Scouting Week 7 Fox Valley football games

Updated 10/4/2018 10:24 PM

Kaneland (5-1, 2-0) at Yorkville (5-1, 1-1)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m. at Campbell Field

Last year: Kaneland 35, Yorkville 3

Last week: Kaneland 28, Sycamore 7; Yorkville 41, Rochelle 7

Outlook: First-place Kaneland can put a stranglehold on the Northern Illinois Big 12 East with a victory. The Knights complete division play next week with a home game against Morris (3-3, 0-2). "We need to go in there and play our game," said Kaneland coach Pat Ryan, whose team moves up a spot to No. 8 in this week's Class 5A rankings. "Yorkville is a good team. We have to protect the football." The teams have played one common opponents: Sycamore. Kaneland defeated Sycamore last week by 3 touchdowns. The Foxes lost to Sycamore 28-27 two weeks ago. The Kaneland defense is led by junior linebacker Wilson Giffney (66 tackles, 9 TFL), senior linebacker Chaz Shaw (55 tackles, 4 TFL, sack), junior defensive back Jimmy Marczuk (47 tackles, 3 TFL, sack, interception), senior defensive back Zach Denning (40 tackles, 2 forced fumbles) and senior lineman Drew Hahn (39 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 hurries). Offensively, Kaneland averages 326 total yards and 24.7 ppg. The Knights have rushed for 1,115 yards (185.8 avg), led by four-year varsity back Jonathan Alstott. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior has 704 yards and 7 touchdowns on 175 carries (4.0 avg.). Mobile quarterback Joe Smith has completed 63 of 111 attempts for 841 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has thrown 5 interceptions. Smith's top receivers are 6-foot-4 senior tight end Luke Brost (18 rec., 328 yards, 3 TD), 6-1 junior Colton Doll (15-232-2) and 5-10 junior Max Gagne (20-199-2).

Next week: Morris (3-3) at Kaneland; Yorkville at DeKalb (5-1)

Larkin (3-3, 3-3) at Bartlett (4-2,4-2)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Last week: South Elgin 53, Larkin 7; Bartlett 49, West Chicago 0

Outlook: Rivals in a roundabout way, these Elgin Area School District U-46 teams meet on the gridiron for the first time since 2013, when Bartlett won 20-7. This is the 10th Upstate Eight Conference clash between the Hawks and Royals since Bartlett initiated football in 1998. The Hawks hold a 6-3 series edge. This game is critical for the playoff chances of both. Bartlett has already doubled last year's win total by outgaining its opponents 358-201 and outscoring them 30-15. A win against Larkin would make the Hawks playoff eligible for the first time since 2015, when the program last reached the tournament. Senior Nick Deckard has 874 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 121 carries (7.2 avg.). "When you have a guy like Nick Deckard back there, why wouldn't you give him the ball?" Bartlett coach Matt Erlenbaugh said. "He's such a tough runner and he's so hard to take down. Also, our wide receivers are stepping up and not dropping balls like at the beginning of the season." Bartlett quarterback Jonah O'Brien has found a comfort zone, his coach said. The senior transfer from Wisconsin has rebounded from a slow start to complete 48 of 82 passing attempts (58.5 percent) for 848 yards and 7 touchdowns. Nonetheless, Larkin expects a heavy dose of Deckard preceded by lead blockers. "They can spread it and their quarterback is a decent quarterback, but they'll get in that heavy package and try to blow us away," Larkin acting coach Jason Aubry predicted. "We have to roll up our sleeves and play football. It will be a backyard brawl. We have to be prepared mentally and physically. We need to figure out a way to score one more point than Bartlett. We have to man up and play well."

Next week: Glenbard East (6-0) at Larkin; Bartlett at South Elgin (5-1)

Batavia (6-0, 4-0) at St. Charles East (4-2, 2-2)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m. at Norris Stadium

Last year: Batavia 7, St. Charles East 0

Last week: Batavia 41, Geneva 0, St. Charles North 28, St. Charles East 7

Outlook: Batavia's defense rightly receives plenty of attention, but its multi-formational offense is equally hard to handle. The top-ranked team in Class 7A can vary its running style from play to play. The Bulldogs can ply their speed game with senior running back Artavion Taylor (62 carries, 522 yards, 6 TD) and sophomore Trey Urwiler (58-358-0). Or they can bulldozer the opponent by loading up the backfield with Quinn Urwiler (46-255-11) Michael Jansey (33-238-2), and blocking back Luke Weerts, each a starting linebacker. The packages combined have produced 1,602 rushing yards (267 avg.) and 21 touchdowns. More variations could be unveiled soon. "What if we split Jansey and Urwiler and Weerts out and put them five wide?" Batavia coach Dennis Piron wondered this week. "And what if we took some compacted speed formations with Art and some of those power guys and combine them together? Or what if we are able to get Art and Trey on the field together more often? That would pose problems for some people. We've been scoring a lot of points this season, but I really think our offense can be more dynamic in the coming weeks." Both teams played archrivals last week. Batavia came through fine against Geneva, but the Saints were disappointed by their performance in a loss to DuKane Conference co-leader St. Charles North. Fullback Justin Jett played briefly in that game. He is expected to compete against Batavia, coach Bryce Farquhar said. "Last week was definitely horrible," Farquhar said. "We know we didn't perform to our standards. We have to get rid of last week and move on. Batavia has always been physical and this team is no different. If you want to win state and be a champion, this is a great test to see where you're at." The St. Charles East defense is paced by senior linebacker Robert Carne (62 tackles, 3 TFL), junior linebacker Nick Schumann (51 tackles) and senior defensive back Jacob Molina (3 interceptions).

Next week: St. Charles North (5-1) at Batavia; St. Charles East at Wheaton North (3-3)

Jacobs (3-3, 3-2) at Cary-Grove (6-0, 6-0)Game time: today at 7 p.m. at Al Bohrer Field

Last year: Cary-Grove 52, Jacobs 26

Last week: Prairie Ridge 42, Jacobs 2; Cary-Grove 63, McHenry 21

Outlook: The assignment gets no easier for Jacobs this week. The Golden Eagles visit the top-ranked team in Class 6A a week after losing to third-ranked Prairie Ridge and two weeks after a loss to DuPage Valley Conference power Neuqua Valley. The competition level has taken a toll. The Golden Eagles lost starting quarterback Anthony Wilson for the season in the Neuqua Valley game. Sophomore safety Max Stec joined the long list of injured players last week. Hall of Fame coach Bill Mitz said the injury situation involving key contributors is the worst he has experienced in 28 seasons as head coach at Stevenson and nine at Jacobs. "It's unfortunate who the injured players are, but the next man up has to play his role," Mitz said. "The kids bounced back on Monday and had maybe our best practice of the year." Cary-Grove has outscored its opponents 273-85. Though the Trojans have thrown the ball more than usual this year -- accurate senior quarterback Ben McDonald has completed 44 of 60 attempts (73.3 percent) for 722 yards and 9 touchdowns with 1 interception -- they still run 79 percent of the time (253 of 322 plays). McDonald owns team highs in carries (85), rushing yards (664) and rushing touchdowns (13). Junior fullback Blake Skol has rushed for 522 yards and 8 scores in 78 attempts. Meanwhile, Jacobs was limited to 49 rushing yards against Neuqua Valley and 44 by Prairie Ridge. A Cary-Grove defense led by linebacker Jake Johnson (14.5 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks), sophomore linebacker Arik Mistak (team-high 26.5 tackles, interception) and senior defensive back Danny Daigle (21.5 tackles, 4 TFL) intends to make things difficult for Jacobs. "We have to stop the run first and foremost because their running game sets up everything else they want to do," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "Deep down they want to establish the running game and execute some play action off that and control the clock. We have to get pressure on the quarterback. It doesn't matter what kind of offense a team runs. Our plan is to make it uncomfortable for the quarterback."

Next week: Crystal Lake South (3-3) at Jacobs; Cary-Grove at Prairie Ridge (5-1)

Dundee-Crown (3-3, 2-3) at Crystal Lake Central (1-5, 1-4)Game time: today at 7 p.m. at Owen Metcalf Field

Last year: Dundee-Crown Crystal Lake Central

Last week: Dundee-Crown 22, Crystal Lake South 20; Huntley 48, Crystal Lake Central 21

Outlook: Dundee-Crown put itself squarely in playoff contention with last week's victory over Crystal Lake South. Next come the Tigers, who notched their only win two weeks ago against winless Hampshire. Knocking off the Gators last week bodes well for the Chargers. "I told our team no matter what we're playing meaningful football until Week 9, but if you get this one it's a little easier to see that (playoff) goal," D-C coach Mike Steinhaus said. "We've been talking to the kids about getting six (wins), not five, and we're taking them one at a time. Crystal Lake Central is a good team and we have to take care of business." The Tigers are a passing team. Junior quarterback Aidan Ellinger is a 52-percent passer (100 of 192) who has thrown for 1,585 yards (264 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. He has been intercepted nine times. His top target is senior Anthony Beck, A 6-foot-4, 180-pound wide receiver who has 46 receptions for 692 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Tigers have not run the ball effectively. They average 2.4 yards on 155 carries. Ellinger is the team's leading rusher with 190 yards on 94 carries.

"Their quarterback is a real good player and (Beck) is one of the best wide receivers I've seen in the area at going up and getting the ball," Steinhaus said. "Our top priority is taking care of him. We can't give up big plays, we have to make them work for yards and we have to get the ball out when we have the opportunity." D-C quarterback Josh Raby has completed 63 of 109 attempts (57.8 percent) for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns while limiting interceptions to four. He has taken only 6 sacks. Senior running back Ricky Ibarra has rushed for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns in 90 attempts (6.3 avg.) and has 6 receptions for 130 yards. Junior linebacker Anthony Fakhoury leads the Chargers with 34 tackles, 19 solo.

Next week: Hampshire (0-6) at Dundee-Crown; Crystal Lake Central at McHenry (0-6)

McHenry (0-6, 0-5) at Crystal Lake South (3-3, 3-2)Game time: today at 7 p.m.

Quick hit: This is a must-win for the Gators and 1,000-yard rusher Zach Borgert (128 carries, 1,037 yards, 13 TD). CL South closes the season at Jacobs (3-3) and vs. Prairie Ridge (5-1). McHenry has been outscored 268-99.

Huntley (4-2, 4-2) at Hampshire (0-6, 0-5)Game time: today at 7 p.m.

Quick hit: The Red Raiders ended a 2-game skid last week with a 48-21 victory over Crystal Lake Central, matching a season high for points. Huntley becomes playoff eligible with a victory. Hampshire matched its scoring total for the first five games combined in last week's 41-20 loss to Normal West.

West Aurora (5-1, 5-1) at Elgin (2-4, 2-4)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: West Aurora departs the Upstate Eight Conference for the Southwest Prairie after this season, meaning this could be the final game for years between football programs that first met in 1895. West Aurora has won the last eight meetings, most recently a 30-0 decision in 2015. Each squad is riding a two-game winning streak.

South Elgin (5-1, 5-1) at Glenbard South (4-2, 4-2)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: This Upstate Eight Conference tilt holds playoff implications for both teams. Glenbard South looks to pick up the pieces after a 57-13 loss at West Aurora last Friday. The Storm can seal their third playoff berth in four seasons with a road win. South Elgin has scored 40 points or more in its five victories.

Streamwood (1-5, 1-5) at Glenbard East (6-0, 6-0)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: Streamwood was unable to carry over the momentum from a 22-20 Upstate Eight victory against East Aurora two weeks into last week's 41-14 loss to Elgin. The Sabres brace for quarterback Bret Bushka and the league-leading Rams, who have outscored their opponents 229-63.

Wheaton North (3-3, 2-2) at Geneva (0-6, 0-4)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: The Vikings aim for a winning result against Wheaton North, which is fighting for a playoff spot. This is a must-win for the Falcons, who finish the season with home games against St. Charles East (4-2) and defending Class 7A champion Batavia.

St. Charles North (5-1, 4-0) at Glenbard North (0-6, 0-4)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: St. Charles North cracks this week's Class 7A rankings at No. 9 following last Friday's 28-7 victory over St. Charles East. Five North Stars registered sacks, junior Ryan Thiesse forced a fumble and junior Ben Furtney snared an interception for a defense that limited the Saints to 97 total yards. Glenbard North's record is deceiving. The Panthers lost three of their last four games by a combined total of 6 points against St. Charles East, Wheaton North and Lake Park.

Harvard (2-4, 1-2) at Burlington Central (1-5, 1-3)Game time: today at 7 p.m.

Quick hit: Burlington Central has been limited to 14 points or less in every game this season, including a 14-10 victory over Woodstock in Week 4. Harvard experiences similar difficulty finding the end zone. Both teams have scored 61 total points. The Hornets enter with a two-game winning streak. They defeated Rockford Christian 13-12 and Woodstock 21-14.

Bishop McNamara (5-1, 3-1) at Aurora Christian (4-2, 2-2)Game time: today at 7 p.m.

Quick hit: Both teams are ranked heading into this Metro Suburban Blue affair. Aurora Christian slides to No. 10 in Class 1A, down two spots after last week's 28-20 loss at St. Francis. Bishop McNamara rises a spot to No. 4 in this week's Class 3A poll in the wake of a 48-21 victory over Wheaton Academy. Aurora Christian sophomore quarterback Ethan Hampton has completed 83 of 143 attempts (58 percent) for 1,122 yards and 15 touchdowns.

IC Catholic Prep (6-0) at St. Edward (3-3)Game time: today at 7:15 p.m.

Quick hit: St. Edward hosts a small-school powerhouse. ICCP has won back-to-back Class 3A titles and enters this Metro Suburban Conference crossover ranked atop the Class 4A poll. Sophomore running back Kyle Franklin leads the Knights with 112 carries for 857 yards (7.7 avg.) and 5 touchdowns. St. Edward running back Nick Wright has collected 689 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 153 attempts (4.5 avg.).

Brother Rice (6-0) at Marmion (2-4)Game time: today at 7:30 p.m.

Quick hit: The Cadets need to upset the No. 4 team in Class 7A in a Chicago Catholic League crossover to remain playoff eligible. CCL Blue leader Brother Rice (3-0) is in a heated title chase with Montini (6-0, 2-0), its Week 9 opponent.

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