Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games
By David Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
Benet (0-1) at Notre Dame (1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: St. Laurence 31, Benet 21; Notre Dame 29, Thornton 13.
Last year: Notre Dame 29, Benet 14.
Outlook: Although both teams are in the East Suburban Catholic Conference -- and both teams aim to compete for the title -- this is technically a nonconference game. Should be a pretty good warm-up for league play. Benet fell last week, but for most of the game played well enough to win. Quarterback Jack Sznajder threw for 180 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a team-high 60 yards and a second score. Sznajder completed passes to eight different receivers led by C.J. Birck, who snared 5 catches. Alec McEachern also rushed for a touchdown. Benet must shore up its rushing defense after allowing nearly 400 yards on the ground. Dons running backs Michael Valdez and Miles George combined for more than 150 rushing yards last week. Notre Dame's offense is diverse out of the spread, evidenced by junior quarterback Tom Drabik's rushing and passing touchdowns. St. Laurence didn't test Benet's secondary too much, attempting only 10 passes.
Next week: Benet at Marian Central; Nazareth at Notre Dame.
Glenbard West (1-0) at Hinsdale South (0-1) Nonconference
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Glenbard West 17, Bolingbrook 7; Prospect 20, Hinsdale South 16.
Last year: Glenbard West 50, Hinsdale South 31.
Outlook: As expected, Glenbard West's defense stood tall while holding Bolingbrook's explosive offense scoreless into the fourth quarter. And, as expected, the defense fed off an experienced crew of linebackers including Eric Samuta, Mark Mattson and Luke Favia. Defensive end Matt Scruggs, playing opposite of standout lineman Dionte Moorehead, also led the unit. Even though Hilltoppers quarterback Cole Brady didn't flaunt gaudy numbers while throwing for 50 yards, the Hilltoppers loved the steady presence he brought to the offense. Running back D.J. Ficarella's experience showed while rushing for more than 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hinsdale South's offense slowly broke in new quarterbacks Brian Rudolph and Justin Kolzow. Running back Shawn Wimberly stepped up while rushing for an 86-yard touchdown run, but the Hornets will need the run and pass game to emerge against the Hilltoppers' stingy defense.
Next week: Glenbard West at York; Downers Grove South at Hinsdale South.
Naperville Central (0-1, 0-1) at Neuqua Valley (1-0, 1-0)
DuPage Valley Conference
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Glenbard North 35, Naperville Central 6; Neuqua Valley 35, Metea Valley 7.
Last year: Naperville Central 14, Neuqua Valley 7.
Outlook: Naperville Central's inexperienced offense -- 10 new starters -- struggled last week. Two starters, Christian Nussbaum and Darian Borner, never played offensive line before. It doesn't get any easier against the Wildcats, but the Redhawks must avoid the mental mistakes and third-and-long situations that caused them to pick up only 5 first downs. The defense, led by Troy Hudetz and Joe Gannon, needs to stay close against another stellar group of skill players. Neuqua may get stronger by returning Navy-bound receiver Owen Piche. Without Piche at all and with Isaiah Robertson playing part time the Wildcats still amassed 407 yards against Metea Valley. It was a great start by the offense-by-committee of quarterbacks Jack Bastable and Jake Eskoff, running backs Greg McClellan, Cameron Raupach and Griffen Philgren. Neuqua scored on its first four possessions then got bogged down by 18 penalties for 189 yards. That's a goal to fix against Naperville Central.
Next week: Naperville Central at Metea Valley; Neuqua Valley at Waubonsie Valley.
Waubonsie Valley (1-0, 1-0) at Glenbard North (1-0, 1-0)
DuPage Valley Conference
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Waubonsie Valley 16, Lake Park 8; Glenbard North 35, Naperville Central 6.
Last year: Waubonsie Valley 14, Glenbard North 7.
Outlook: Waubonsie's all-senior offensive line of Corey McKnight, Dan Dominiak, Connor Forrest, Alex Stone and Jaren Abbott paved the way for 432 yards of offense. Quarterback Tanner Westwood may have been surprised to pass 20 times, completing 6 to tight end Charles Robinson for 133 yards and a touchdown. More great news was the Warriors debut of tailback Nate Ashford, 27 carries for 153 yards. Such ball control will benefit against Glenbard North, but getting better finishing drives is key. Throwing the ball against Glenbard North is risky. The Panthers continued last season's interception assault on picks by Jace James and Greg Newsome with Tyrik Henderson nearly snatching a third. Running backs Vittorio Tricase and Isaiah Hawkins will encounter a veteran Waubonsie defense including safety Connor Yukna and linebacker Josh Dominiak. The Panthers will try to keep Waubonsie off-balance with periodic passing from three-year starting quarterback Shane Conway.
Next week: Neuqua Valley at Waubonsie Valley; Glenbard North at Wheaton Warrenville South.
Wheaton North (1-0) at Joliet Catholic (0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last week: Wheaton North 36, Wheaton Warrenville South 21; Franklin (Wis.) 21, Joliet Catholic 14.
Last year: Joliet Catholic 34, Wheaton North 14.
Outlook: There were so many positives for Wheaton North in last week's victory, but what stood out most, and what looms large in this meeting, was the Falcons' ability to sustain offensive drives with a steady dose of running. On one fourth-quarter scoring drive the Falcons ran the ball 10 straight times with Sam Singleton, who scored 4 touchdowns. Because the Falcons are two-platooning on their lines, and because they're using Michael Gehl at tight end, the ground game should be as strong in the fourth quarter as it is in the first. With third-year quarterback Luke Anthony, there's also diversity in the offense. Six-foot-five Lavon Thomas, a St. Joseph transfer, is a force on the defensive line in front of the Falcons' experienced group of linebackers. That'll be key against a physical Joliet Catholic offense that graduated most of its talent but still returns running back Ke'Von Johnson. Wheaton North hasn't started 2-0 since beating Cary-Grove and Geneva to begin the 2013 season.
Next week: Naperville North at Wheaton North; Joliet Catholic at St. Patrick.
Coal City (1-0) at Lisle (1-0)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday at Benedictine University in Lisle.
The quick hit: A tight 7-3 win over the Coalers was among the highlights of Lisle's 2015 playoff season. Tackling by inside linebackers Mark Pivek and Cameron Stitt led the Lions' 21-14 win over Sandwich, and they'll have to come up big again.
Downers Grove North (0-1) at Proviso East (0-1)Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The quick hit: Because of last week's loss to Lockport, Downers North already finds itself in must-win mode. The Trojans' utilized two quarterbacks as planned, with Nick Taviani throwing the ball 36 times for 184 yards and Jack Carr carrying it 17 times.
Glenbard East (0-1) at Glenbard South (0-1)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Both teams love this District 87 matchup, which offers many new faces since last year's 34-14 Glenbard East win. Combinations to watch are Rams quarterback Bret Bushka to Kenny Adams and the Raiders' Jack Crouch to Mike Paprota.
Hinsdale Central (1-0) at Downers Grove South (0-1) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Behind Josh Bean's 188 passing yards, the Red Devils romped to a season-opening win over American Fork, Utah. Despite Downers South's lopsided loss to Homewood-Flossmoor, Hinsdale Central expects a tougher matchup from the Mustangs.
IC Catholic (1-0) at St. Laurence (1-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Knights aim to go 2-0 against Chicago Catholic League White foes after blanking Bishop McNamara 34-0. St. Laurence running back Fayezon Smart ran for 197 yards in a 31-21 win over Benet while Jordan Rowell ran for 207, 4 touchdowns.
Lake Park (0-1) at WW South (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Lancers were thrilled with the varsity debut of quarterback Jackson Behles. Perrion Winfrey looks to be another force on the defensive line. Don't worry about WW South's offense with quarterback Matt Dohse and receiver Cam Moore.
Lake Zurich (1-0) at Montini (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Despite Will Smith's 180 yards rushing and Jake Karczewski's 13 tackles, Montini didn't find enough answers against Maine South. In this debut meeting with Lake Zurich, the Broncos seek gains in overall execution and offensive tempo.
Metea Valley (0-1) at Naperville North (1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Metea back Alonzo Taylor-Jones had a good Week 1, but the Mustangs lost cornerback Kidane Falconer to injury. Naperville North's offense was electrifying, but defensively keep an eye on linebacker Jake Jegglie and lineman Cole Jacobs.
Oak Park (1-0) at Addison Trail (1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Blazers loved the 180 rushing yards from last week with Darrion Conrad and Nick D'Ambrose. A fourth-down stop and 2-point conversion stop highlighted a great defensive effort, but can they slow Oak Park quarterback Jeremy Hunt?
Proviso West (0-1) at Willowbrook (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: For Willowbrook to get its first win, it simply needs to limit mistakes. The miscues in last week's loss to Grayslake North were massive -- 5 interceptions including one returned for a pick 6. Jack Jessen ran for 2 touchdowns.
Raby (0-1) at Wheaton Academy (1-0)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Typically athletic, Raby lost 56-18 to Curie in its opener. Getting a push from Wheaton Academy's three-man defensive line of Michael Callentine, Sean Blum and Mitch Brunner, the Warriors hit West Chicago with 12 tackles for loss.
Shepard (1-0) at Fenton (0-1)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Highlights were few in Fenton's 46-0 loss to Leyden. Quarterback Kyle Cacioppo, making his first varsity start, was the main one. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound sophomore completed 14 of 28 passes for 162 yards and remained poised in the pocket.
St. Viator (0-1) at St. Francis (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Rolling Meadows allowed St. Viator 38 yards rushing on 35 carries. Gabe Meyer and the Spartans also will try to make the Lions, quarterback Tom Majerus one dimensional. Last week Sam Sidari's 44-yard touchdown run dented Geneva.
West Chicago (0-1) at Streamwood (0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Hoffman Estates shut out Streamwood 38-0. West Chicago fared better in a loss at Wheaton Academy. Improved technique, execution and quarterback Zach Stefan's continued progress is key. Devonte Pascal averaged 8.5 yards a carry.
Westmont (1-0) at Aurora Central Catholic (1-0)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Westmont's Otto Zeman meets fellow hall of famer ex-Downers Grove South coach John Belskis. Zeman expects a ball-control game by ACC. That'll counter a 1-2 of Sentinels back Robert Russo, receiver Anthony Lischalk.
York (0-1) at Leyden (1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Keith Freeman and the Dukes' ground game churned up 200 rushing yards in a loss to New Trier, but stalled drives doomed the outcome. Linebackers Hale and Zane Heemsoth led a strong defensive effort from York.