonio. The senior linebacker has 23 solo tackles and 6 assists, a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception. He and the Bartlett defense will attempt to contain senior running back Jay Parker (5-10, 195), who last week carried 14 times for 128 yards and a touchdown. "He's a thick, strong ball carrier and they run him 20 times a game," Meaney said. "And they have some impressive kids on the outside and the quarterback (6-2 senior Blaise Bell) can take off and run. We have to play our best to win. We can't turn the ball over and we have to reduce the penalties."

Next week: South Elgin at Metea Valley; Bartlett 40, East Aurora 6

IC Catholic Prep (2-1) at St. Edward (2-1)

When: today at 7 p.m. at Greg True Field

Live video streaming:, followed by postgame highlights

Last week: Marmion 27, St. Edward 10; IC Catholic Prep 21, Aurora Central Catholic 14

Last year: IC Catholic Prep 49, St. Edward 22

Outlook: This Suburban Christian Conference crossover is critical to the postseason hopes of both teams. "Potential wins in the SCC you almost have to look at as must-wins," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "They play the same kind of schedule that we do with some tough games that are difficult to win, so I'm sure they're looking at this as a key game in their playoff quest as well. Both teams will be playing like their backs are to the wall." St. Edward stayed within a point of Marmion into the fourth quarter last week despite dressing half as many players. Though St. Edward would have preferred a win, competing with a bigger school to the bitter end only reaffirmed the program belief that this squad is of playoff caliber. These teams are evenly matched in the trenches from a size standpoint, and both have linemen tough as wrought iron. IC won last week despite a 70-pound-per-man weight disadvantage across the board. Class 4A St. Edward played well against 6A Marmion until the Wave simply wore down late due to multiple players going both ways. Senior lineman Collin Holte leads St. Edward with 29 tackles, followed by junior linebacker Will Bothwell (28). Another junior linebacker, Jack Tierney has 26 tackles and the team's only interception. St. Edward running back DaVontae Elam has carried 52 times for 390 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns and has a 79-yard scoring reception to his credit. Junior Bryan O'Neill has emerged from a quarterback rotation to become the starter and is expected to play most snaps. "We need to solidify our passing game and get some consistency," Rolando said. "We don't have to light it up for 300 yards, but we need to be able to make plays in the passing game when we need to." IC counters with senior quarterback Jack Copher (6-0, 185). Last week he spread 10 completions between seven receivers in 16 attempts for 154 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once. IC was outgained 311-270 but benefitted from an interception return for a touchdown, another long interception return that set up a score and a fumble recovery at its own 1-yard line.

Next week: St. Edward at Aurora Central Catholic; IC Catholic Prep at Marian Central

Hiawatha (2-1, 2-1) at Westminster Christian (0-3, 0-3)

When: Saturday at 1 p.m. at Warrior Field

Last week: Hiawatha 38, Christian Liberty Academy 0; Ottawa Marquette 53, Westminster Christian 7

Outlook: Is this the week the Westminster Christian varsity breaks through for its first victory? "Of the games we've played so far, this is the game we're the most excited about and most confident about," Warriors coach John Davis said. "Hiawatha is on a little bit of a streak here, but I think if we play as hard as we possibly can, we have an opportunity to be successful this week." These Northeastern Athletic Conference opponents have faced a common opponent: Mooseheart. The Red Ramblers defeated the Hiawatha 45-6 in Week 1 and defeated Westminster Christian 46-17 in Week 2. The Warriors must contain Hawks quarterback Mike Mercado. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior has completed 14 of 38 attempts for 337 yards and 4 touchdowns and has been intercepted 3 times. He also leads the Hawks in rushing with 191 yards and 3 touchdowns on 26 carries. "He's a talented quarterback with a very mature arm," Davis said. "We'll have to contain his passing by putting a little pressure on him. If we pressure him, we should do fine. And our offense, even though we haven't been victorious yet, is still pretty explosive, relatively speaking. We're hoping we can put some points up and the defense can keep them under wraps." Fullback William Rathjen missed last week and is questionable for the Hiawatha game, but he could return this week to play defense only, Davis said. The Warriors could use his help. They've allowed an average of 48 points per game.

Next week: Hiawatha at Ottawa Marquette; Westminster Christian at Alden-Hebron

Batavia (2-1, 1-0) at Streamwood (0-3, 0-0)

When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Millennium Field

Last week: Batavia 49, Geneva 20; Waubonsie Valley 56, Streamwood 7

Last year: Batavia 33, Streamwood 0

Outlook: Streamwood faces its third straight powerful opponent. Batavia has scored 103 points and allowed 77. The Bulldogs' only loss came in Week 2 against Richards, currently ranked No. 4 in Class 6A by The Associated Press. Points of emphasis at Streamwood practices this week were run blocking and gang tackling, two areas where improvement would yield better results. "The biggest thing is we have to be aggressive up front," Streamwood coach Mark Orszula said. "We have to try to control the line of scrimmage and go after them. Defensively, we have to make tackles and be fundamentally sound in everything we do." Streamwood quarterback Mason Polich has completed 43 of 65 attempts for 495 yards and 2 touchdowns (4 Ints). Batavia quarterback Micah Coffey (6-2, 185) has thrown for 562 yards and 5 touchdowns on 42-of-80 passing. He is balanced by tackle-dodging running back Anthony Scaccia (5-7, 150). The senior has rushed for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Like any game, this one will have its ups and downs, but we're more concerned about ourselves than who we're playing," Orszula said. "A lot of things need to be fixed about the way we're playing football. We need to take care of the little things first and let the big things take care of themselves." The Sabres will be without junior linebacker Melvin Manalanssan for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL suffered in Week 2 against Dundee-Crown.

Next week: West Chicago at Batavia; Larkin at Streamwood

East Aurora (0-3, 0-1) at South Elgin (0-3, 0-1)

When: Saturday at 3 p.m. at South Elgin Stadium

Last week: Bartlett 40, East Aurora 6; Neuqua Valley 40, South Elgin 34

Last year: South Elgin 41, East Aurora 6

Outlook: Kickoff has been pushed back until 3 p.m. due to ACT testing. Expect South Elgin to pick up where it left off offensively last week, when the Storm offense erupted for 34 points and 537 total yards. They led state-ranked Neuqua Valley late before the Wildcats pulled out the win. South Elgin could notch its first victory under new coach Pat Pistorio if the offense continues to demonstrate the balance it showed last week. Sophomore Shawn Griffin enjoyed a breakout game against Neuqua Valley's three-man front, the same scheme East Aurora plays. The 5-foot-7, 170-pound running back carried 15 times for 210 yards, including scoring runs of 72 and 76 yards. He is the area's fourth-leading rusher with 45 carries for 307 yards. "He did a good job getting to the second level on inside zone plays and reading his keys and cutting against the grain," Pistorio said. "He's a track kid, fast. Not too much dancing, just north and south. We finally got him a crease and got him some blocks on the perimeter." Meanwhile, Storm senior quarterback Rob Cuda has thrown for 680 yards and 5 touchdowns on 47-of-98 passing and has been intercepted just twice. The Tomcats have dropped 42 straight games, but if the South Elgin needs a reminder of East Aurora's potential, they need look no further than volunteer assistant coach Pete Scaffidi for a warning. The former Storm quarterback played for a team that lost to East Aurora 6-3 in 2008. "We're not going to overlook anybody," Pistorio said. "They have some bodies out on the perimeter. They are no slouch. They have some nice athletes."

Next week: Neuqua Valley at East Aurora; South Elgin at Metea Valley

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