Week 6: Scouting the Upstate Eight Valley
Huntley (5-0) at West Aurora (4-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: West Aurora 27, Huntley 21
Last week: Huntley 41, Cary-Grove 32; South Elgin 40, West Aurora 14
Outlook: The Huntley offense is humming. The Red Raiders average 45.2 ppg. That includes last week's 41-point performance against Cary-Grove, which had allowed a total of 54 points in 4 games. Directing it all is senior quarterback Eric Mooney, the fastest back around who has developed into an accurate passer. Mooney has completed 58.4 percent of his attempts (52 of 89) for 855 yards and 9 touchdowns with 4 interceptions. His 4.43 speed and good decision-making have translated to 621 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 71 carries (8.7 avg.). Running back Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu (4.45 speed) has rushed for team highs of 643 yards and 10 touchdowns on 71 carries (9.1 avg.). They'll take on a West Aurora squad that lost a regular-season game last week for the first time since Week 9 of the 2015 season. The Blackhawks were short three offensive starters last week: guard Eddie Fowler and talented receivers Dylan Bernal and Camron Donatlan, the latter being the defending Class 3A state high jump champion. "Now we have to start a new streak and it's going to be tough because I think Huntley is pretty darn good," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. "It's our homecoming. Hopefully, we can get some guys back and get ready to roll." The Blackhawks' rushing leaders are sophomore Trevon Tittle (52 carries, 419 yards, 3 TD), junior JaQuan Buchanan (55-383-13), junior Hezekiah Salter (27-297-4) and senior Kameron Moore (35-184-2). Sophomore quarterback William Tammaru has completed 33 of 56 attempts for 545 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. A blitz-centric defense is led by senior Lesiron Tittle and junior middle linebacker Ian Deisher. Both average 6.8 tackles. "They are an extremely athletic team," Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said. "Where we have speed and athleticism, they match up with ours. They have some big offensive and defensive linemen and they give us a look very similar to what we saw against Loyola last year. They'll play a lot of man (defense) and send a lot of pressure."
Next week: Crystal Lake Central (4-1) at Huntley; West Chicago (2-3) at West Aurora
St. Charles East (3-2) at Bartlett (1-4)
Upstate Eight crossover
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Millennium Field
Last year: St. Charles East 37, Bartlett 19
Last week: Batavia 7, St. Charles East 0; Prairie Ridge 63, Bartlett 7
Outlook: There's nothing wrong with St. Charles East. The Saints have dropped 2 straight to St. Charles North and Batavia by a total of 8 points, but they were competitive to the final play in both games so no alarm bells are sounding on Dunham Rd. A block in the back penalty here, a holding call there -- they've led to nullified touchdown runs that might have changed outcomes. "There's been calls. It's just those small things have not gone our way this season and that's the way it bounces," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "I think (Batavia) is a deep playoff team and we played the really well." Saints quarterback Clayton Isbell gutted out a high-ankle sprain against Batavia. Though he wasn't effective as a rusher, he stretched the field vertically and kept the Bulldogs honest. Bartlett is a junior-heavy team trying to get better week by week. The Hawks were humbled last week by defending Class 6A state champion Prairie Ridge, one of the best teams in the state. Like St. Charles East, Prairie Ridge runs the triple option. Coach Eric Ilich said he's looking for a bounce-back game from his defense, led by senior safety Mark Repiscak and senior linebackers Collin Domanus and Cam Montriand. "When you play a tough team like Prairie Ridge you learn a lot of tough lessons," Bartlett coach Eric Ilich said, "so we'll see how we respond against St. Charles East and see what we've learned."
Next week: Larkin (2-3) at St. Charles East; Bartlett at East Aurora (0-5)
East Aurora (0-5, 0-2) at Glenbard East (0-5, 0-2)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Before turnovers bit, Glenbard East led strong St. Charles North on a 64-yard run by Jack Oberli behind center Nick Andrews. Left tackle Ben Pham has been a consistent force for the Rams, who look to get the ball to junior wideout Jeremy Johnson.
South Elgin (5-0, 3-0) at West Chicago (2-3, 1-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Against South Elgin's Nate Gomez the best defense is good offense. West Chicago had it last week on a Frank Aniello touchdown run, a Ruben Fernandez catch and 2 Jahleel Humphrey TD catches, 1 off freshman kicker Alex Resendiz's "fire drill" pass. A South Elgin win would set a new program record for best start to a season. The Storm went 5-0 in 2010 en route to a 7-4 finish. The Storm won 8 straight during the 2015 season, when they finished 9-2. "We just have to stay the course and not lose any focus here because (West Chicago) coach (Ted) Monken will have the scheme in place," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "We'll have to go out there and execute."