Week 9: Scouting the Upstate Eight Valley
West Aurora (6-2) at Geneva (4-4)
Upstate Eight Conference crossover
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Burgess Field
Last year: West Aurora 49, Geneva 7
Last week: West Aurora 56, Bartlett 14; St. Charles North 45, Geneva 21
Outlook: West Aurora tries to improve its playoff seed in Class 8A. Meanwhile, the playoffs are on the line for Geneva, which has missed the postseason two of the last three years. Making the field is possible but the Vikings must defeat West Aurora. They have been beset by injuries to skill-position players all season. Now, Geneva faces a West Aurora team rounding into form after several top athletes returned from injury last week. Camron Donatlan was one of them. The Class 3A state high jump champion switched from wide receiver to running back upon his return. After only one practice at his new position, Donatlan rushed for 206 yards and touchdown runs of 51, 2, 70 and 24 yards. Vikings coach Rob Wicinski said he thought all along a playoff berth could hinge on beating West Aurora in the regular-season finale. "We kind of maybe anticipated this at the beginning of the season," Wicinski said, "depending if we could get our boys moving in the right direction. Our playoffs have started. Game on." Geneva counters with 6-foot-3, 220-pound fullback Reilly Waldoch, tailback Lavonte Jones and quarterback Bobby Murray. The senior has thrown for 1,358 yards and 11 touchdowns on 96-of-162 passing (59.3 percent). "(Murray) keeps plays alive and he's done a lot of nice things," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said. "Defensively, they're very solid up front. It's Geneva. They're going to be extremely well-coached kids, and they have to win to get into the playoffs. It's a good test in Week 9, exactly what you need. In my opinion, they're a good football team so we're very excited to get this opportunity."
Bartlett (2-6, 2-2) at Glenbard East (2-6, 2-2)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Bartlett won 35-28 in 2016 but this year overall the Rams have scored 40 more points. Quarterback Bret Bushka, behind center Nick Andrews, accounted for 5 touchdowns last week. Pat Lyons, Anthony Shockey and Alec Wolff head the defense. This game is important to both developing teams. The winner finishes in third place in the UEC Valley behind South Elgin and West Aurora, a positive way to finish heading into off-season training. The Rams have won 2 of their last 3 games.
East Aurora (1-7, 0-4) at South Elgin (7-1, 4-0) Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday
The quick hit: South Elgin has already clinched a share of its second Upstate Eight Valley title in three seasons, but the Storm can claim it outright with a victory over the last-place Tomcats, who have been outscored 263-126. East Aurora is coming off a 29-6 victory over Streamwood.
West Chicago (2-6) at Crystal Lake South (2-6)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The host allows 42 points a game but in the tough Fox Valley. Wildcats quarterback Jeff Zajac has "done a great job," coach Ted Monken said, and both Luke Seeman and Ruben Fernandez have been solid all year. Big Noah Kotke leads in tackles. The Gators can match last year's record with a victory in the nonconference season finale for both teams. The Gators took down the Wildcats 43-14 in 2016.