Week 7: Scouting the Upstate Eight River
South Elgin (6-0) at Batavia (6-0)
Upstate Eight Conference crossover
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium
Last year: Batavia 49, South Elgin 21
Last week: Batavia 49, Geneva 0; South Elgin 48, West Chicago 6
Outlook: Besides improving their respective postseason seeds, bragging rights are the primary motivation for these undefeated Upstate Eight division leaders. These bragging rights will last since this is the final season of the Upstate Eight Conference in its 13-school, two-division format. "It's for the rights to the throne of the old conference, I guess," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said lightheartedly. While the matchup of Batavia's strong defense against South Elgin do-it-all quarterback Nate Gomez is attention-getting, how South Elgin's defense performs against Batavia's varied offense is equally important. The Storm must contend with a multiformational, multidimensional Batavia attack
that averages 35.3 points, 182 rushing yards and 184 passing yards per game. The Bulldogs are led by senior quarterback Riley Cooper (1,010 passing yards, 12 TD, 4 Ints.) "As a staff we're very impressed with Riley Cooper," Batavia's Dennis Piron said. "We're impressed how he's improved, how he shakes off adversity, how he makes plays and steps up in the pocket. He's subtle in what he does. He's a calm and very, very effective quarterback." Cooper has big targets in 6-3 senior receiver Eric Peterson (14 rec., 296 yards, 5 TD) and 6-foot-3 senior tight end Collin Richter (15 rec., 275 yards, 4 TD). Four running backs -- Reggie Phillips, Jeremiah Evers, Elijah Green and Art Taylor -- have combined for 846 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns behind a line anchored by senior Nolan Eike (6-6, 260). "Offensively, they can do it all," Pistorio said. "They have so many different looks. Scheme-wise, it's extremely challenging to deal with because of the multiple formations and shifts and they do a good job using different personnel groups. We have to focus on what they're good at and hope to identify some tendencies." South Elgin's defense holds opponents to 14.2 points and 235.5 yards per game, led by senior linebackers Colt Doherty (team-high 45 tackles), Kyle Viverito (43) and Matthew Lopez (40).
Next week: Batavia at Larkin (3-3, 1-2); Cary-Grove (4-2, 4-2) at South Elgin
Geneva (3-3, 2-2) at Elgin (2-4, 1-2) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Memorial Field
The quick hit: To become playoff eligible Geneva needs to win this game and find a way to beat either St. Charles North (5-1) or West Aurora (4-2). Elgin would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss. Maroons coach Anthony Mason said senior quarterbacks Cam Jackson and Kristan Flower will likely both see time. "Hey, we hope to have a three-headed monster back there," Mason said.
Larkin (3-3, 1-2) at St. Charles East (4-2, 1-2) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norris Stadium
The quick hit: The Saints rolled to a 42-7 win at Bartlett last week without starting senior quarterback Clayton Isbell (ankle). Sophomore B.J. Crossen rushed 6 times for 15 yards but fullback Justin Jett carried the day with 26 rushes for 227 yards and 5 touchdowns. Larkin senior running back Kindrel Morris in the last 3 weeks has rushed for 603 yards and 5 touchdowns.
St. Charles North (5-1, 3-0) at Streamwood (0-6, 0-4) Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Millennium Field
The quick hit: A win seals St. Charles North's fourth straight playoff berth under fifth-year coach Rob Pomazak. This might be the last clash between these schools with conference realignment looming. The North Stars have won 14 of 16 meetings since the Upstate Eight River series began in 2001. The Sabres' last victory was a 35-9 win in 2011.