Scouting Week 1 in the Fox Valley

Updated 8/23/2018 8:51 PM

Schaumburg (5-5) at St. Charles North (9-2)When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Last year: St. Charles North 38, Schaumburg 13

Outlook: Playoff teams clash in this nonconference season opener. The North Stars hammered Schaumburg last year, but the Saxons bounced back to win 4 of their next 5 games and qualified for the playoffs in Week 9. They were ousted in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs by eventual runner-up Lake Zurich, 42-6. St. Charles North won the Upstate Eight River Division and was the only team to defeat 7A state champ Batavia. The North Stars lost to St. Rita 26-16 in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs. North returns 16 starters from a 9-win team, including receiver/defensive back Tyler Nubin (Minnesota) and tackle Alex Westendorf (North Dakota State). Peyton Brown takes over at quarterback and Sam DeMarco will carry the load at running back. Schaumburg returns 12 starters, led by wingback/defensive back Heze Trotter. Marcus Ross returns at quarterback. He started the final 4 games of the 2017-18 season.

Next week: St. Charles North at Bolingbrook; Schaumburg at Wheeling

Batavia (13-1) at Lemont (10-2)When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Batavia 21, Lemont 0

Outlook: Class 7A state champion Batavia opens with a challenging road assignment. The Bulldogs shutout Lemont in the season opener a year ago. "We had a very tough game at our place and had to earn our scores," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. The Indians then reeled off 10 straight wins. Lemont's season ended in a Class 5A quarterfinal with a 15-3 loss to eventual state champion Phillips. Half the starting lineup returns. Meanwhile, Batavia returns five defenders from its state title team: senior linebackers Michael Jansey and Luke Weerts, junior linebacker Quin Urwiler, senior defensive end Ethan Towers and strong safety Nick Conger. The offense is largely new. Only tackle Evan Holden and guard Anthony Glisson started last year. Lemont has won 10 or more games nine times in 11 seasons. "We look at Lemont as a very elite program," Piron said. "That is going to be a heck of a team to go down and play on opening night. They've got new turf, and they're a tough, physical group on both sides of the ball. Their defense hit us as hard as anybody hit us all last year. We had better have everything squared away when we go to play them because they are going to come after us."

Next week: Naperville North at Batavia; Lemont at Rich Central

West Aurora (7-3) at Larkin (4-5)When: Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field

Outlook: Conference play begins immediately in the new-look, 10-team Upstate Eight. West Aurora returns eight players on each side of the ball. Atop the list of veteran defenders eighth-year coach Nate Eimer can count on is tackle Denver Warren, a 300-pound junior committed to Michigan. The offense returns Class 8A all-state honorable mention guard Ian Mooney and senior quarterback William Tammaru (1,142 yards, 7 TD). Tailbacks JaQuan Buchanan (91 carries, 639 yards, 16 TDs) and Hezekiah Salter (70-687-9) and junior fullback Trevon Tittle (94-617-5) also return. Larkin transitions to first-year coach Zeus Gonzalez, formerly the offensive coordinator. The Royals return all-conference receiver/back Jahari Stubbs (5 ints.) and a slew of athletic receivers/defensive backs. The offense is directed by senior quarterback Jaxon Aubry, a transfer from Joliet West. His father, Jason, is Larkin's new offensive coordinator. He was Joliet West's head coach for the last eight seasons. The Aubrys will seek vulnerabilities in a veteran West Aurora defense that held opponents to 18.4 ppg last year en route to the program's third-straight playoff berth. "Coach Eimer has done a fantastic job there," Gonzalez said. "I've been following him for the last couple of years because I grew up in Aurora. I appreciate all the hard work and what he's been able to do with that program. For us to get to that level, we just have to continue building." West Aurora's coach said he respects the caliber of athlete Larkin returns. "The Stubbs kid is the real deal," Eimer said. "He's one of the better football players I've seen on film. We also have film of the quarterback from Joliet West. He's a real good player. And the nose guard (Isai) Rios is tough. I think it's going to be a good matchup."

Next week: West Aurora at West Chicago; Streamwood at Larkin

Crystal Lake South (3-6) at Cary-Grove (7-4)When: Friday at 7 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field

Last year: Cary-Grove 41, Crystal Lake South 14

Outlook: This District 155 battle drips with experienced players on both sides. The Gators return seven offensive players. Four are linemen, led by Division-I prospects Trevor Keegan (6-6, 295) and Dominic Collado (6-4, 300). Ryan Lawson, Billy Epperson and Jake Kocemba are back to lead the defense. CL South's seniors won't sneak up on the wary Trojans. "Their senior class, when they played our sophomores two years ago, really handed it to us," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "They have a lot of talent on that team. They have their offensive linemen that everybody knows about, but they also have some good skill kids." The Gators allowed 38.4 ppg last season. A revamped CL South defense will be tested right away by a triple-option offense that returns a veteran backfield. Back are Max Buss, Danny Daigle, Michael Boyd, Zach Perrone and Ben McDonald. "They probably return the most starters of anyone in our conference," CL South coach Rob Fontana said. "At the same time, when you do go against option teams you want to typically hit them as soon in the season as you can and hope that they haven't been able to simulate game speed. Maybe the timing of that option might be a little off."

Next week: Cary-Grove at Crystal Lake Central; Crystal Lake South at DeKalb

Hampshire (1-8) at Jacobs (6-4)When: Friday at 7 p.m.

Last year: Jacobs 42, Hampshire 7

Outlook: First-year Hampshire coach Jake Brosman seeks his first win. Jacobs' Bill Mitz, an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall-of-Famer, seeks his 248th. Hampshire looks to bounce back from a 1-8 season by running a more balanced offense. Seniors Jake See and Trevor Laffin will be counted on in the backfield. All-Fox Valley Conference receiver Zach Golden (49 rec, 3 TDs) can stretch the field and remains a dangerous target. There are many new faces on a defense hungry to improve on last year's 41.6 points allowed per game. "We're going to be a little bit of an underdog this year, but I think these boys have worked so hard that we're going to shock a few people," Brosman said. "At least we're going to put up a good fight." The Golden Eagles return nine starters overall, including third-year starters Aidan Sproule at linebacker, defensive end Cade Portell and guard Nick Zonta. Other returnees include 6-foot-8, 315-pound senior tackle Joey Price, senior quarterback Anthony Wilson and all-Fox Valley Conference fullback Stephen Kavanaugh. The Golden Eagles outscored Hampshire 84-31 the last two seasons combined. Jacobs has not won a season opener since a 26-24 win against Prospect in 2015. "We haven't won an opening game in a couple of years now so we hope to get a good win," Mitz said. "We don't know for sure what they heck they're doing so we're preparing for everything."

Next week: Jacobs at Huntley; Prairie Ridge at Hampshire

Huntley (8-2) at McHenry (4-5), Friday at 7 p.m.The Red Raiders thumped McHenry 45-7 in last year's regular-season finale. Senior Chris Raffin debuts as Huntley's quarterback. McHenry switched coaches in June. Former offensive coordinator Jon Niemic replaces Nat Zunkel.

West Chicago (2-7) at South Elgin (8-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m.Two new coaches make their respective program debuts. Former Larkin coach Dragan Teonic directs his first game at South Elgin. Jack Rustman takes over for Ted Monken at West Chicago.

Bartlett (2-7) at East Aurora (1-8), Friday at 7:30 p.m.Former Chicago Solario coach Matt Erlenbaugh leads Bartlett for the first time. New East Aurora coach Nick Kukuc, previously the offensive coordinator, replaces former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kurt Becker.

Elgin (2-7) at Glenbard East (3-6), Friday at 7:30 p.m.St. Edward transfer Jordan West takes the reins as Elgin's quarterback with speedy Xavier Bonds returning at wide receiver. Four returning starting offensive linemen protect third-year Glenbard East quarterback Bret Bushka.

Glenbard South (6-5) at Streamwood (0-9), Friday at 7 p.m.The Raiders take their Upstate Eight Conference bow, armed with three returning offensive linemen who average 230 pounds. The Sabres look to snap a 10-game losing streak in the home opener at Millennium Field, led by defensive lineman Elijah Beach (North Dakota).

Niles Notre Dame (7-3) at Geneva (4-5), Friday at 7:30 p.m.All-area fullback Reilly Waldoch, two-way lineman Frank Martin and all-conference defensive end Cole Campbell aim to end Geneva's two-year playoff drought. The Dons have made 11 playoff appearances in 12 years under hall-of-fame coach Mike Hennessey.

St. Charles East (8-3) at Rock Island (4-5), Friday at 7 p.m.St. Charles East senior fullback Justin Jett returns for his third season. Last year, he rushed for 1,306 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Saints invade the Quad Cities with three returning offensive linemen who tip the scales between 265-290 pounds.

Dundee-Crown (1-8) at Grayslake North (7-4), Friday at 7:15 p.m.All-Fox Valley Conference quarterback Josh Raby (6-foot-5) returns to lead the Chargers in this nonconference matchup. Grayslake North has made six straight playoff appearances.

Burlington Central (5-4) at Sycamore (3-6), Friday at 7:15 p.m.Central finished with a winning record for the first time since 2014-15 but did not qualify for the playoffs. The Rockets return two experienced quarterbacks: senior Johnny DiCostanzo and junior Jake Lenschow. Sycamore missed the playoffs for the second straight season after eight straight postseason bids between 2009-2016.

Chicago Urban Prep West (4-5) at Aurora Christian (5-5), Friday at 7 p.m.Two-way starters Caleb Beebe, Trey Madsen and Josh Erffmeyer return from an Aurora Christian playoff team that lost to Sterling Newman Catholic 27-18 in the first round.

Tinley Park (5-5) at St. Edward (5-4), Friday at 7 p.m.Both teams finished 5-4 last season. The Titans gained an at-large bid, whereas St. Edward was denied a postseason berth due to a lack of playoff points. Third-year starters Nick Wright and Sydney Muhammad lead the otherwise young Green Wave.

Kaneland (7-4) at Hinsdale South (6-5), Friday at 7:30 p.m.Fourth-year starting lineman Drew Hahn is among eight defensive starters returning from a Kaneland playoff team that won 5 straight before a second-round exit. Hinsdale South junior Marquese Garrett switches from running back to quarterback. He rushed for 900 yards last year.

Marmion (6-6) at DePaul Prep (2-7), Friday at 4:15 p.m. at Chicago AcademyThe Cadets open the season with a Chicago Catholic League crossover. Marmion now plays in the CCL Green Division along with St. Laurence, DeLaSalle, Mt. Carmel and Fenwick.

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