Scouting Week 9 Fox football games
Fox Valley Playoff Synopsis: Day of ReckoningIn the playoffs: Batavia (8-0), Cary-Grove (8-0), South Elgin (8-0), Aurora Christian (6-2)
Can guarantee a playoff spot with a win Friday: Marmion (5-3), Jacobs (5-3), Hampshire (5-3), Larkin (5-3)
Have to win Friday and hope they make it in with 5 wins: Geneva (4-4), St. Charles North (4-4), Crystal Lake South (4-4), Kaneland (4-4), Bartlett (4-4)
Larkin (5-3, 5-3) at Streamwood (2-6, 2-6)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Millennium Field, Streamwood High School
Outlook: A Larkin win here sends the Royals to the state playoffs guaranteed -- the program's first postseason appearance since 2006 -- a 15-year drought! "Streamwood is a well-coached, solid team that is better than their record indicates," Larkin coach Grant Dietz said. "We have to slow down their run game. They have a great run game and do what they do very well. Our defense will be tested. Offensively we have to execute, minimize mental mistakes and play hard for four quarters." Dietz said special teams will have to be on high alert. "Special teams need to be ready for onside kicks, drop kicks and any other kind of kicks," he said. Recent standouts for the Royals include Dontrelle Maxie and Dearruis Clardy. "Dontrelle is one of the best players in the conference and I am glad he's on my side," Dietz said. "Dearruis was a jack-of-all-trades for us until he went down in the first series of the Elgin game." Larkin's defensive line features an interior three of nose guard Omarion Thomas, end Michael Hibbler and end Angel Gonzalez. "They have raised their level of play in recent games." In addition to the possibility of a guaranteed playoff spot, Larkin also is on a three-game winning streak. "The last time Larkin was in the playoffs was 2006. That's a long time," Dietz said. "How great it is for these seniors to do something that jumps out at me. I am proud of them." Streamwood's Mike Estrada has 1,285 rushing yards and carried the ball almost 75 times over the last three weeks. Joel Sandoval is the Sabres' fourth quarterback of the season. Coach Keith McMaster lauded the work of Eric Gomez in the trenches. Isaac Martinez still leads the team in total tackles with 47 and solos with 28, despite missing two games. He also has rushed for 614 yards and 10 scores. Streamwood averages 301 yards a game on the ground. "That says a lot about the team's effort across the board offensively," McMaster said.
Batavia (8-0, 6-0) at St. Charles North (4-4, 2-4)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: St. Charles North High School
Outlook: Batavia is on the hunt for the DuKane Conference title and a perfect 9-0 regular season. St. Charles North needs to get to five wins to become playoff eligible. Jalen Buckley ran for 94 yards and had 54 more receiving yards and 3 total touchdowns in Batavia's win against St. Charles East last week. Sophomore Ryan Boe was 11-for-14 passing for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass from Drew Gerke. Senior Lorenzo Monteleone had 6 solo tackles in the game, while Anthony Roberts broke up 3 passes. "He has given up virtually nothing this year," Batavia coach Dennis Piron noted. Batavia allowed 2 first downs, minus-8 yards rushing and 25 total yards of offense. Fourteen players had an offensive stat on senior night, plus the team committed no turnovers and had no punts. "St. Charles North will be fighting for the playoffs and as a young team, they are capable of beating anyone. There is lots of talent there," Piron said. Luke Zahner, Tyler Sapit, Quinn Ahrens and nose tackle Fikayo Afolarin comprise Batavia's defensive line. "They have done such a good job of winning and controlling the line of scrimmage," Piron said. "Our run defense has been phenomenal and these guys have been so solid, tough and physical. Coach Dan Cadena has done a great job with this group." Batavia's defense has allowed 369 rushing yards in 8 games (46 yards per game, 1.8 yards per carry), registered 32 sacks, 87 pressures and 55 passes defended. "They also have been a big problem for quarterbacks," Piron said. Batavia's offense is the textbook for balance with 1,400 rushing yards and 1,200 passing yards -- Piron said Boe has been exceptional at the position this season.
Lake Park (1-7, 1-5) at Geneva (4-4, 2-4)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Geneva High School
Outlook: Geneva needs a win to get to playoff eligibility with five wins. "Lake Park is a dangerous team," Geneva coach Boone Thorgesen said. "They have been playing really good football of late. They will be fired up for a chance to end our season. We must match the intensity from the start. We must be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We have to handle the emotions of a playoff atmosphere, senior night and the ups and downs that will occur Friday night." Thorgesen said linebacker Blake Stempkowski is playing at an all-conference level, "and making big plays on defense," he said. Wide receiver Tyler Tuisl, Thorgesen explained, has been the team's most consistent player on offense the last three or four weeks. Offensive lineman Victor Starkov, "is a grinder on the field and plays extremely hard every snap," Thorgesen said. Senior Carter Powelson is closing in on 1,000 all-purpose yards this season. "Week in and week out the kid has played his guts out at running back in one of the toughest conferences in the state," Thorgesen said.
West Aurora (3-5, 0-4) at Minooka (4-4, 2-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Minooka High School
Outlook: Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer said his squad will have to be aware of Minooka's explosive offense. "And they have been playing much better defense the past three weeks," he said. "It's going to be a great game." Matt Tarr continues to be a key presence for West Aurora. He played both ways in Week 8 and had 12 tackles, while also leading the team in rushing. Joey Pokryfke also played on both sides and caught West Aurora's only touchdown. Eimer also lauded the continued strong play of Gavin Nolan at outside linebacker.
LaSalle-Peru (5-3, 3-2) at Kaneland (4-4, 3-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Kaneland High School (Maple Park)
Outlook: Kaneland becomes playoff eligible with a win Friday in what will also be a game for third place in the Kishwaukee River/Interstate Eight White. "Our message is to go 1-0 and get a win over L-P," Kaneland coach Pat Ryan said. "We have to build off our successes from last week. We played with confidence and energy and that has to continue into this game. L-P is very good on defense. We have to be able to protect our quarterback and create lanes for Corey Phillips, our running back." Matt Slou had 8 tackles (6 for loss) and a sack last week for the Knights and also started at center. Ryan Algrim had 11 tackles to lead the team in Week 8, and also has been consistently good as the team's long snapper, Ryan noted. Alex Panico got it done defensively last week as well with an interception, a blocked punt recovery and 7 tackles. Kaneland held Ottawa to 5 yards rushing last week. Quarterback Troyer Carlson threw 6 TDs last week and has passed for 2,239 yards and 28 scores this season. His favorite targets ae Sam Gagne (51 grabs), Dom DeBlasio (35 receptions) and Aric Johnson (33).
Chicago De La Salle (3-5, 0-2) at Marmion (5-3, 0-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Marmion Academy, Aurora
Outlook: A Marmion win here guarantees them a playoff berth with 6 wins. De La Salle may be 3-5, but they have 43 playoff points through eight weeks, indicating a tough schedule. "We will get all the bullets in their offense and defense," Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. "They have very skilled athletes with skill and toughness. We will not break a long run on offense because they will run us down like they have in the past. We must grind it out against them and wear them down, and we must pass the ball with more consistency." Thorpe lamented at Marmion committing two turnovers inside the 10 last week. "We cannot make the same mistakes," he said. "Our defense has to stay away from the big play." Marmion did force 7 turnovers against Chicago Leo last week. Thorpe lauded the play of Josh Lim, who has had several nice catches and runs after the catch recently. Sophomore Jack Lesher has been notable on defense with his consistent plays now turning into big plays, Thorpe said. "Jack is no longer a sophomore with his experience of eight varsity games," the coach said.
Glenbard South (7-1, 7-1) at Elgin (3-5, 3-5)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Field, Elgin High School
Outlook: "Glenbard South is a good team and has been playing well this year," Elgin coach Anthony Mason said. "They fly around and have talented players to take advantage of different aspects within the game. For us to be successful, we have to be anchored in our culture and execute at a high level. This has been a great improvement for us throughout the year and we hope that this game will showcase our execution at its highest level." Clem McCullough has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards, 17 total touchdowns and leads the Upstate Eight with 81 total tackles and 7 interceptions, which ranks him 40th in the country by one statistical service. "Some college is going to get a gem in him and will be lucky to have him," Mason said. Mason also is high on the play of Adam Lambaz and Matt Lawson. "Adam has done everything we have asked on defense and offense," he said. "This is something we try to stay away from, having players play both sides of the ball, but with his talent and love for the game, he is an exception. Matt stepped up this season to be the No. 2 guy for us and when teams key on Clem, he is able to make plays and be effective on offense. He will be special for us for years to come."
Elmwood Park (2-6) at St. Edward (3-5)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Greg True Field, St. Edward High School, Elgin
Outlook: St. Edward coach Mike Rolando pointed out his team has had some battles with Elmwood Park over the years. "It's our senior night and these guys' final game, so I expect a lot of energy out of our guys," he said. "We need to be disciplined and execute well to have some success Friday." St. Edward has eight seniors on the team with three of them two-way starters, plus special teams. That trio includes Max Kaufman, Cam Sauceda and Ryan Sauceda. "They never come off the field," Rolando said. "All three are two- or three-year varsity starters and have been our strength all year. The younger kids have rallied around these guys because of their leadership, and all eight of our seniors are leaving the program in good hands." Junior middle linebacker Ben Zielinski, the team's backup quarterback, leads the team with 58 tackles and 3 interceptions. Rolando pointed out every skill position statistical leader belongs to a junior or sophomore.
Aurora Central Catholic (3-6) at Westmont (1-8)When: Game called off due to COVID-19 reasons at Westmont.
Outlook: ACC gets a forfeit win here and finishes at 3-6 overall and 2-3 in conference play. The Chargers' last game on the field was the Week 8 win over Ridgewood 41-6 where running back Jack Loria scored 2 rushing touchdowns. Jake Bianchi had 1 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown. Quarterback Kevin Stanislo had 1 rushing touchdown and Zack Stuck blocked a punt and returned it for 6 points. "The Ridgewood touchdown was a fluke play where we had several players tackling their running back and the ball squirted out into the hands of one of their players standing near the pile," ACC coach John Belskis explained. "He returned the fumble 87 yards for the only touchdown."
Wheaton Academy (6-2) at Aurora Christian (6-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Aurora Christian High School
Outlook: Aurora Christian can increase its chances at hosting a playoff game next week with a win here. "This is a big week for us," Eagles coach David Beebe said. "It's always important to play at your best before entering the playoffs. Both teams are 6-2 and heading into the playoffs next week, but momentum going into Week 10 is critical. A lot of respect between these two teams. It should be a good one."
McHenry (1-7, 1-7) at Burlington Central (2-6, 2-6)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Rocket Hill, Burlington Central High School
Outlook: Central coach Brian Melvin's message to his team? "It is a blessing that we have had a full nine-week season," he said. "With all the ups and downs this season has brought, we still get to play this great game one more time together." Sophomore Joey Kowall has stepped in at running back. "He works hard and is only going to get better," Melvin said. Sophomore Ryder Bergemann (5-4, 123 pounds) is the team's backup quarterback. "He's had an excellent season as our backup quarterback," Melvin said. "He came up huge filing in at cornerback against Cary-Grove (last week). He played so well he earned himself a starting spot this weekend on defense. The kid has the heart of a champion." Melvin added senior Ethan Welsh has had a nice run with his blocking at fullback. "He is absolutely leaving it all out on the field," he said. "He will graduate with no regrets. I am so proud of him." Zach Lawrence had his third interception of the season last week and now has 15 career interceptions, including four returned for a touchdown.
Other Friday games
East Aurora (4-4, 4-4) at Bartlett (4-4, 4-4), 7:30 p.m.
Jacobs (5-3, 5-3) at Dundee-Crown (0-8, 0-8), 7 p.m.
Cary-Grove (8-0, 8-0) at Hampshire (5-3, 5-3), 7 p.m.
Huntley (3-5, 3-5) at Crystal Lake South (4-4, 4-4), 7 p.m.
Wheaton North (7-1, 5-1) at St. Charles East (2-6, 1-5), 7:30 p.m.