Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games
By David Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
Bishop McNamara (3-0, 1-0) at IC Catholic Prep (3-0, 1-0)
Metro Suburban Blue
Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Last week: McNamara 64, Riverside-Brookfield 0; IC Catholic 48, Wheaton Academy 13.
Last year: IC Catholic 43, McNamara 7.
Outlook: Only Week 4, this game is pivotal in the conference race. McNamara, coached for 44 years by Rich Zinanni, has outscored foes 163-19, though ICCP has played the tougher slate. The visiting Fightin' Irish, newcomers from the Chicago Catholic League, return eight defensive starters, including linebacker Logan Johnson. Back also are quarterback Tyler Hiller and all-CCL back Tyshon King, running a pro-style set in front of four returning offensive linemen. ICCP quarterback Khalil Saunders is drawing raves among Knights staff for his poise and leadership. Against Wheaton Academy he completed his first 13 passes and finished 15 of 18 for 252 yards with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Sean Hipskind. There are few linebackers as consistent as Kevin Cooke, averaging nearly 13 tackles. However, despite a request to the IHSA for clarification, as of press time it seemed Purdue-bound Khali Saunders will miss this one due to two personal fouls and an ejection last week.
Next week: McNamara at St. Francis; IC Catholic at Aurora Christian.
Glenbard West (2-1, 0-0) at York (2-1, 1-0) West Suburban Silver
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: Glenbard West 27, Addison Trail 0; York 28, Lyons Twp. 0.
Last year: Glenbard West 50, York 3.
Outlook: The Dukes seek their first victory over Glenbard West since 2007, and a spirited home crowd in Elmhurst will certainly help. In the last two weeks York showed the ability to run with authority and pass with efficiency, both thanks to a bruising offensive line featuring senior Hayden Snyder and juniors Josh Mathiasen, Tim Glavan, Dan Wagner and Jack Wall. KeVon Robinson and Nick Conroy each ran for over 100 yards two week ago, and last week Josiah Scott had 5 catches for 135 yards. With Bo Thomas and Ben Melion, the Dukes' defensive line is just as strong. Judging by the way Glenbard West's Tyquan Cox, Joey Richmond, Nick Seifert and Kameron Bedford ran the ball last week -- over 300 rushing yards -- this is poised to be a physical game. Marky Winters and Dave Lanciloti anchor the Hilltoppers' defensive line, so it's a strength-on-strength matchup up front. If passing decides the game, Glenbard West is more of an unknown.
Next week: Downers Grove North at Glenbard West; York at Hinsdale Central.
Notre Dame (2-1, 0-1) at Benet (3-0, 1-0)
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Benedictine University in Lisle.
Last week: Marist 28, Notre Dame 21; Benet 35, St. Patrick 14.
Last year: Notre Dame 17, Benet 14.
Outlook: The start of the game will be key for both teams. Benet has buried opponents for three straight weeks, building a 28-0 first-quarter lead last week. Notre Dame, meanwhile, led Marist 14-7 and 21-14 only to see the RedHawks rally to victory. The big challenge for Benet's vaunted defense is slowing running back Ty Gavin, last season's ESCC player of the year as a junior. Gavin wasn't dominant last week but still rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Benet defensive lineman Jack Benish, who leads the Redwings with 32 tackles, continues to be the unit's best player. The running tandem of Ben Hickey and quarterback Colin Gillespie, who rushed for over 100 yards last week, is potent. Hickey, Gillespie and Mike Wymer each have rushed for more than 200 yards, but Benet knows it needs more out of its passing game. Not only is Benet's Jack Cooney dangerous at wide receiver and in the secondary, last week he also returned a kick for a touchdown.
Next week: Marian Central at Notre Dame; Nazareth at Benet.
St. Charles East (3-0, 1-0) at Wheaton Warrenville South (3-0, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: St. Charles East 17, Wheaton North 3; WW South 35, Geneva 3.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: This is the first real challenge for WW South, which already has exceeded its win total from each of the previous three seasons. The Tigers' three wins came against teams with a combined 0-9 record, but it's still been an impressive run. Jake Stransky, Jack Kelly, Joe Ives ... it's a long list of standout defensive performances from a unit that's allowed only 3 points and forced 13 turnovers. They must slow the toughest running backs they've faced so far -- the Saints' Justin Jett and B.J. Crossen, who each have rushed for over 100 yards the last two weeks. Against a double-wing attack, it's all about assignment defense for the Tigers, who also thrive running the ball. Jake Arthurs has really come on the last two weeks and has 251 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Prince Lankah and quarterback Noah Henkel add nearly 300 more rushing yards. The offense hasn't yet turned the ball over, something it'll need to do again to achieve the Tigers' first 4-0 start since 2013.
Next week: Geneva at St. Charles East; WW South at Batavia.
West Aurora (3-0, 3-0) at Glenbard East (3-0, 3-0)
Upstate Eight Conference
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last week: West Aurora 54, Streamwood 0; Glenbard East 50, West Chicago 14.
Last year: West Aurora 26, Glenbard East 20.
Outlook: West Aurora is the UEC favorite, but Glenbard East is playing well and with confidence. West Aurora has outscored opponents 167-6 but like Glenbard East has played two 0-3 teams. Michigan recruit Denver Warren anchors what Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer called the fastest defensive line he's had, supported by four returning starting linebackers, including top tackler Jerrit Gutierrez. Running back Hezekiah Salter leads nine players averaging at least 30 yards of total offense. Glenbard East is 3-0 for the first time since 1999 and seeks its first 4-0 start since the 1960s. The Rams likewise bring tough defense at all three levels, anchored up front by Nick Andrews and Jesus Lopez and in the middle by linebacker Anthony Shockey, who already has returned 2 interceptions for touchdown. The passing combination of quarterback Bret Bushka to Jeremy Johnson is golden, but maintaining balance with Bushka, Jake Netchin and Billy Gotsch running the ball is a huge key.
Next week: Bartlett at West Aurora; Glenbard East at South Elgin.
Batavia (3-0, 1-0) at Glenbard North (0-3, 0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Glenbard North looks to snap an 0-4 mark against the Class 7A champ. Starting with Jordan McQuarter's 124 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns and Mike Vazquez completing 56 percent of his passes, the Panthers made great strides against 3-0 St. Charles East.
DePaul (0-3) at Fenton (1-2)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Fenton nose guard Marcel Rusiecki continues to excel, a good thing against a squad Bison coach Matthew Lynch called big up front. Fenton allowed a couple big plays last week, but quarterback Kyle Cacciopo and back Ethan Doliente are capable of those as well.
Downers Grove South (1-2, 1-0) at Hinsdale South (2-1, 1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Mustangs quarterback George Ross played only two quarters in last week's win over Proviso East but looked good in his first action of the season. Hinsdale South had only 67 passing yards but 65 came on a touchdown from Marquese Garrett to Terrill McCray.
East Aurora (0-3, 0-3) at Glenbard South (2-1, 2-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The key for Glenbard South is tacking on wins before playing the likes of West Aurora, South Elgin, Glenbard East. Another key is finding more ways to get receivers Cade Hardtke and Trevor Burnett the football. Noah Gibson hit Bartlett with 4 tackles for loss.
Hinsdale Central (2-1, 1-0) at Downers Grove North (2-1, 1-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Old Oaken Bucket hangs in the balance again. Expect an extremely physical game up front, especially with Hinsdale Central's offense against Downers North's defense. The Trojans' Joe Passarelli is a key figure at linebacker and on the defensive line.
Larkin (2-1, 2-1) at West Chicago (0-3, 0-3)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: It's West Chicago's homecoming, and in comes new Larkin coach Jason Aubrey, mentor at Joliet West to new Wildcats coach Jack Rustman. Running back Jordan Garcia, linebacker Jeremy Grant look to strike after playing three straight 3-0 opponents.
Metea Valley (0-3) at Naperville North (0-3)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Metea's Colin Wilcox gained more confidence running the ball, and the Mustangs offense returns Matt Vodden to the line. Like Metea, Naperville North must be better on third down ... on both sides of the ball. Grant Pass has been solid in the Huskies' secondary.
Naperville Central (1-2) at Trinity (Kentucky) (0-4)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Trinity's record is deceiving. The Shamrocks play some of the region's toughest competition. The Redhawks' offense has become well balanced. Quarterback Payton Thorne has been great and running back Danny Hughes last week had his best game.
Neuqua Valley (1-2) at Normal Community (3-0)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Neuqua visits the sixth-ranked team in Class 7A, whose lowest point total is 43. Against Waubonsie, Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus liked the Will Chevalier-led ground game but looks for more offensive balance. Neuqua has that possibility in receiver Brandt Stare.
St. Francis (3-0, 0-0) at Wheaton Academy (2-1, 0-1)Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The visitors are 3-0 against the Warriors, now Metro Suburban Blue foes meeting for the first time since 2011. Spartans back Henry Plamondon ran for 129 yards, 2 TDs last week. Nose tackle Dan Skold vs. Warriors center Derek Johanik should be a sight to see.
St. Joseph (0-3) at Montini (3-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: With low (12) playoff points, Montini needs all the wins it can muster before the CCL Blue kicks in. Defensive linemen Cam Richardson, Demond Butcher, Frank Conforti, Patrick Peters and Fred Stokes brought the physicality Broncos coach Mike Bukovsky seeks.
Wallaceburg, Ontario (0-0) at Westmont (2-1)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: This should be fun because all either team really knows about each other are basic schemes. In last week's running-clock win Westmont linebacker Gavin Carr quickly made 8 tackles. Freshmen James Mendoza, Gabe Lischalk contribute to a jelling offensive line.
Waubonsie Valley (3-0) at Edwardsville (1-2)Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Waubonsie forever earned the Tigers' attention in 2015, a No. 30 playoff seed that beat the No. 3 seed in 8A. Containing a team that scored 63 points in its opener will be a chore, but Carson O'Donnell, Joey Gits and the Warriors defense have met all challenges.
Wheaton North (1-2, 0-1) at Lake Park (1-2, 0-1)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: Injuries make this one a bit of a mystery, but it remains an interesting swing game in the DuKane Conference. Xander Mueller keeps getting better at linebacker for the Falcons. Two of Lake Park's 5 turnovers last week were for touchdowns. That can't happen again.
Willowbrook (3-0, 1-0) at Addison Trail (0-3, 0-0)Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The quick hit: The Warriors' deep line rotation keeps guys like Emmanuel Chavez, Matt Knudtson and Tyler Walenga fresh on both sides of the ball. The Blazers get the bulk of their yards on the ground, but there's pass potential with QB Nick Daudelin and WR A.J. Carlson.