Week 4: Scouting the Upstate Eight River
St. Charles North (2-1, 1-0) at St. Charles East (3-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norris Stadium
Last year: St. Charles East 28, St. Charles North 21
Last week: St. Charles North 45, Larkin 6; St. Charles East 23, Geneva 16
Outlook: The defending Upstate Eight River champion Saints welcome the North Stars, the 2016 runner-up. North's only league setback last season came against St. Charles East. This marks the 17th time the crosstown rivals have met in the 16 years since the North Stars made their 2001 debut. The Saints found a way to win a tough road game at Geneva last week when two-way standout Nick Garlisch ripped the ball out of a defender's arms for the game-winning touchdown reception. The triple-option backfield of senior quarterback Clayton Isbell, junior fullback Justin Jett and Garlisch have contributed to the Saints' 35.3 ppg scoring average, just a tick below last year's 37.1 average. "We haven't really reached the top end of what we can do because Garlisch really hasn't gotten going yet," East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "It doesn't take a lot to get the kids focused when you're playing your crosstown rival. There has been a high level of intensity at practice this week, which was good to see. We just have to make sure their emotions don't get the best of them Friday." A difference-maker for the North Stars is 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback/wide receiver Tyler Nubin. The junior has 12 catches for 203 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, he has contributed 6 solo tackles and 2 pass break ups. Nubin has offers from Central Michigan and Illinois State and visited Illinois last weekend. "He's as special a player as I've ever coached," North coach Rob Pomazak said. "He's an elite-level player. Not many teams are throwing his way."
Next week: Glenbard East (0-3) at St. Charles North; St. Charles East at Batavia (3-0)
Larkin (1-2) at West Chicago (1-2)
Upstate Eight crossover
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Larkin 42, West Chicago 12
Last week: St. Charles North 45, Larkin 6; Bartlett 33, West Chicago 14
Outlook: Larkin is in a must-win situation following consecutive losses to Maine West and St. Charles North. The Royals have to post a win against the Wildcats to maintain a realistic shot at a 5-4 record and possible playoff berth considering dates against Upstate Eight River contenders Batavia (3-0) or St. Charles East (3-0) are yet to come. "We really need to start playing better period," Larkin coach Dragan Teonic said. "We're just not clicking. We're not playing up to our potential right now but we're starting to see the lights go on. We need to put it all together but we haven't done that yet because we've been inconsistent at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. And defensively, we're not getting to the ball as fast as we could and we're not aligning in formations correctly. We've closed the gap physically between us and the big schools. Our lines can hold their own. Now, we have to close the gap mentally." West Chicago has been outscored 80-42. A fast start will be the key to the Wildcats' homecoming success. Returning quarterback Jeff Zajac and fullback Frank Aniello from injury lends flexibility (and a breather) to C.J. Griffin.
Next week: Geneva (1-2) at Larkin; West Chicago at East Aurora (0-3)
Batavia (3-0, 1-0) at Elgin (1-2, 0-0) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Field
The quick hit: Batavia's defense has allowed one touchdown in 3 games -- a dual-possessed jump ball against Libertyville in the fourth quarter of a 24-10 win two weeks ago. Elgin averages 20.3 ppg.
Streamwood (0-3, 0-1) at Geneva (1-2, 0-1) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burgess Field
The quick hit: Geneva stamped itself a playoff contender after taking defending Upstate Eight River champion St. Charles East the distance last week. The Vikings look to even their record on homecoming. Streamwood has yet to score a point this season.