Week 1: Scouting the Metro Suburban
IC Catholic at Bishop McNamara
Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Last year: IC Catholic 34, Bishop McNamara 0.
Outlook: Timeline results of this new rivalry indicate IC Catholic's resurgence. "Bishop Mac" 43-year coach Rich Zinanni's Fightin' Irish beat the Knights 41-0 in 2014, won the 2015 opener 49-32 and a 2015 Class 3A semifinal 42-14 before ICCP won last season's opener 34-0. Beginning his all-state junior season, ICCP quarterback Luke Ricobene passed for 120 yards, ran for 48 yards and a touchdown, intercepted 2 passes with 7 tackles on defense and averaged 43 yards a punt. Also well-versed against the Irish, returning linebackers Kemon Reese and Khali Saunders were credited with 16 and 10 tackles, respectively. McNamara sophomore Tyler Hiller won a three-man race for the quarterback spot on an overall young team, aside from all-Chicago Catholic League White seniors Colton Smith at linebacker and Indiana State commit Giavion Mason at receiver-defensive back. In 2018 this will be a Metro Suburban Conference game as McNamara joins the league.
Next week: St. Laurence at IC Catholic; Von Steuben at Bishop McNamara.
Addison Trail at Glenbard SouthGame time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Last year Nick D'Ambrose rushed for 1,285 yards and 15 scores, and the Blazers return their entire offensive line. Raiders linemen Jake Jochums and Jon Lavin may recall last year's potential game-tying 2-point conversion run that didn't click.
Leyden at FentonGame time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Leyden scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions last season, a fact Fenton seniors such as Dylan Butts and Amari Baldwin will remember. Quarterback Kyle Cacioppo threw the football 28 times, which hopefully won't be required on Friday.
Leyden has controlled this series, easily winning the past two games between the teams. The Eagles, who won the West Suburban Gold and qualified for the playoffs, look to keep the train running in 2017. It will be an all-junior backfield for Leyden, with quarterback Kyler Britten and Gabe Gardenas both making their first start for the Eagles. It will be fun to watch the development of defensive linemen Trevon Thomas and how teams trying to counter the junior. Matthew Lynch takes over as head coach at Fenton.
West Chicago at Wheaton AcademyGame time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Last year saw a nicely contested game, the first between these cross-town schools. West Chicago linemen Noah Kotke and Mike Wagner must be sound against a Warriors crew including 300-pound Sean Blum, 270-pound Graham Wall.
Metamora at St. Edward (4-5)
Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday at Greg True Field
Outlook: Class 4A All-State quarterback Dylan Mlinarich threw for 2,812 yards and 33 touchdowns last season, but the hope is he won't have to throw nearly as much with a healthy backfield in place. St. Edward attacks with its biggest offensive line in over a decade. The Redbirds finished fourth in the Mid Illini Conference last year, made the playoffs at 6-3 and won 2 games before bowing out against Morris in a Class 5A quarterfinal.
Next week: Metamora at Jerseyville; Chicago Hope Academy at St. Edward
Aurora Christian at Aurora Central Catholic Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Forget the bus. The Eagles could walk to this backyard brawl between Aurora private schools located just 2.1 miles apart. ACC won last year's opener between these schools 22-9 and went on to win 9 games. Chicago Catholic League White unanimous MVP Drew Clippert is among seven returning offensive starters for Aurora Christian.