Week 7: Scouting the Upstate Eight Valley
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
Jacobs (4-2) at Glenbard East (1-5)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Last year: Jacobs 48, Glenbard East 0
Last week: Jacobs 35, Crystal Lake Central 18; Glenbard East 35, East Aurora 25
Outlook: Following consecutive Fox Valley Conference victories against McHenry and Crystal Lake Central, Jacobs travels to Lombard for a nonconference matchup with the Rams. Glenbard East didn't pick up its first win until last week against winless East Aurora. How does veteran Jacobs coach Bill Mitz keep his Golden Eagles from looking past the Rams, a team they defeated by 48 points last season, particularly ahead of next week's matchup against defending Class 6A state champion Prairie Ridge? He showed his team the film of Glenbard East's 26-20 loss to West Aurora (4-2), a game Glenbard East nearly won. "We showed what (Glenbard East) did against a pretty good West Aurora team so our guys aren't overlooking anybody," Mitz said. "After we lost to Cary (52-26 on Sept. 15), we told the kids we're on a mission to win 5 in a row and this is the third stop. We're not looking ahead or talking about anything but Glenbard East right now." Rams junior quarterback Bret Bushka threw for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and a score in last Friday's homecoming win. Defensively, East yielded 265 first-half yards against the Tomcats but stiffened after halftime. Jacobs junior fullback Stephen Kavanaugh gained 103 yards and scored a touchdown last week and senior wide receiver John Farrissey made 6 catches for 128 yards, including scoring receptions of 26, 47 and 29 yards. Jacobs cornerback Trevor Fitzsimmons remains sidelined due to injury, Mitz said. Another 17 tackles by Rams safety Mike Brown would come in handy against Jacobs' downhill run game. In last week's win Bushka passed for TDs to Kenny Adams, Jeremy Johnson and Matt Shockey.
Next week: Jacobs at Prairie Ridge (6-0, 5-0); Glenbard East at West Chicago (2-4, 1-2)
West Chicago (2-4, 1-2) at West Aurora (4-2, 2-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Wildcats' Jack Reynolds showed his wheels on an 85-yard kickoff return for touchdown against South Elgin. Using the whole field, getting fullback Frank Aniello going on the option and finishing defensively are goals. Noah Kotke impacts up front. After facing all-state caliber quarterbacks in consecutive weeks, the Blackhawks aim to snap a 2-game slide and become playoff eligible. The Wildcats have been outscored 169-100.
Bartlett (1-5, 1-1) at East Aurora (0-6, 0-3) Game time: 7 p.m. Friday Roy E. Davis Field
The quick hit: Eliminated from playoff consideration, these Upstate Eight Valley foes with young nuclei seek week-by-week improvement as they build toward next season. The Hawks defeated the Tomcats 42-7 a year ago.