Week 5: Lake Zurich's Powell, Batavia's Bautch earn MVP acclaim
Lake Zurich senior receiver Payton Powell and Batavia senior defensive end Mike Bautch have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their efforts in Week 5 of the high school football season.
Payton Powell, Lake Zurich: Named after Walter Payton, the senior wide receiver has added a touch of sweetness to the Bears since transferring from Zion-Benton this summer. He had a career night against Warren in helping Lake Zurich win 41-35 in double overtime to improve to 5-0 and 3-0 in the North Suburban Conference. Powell caught 6 passes for 206 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Jake Bellizzi, Maine West: The Warriors snapped a skid of 14 straight losses to Maine West, and Bellizzi was a big reason why. He finished with 3 offensive touchdowns, including the final 2 scores of the game, and finished with 94 yards rushing on 23 carries. In addition, Bellizzi returned a fumble 34 yards for the game's first score as the Warriors' playoff drive gained momentum with a 42-17 road triumph.
Mark Finley, Glenbard North: Behind a strong, experienced offensive line the 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior tailback helped grind out a 20-7 DuPage Valley Conference win over previously unbeaten Naperville North. Finley gained 298 yards on 46 carries, his long run of 41 yards completing the Panthers' scoring in the third quarter.
Kyle Leva, Crystal Lake South: This three-year varsity starter enjoyed his best game yet in a 56-34 victory at Dundee-Crown. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound running back followed his offensive linemen to pay dirt five times on scoring runs of 53, 19, 64, 50 and 2 yards. Leva gained 288 yards rushing on 22 carries to lead the Gators to their first victory.
Mike Bautch, Batavia: This defensive end not only counted 3 sacks among his 5 tackles, his third put the finishing touch on a 7-0 victory over St. Charles East. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior lined up on the left side of the line with the Saints facing fourth-and-15 at the Batavia 31-yard line. Bautch shed a blocker, rushed toward the quarterback and pulled him down to seal undefeated Batavia's third shutout in 5 games.
Kevin Cooke, IC Catholic Prep: The 5-foot-10, 180-pound sophomore linebacker has led ICCP in tackles each game. In a 56-13 Metro Suburban Blue win over St. Edward, Cooke's 10 tackles and 2 sacks paced a unit that allowed 3 first downs, minus-1 yard rushing, 38 passing. St. Edward had outscored its two prior opponents 110-0.
Maema Njongmeta, Stevenson: The junior inside linebacker didn't start playing football until he entered high school. He's proven to be a fast learner and great pickup for the Patriots. In helping Stevenson beat Zion-Benton 41-7 for its third win in a row, he recorded 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He finished with 8 total tackles.
Mick Szylak, Rolling Meadows: The Mustangs' defensive line was a force in a 24-9 victory against Wheeling, and Szylak led the charge. He finished with 6 solo tackles and 4 assists, with 4 tackles for loss (all solos) along with 2 sacks as Rolling Meadows won its MSL East opener and fourth straight overall.