Week 8: Scouting the Fox Valley Conference
Cary-Grove (5-2) at South Elgin (6-1)
Game time: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Last year: Cary-Grove 50, South Elgin 6
Last week: Cary-Grove 41, Crystal Lake South 14; Batavia 10, South Elgin 7
Outlook: From the South Elgin perspective, it's out of the frying pan and into the fire. A week after playing toe-to-toe with Batavia, the No. 5 team in Class 7A, the Storm welcome Cary-Grove, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A. These teams have something in common: quarterbacks with bright baseball futures. South Elgin quarterback Nate Gomez was named honorary captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Baseball Team last spring after leading his team to the Elite Eight. He's committed to Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Ill. Gomez is the leading rusher for the Storm with 1,017 yards and 15 touchdowns, but he was limited last week to 38 rushing yards by Batavia's fast, physical defense, which intercepted him twice. The strong-armed senior has completed 46 of 94 attempts for 757 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cary-Grove junior quarterback Quinn Priester is already committed to pitch for Texas Christian. He enjoyed his best game last week in a win over Crystal Lake South. With four ball carriers shelved due to injury, Priester carried 13 times for 90 yards and 4 touchdowns and threw for 108 yards and a score on 8-of-12 passing. "He's improved every week," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "His throwing, his accuracy, is getting a lot better and he's getting a lot more confident running the ball. There's more to come. We haven't seen the best from Quinn yet." Cary-Grove suffered yet another backfield injury last week when starting free safety Michael Boyd tore his MCL while making a block on offense. He's out indefinitely, Seaburg said.
Next week: Cary-Grove at Crystal Lake Central (4-3); East Aurora (0-7) at South Elgin
Jacobs (5-2, 4-2) at Prairie Ridge (7-0, 6-0)
Fox Valley Conference
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Last year: Prairie Ridge 42, Jacobs 0
Last week: Jacobs 34, Glenbard East 7; Prairie Ridge 55, Hampshire 14
Outlook: Prairie Ridge All-State quarterback Samson Evans sat out last week's game at Hampshire for precautionary reasons but the Wolves did just fine without him. Sophomore Connor Lydon stepped in and rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and threw for another. As for Evans' availability for Week 8 against Jacobs, Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp on Tuesday said "we believe he will be able to play if he does not have any setbacks." In 6 games leading the No. 1 team in Class 6A, the Iowa recruit has carried 88 times for 865 yards and 13 touchdowns and has completed 13 of 26 pass attempts for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns without being intercepted. Prairie Ridge often flip-flops its offensive line to run the majority of plays behind Iowa-bound tackle Jeff Jenkins (6-foot-4, 275 pounds). A fullback then blasts through the hole and Evans "just follows right behind them," Mitz said. "They're not as much option as the old days. They're not pitching the ball a lot, though they do occasionally. It's more Samson running between the tackles." Mitz said his team is preparing to face Evans. Whether Evans plays or not, he already has the respect of Mitz, a Hall-of-Famer with 244 career victories in 36 seasons as a head coach, including 28 seasons at Stevenson. "He's one of the three most dynamic (players) that have had a lasting impression on me along with (Rashard) Mendenhall from Niles West and (Ryan) Clifford of Naperville Central," Mitz said. "I'm happy this is the last time I'll see him. Then I can root for him when he's playing for Iowa."
Next week: Hampshire (1-6, 1-5) at Jacobs; Dundee-Crown (1-6, 1-5) at Prairie Ridge
Huntley (6-1, 5-1) at Crystal Lake South (2-5, 2-5)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Ken Bruhn Field
The quick hit: The Red Raiders, ranked No. 7 in Class 8A, The Gators had their 2-game winning streak snapped last week in a 41-14 loss at Cary-Grove. They face a state-ranked team for the third time in 4 games
Hampshire (1-6, 1-5) at McHenry (3-4, 2-4) Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at McCracken Field
The quick hit: Hampshire quarterback Drew Dalby has thrown for nearly 1,400 yards. McHenry is a long shot to make the postseason field. If they win against Hampshire, the Warriors would have to upset Huntley (6-1) in Week 9 to get their fifth win.
Dundee-Crown (1-6, 0-6) at Crystal Lake Central (4-3, 3-3) Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Owen Metcalf Field
The quick hit: Dundee-Crown junior Ricky Ibarra became a 1,000-yard rusher last week. Defensively, the Chargers allow 43 ppg. The Tigers can become playoff eligible for the first time since 2014 with a Fox Valley Conference win. Quarterback Jacob Staples has thrown for 1,358 yards and 10 touchdowns.