Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games

 
Updated 10/25/2018 11:24 AM
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  • Montini quarterback Deontay Bell throws a pass during Friday's game against Brother Rice in Lombard.

      Montini quarterback Deontay Bell throws a pass during Friday's game against Brother Rice in Lombard. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

By David Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

kschmit@dailyherald.com

Class 8A

No. 25 Neuqua Valley (6-3) at No. 8 Warren (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Neuqua Valley 28, Naperville North 7; Warren 43, Mundelein 7.

Outlook: Warren's 31-14 Week 1 loss to Barrington was an aberration. Naperville Central graduate Bryan McNulty's Blue Devils have allowed 23 points since, pitching five shutouts while notching 37 sacks with 26 takeaways by interception or fumble recovery. Plus, Martin Walker Jr. has run for 1,108 yards, 13 touchdowns. Anticipating fewer possessions, Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus stresses execution starting offensively with quarterback Mark Gronowski and extending to the other two phases. No one does kickoff returns better than Brandt Stare, who's taken 4 back for scores. On a uniformly tough run defense, linebacker Jake Boumans leads eight Wildcats with between 51 and 35 tackles.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 24 Conant at No. 9 Hinsdale Central.

No. 24 Conant (6-3) at No. 9 Hinsdale Central (7-2)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Hoffman Estates 29, Conant 27; Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12.

Outlook: In the playoffs for the eighth straight year, the Red Devils seek their third trip to the second round since 2014. The first half of the regular season saw Hinsdale Central losing about a starter a week to injury, including a season-ending injury to Luke Skokna in the opener. Matt Bobak took over at running back and rushed for 815 yards. Quarterback Matt Rush quietly put together a solid regular season with 1,041 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Defensively Hinsdale Central held four regular-season opponents to single-digit scoring, including a shutout win over Oak Park. The unit is led by lineman Sean Kelly and linebacker Aidan Cruickshank.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 25 Neuqua Valley at No. 8 Warren.

No. 21 Naperville Central (6-3) at No. 12 Plainfield South (7-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Cary-Grove 55, Naperville Central 41; Oswego 22, Plainfield South 15.

Outlook: The good news for the Redhawks is they faced a similar kind of option offense last week. The bad news is they surrendered more than 400 rushing yards to Cary-Grove in a loss that likely cost them a first-round home game. Plainfield South isn't flashy but Cody Dieball, Tod Bell and Jaylin Elson have combined for 980 rushing yards. The Cougars have attempted only 45 passes all season. It's a game that looks more suited for Redhawks linebacker Matt Oliver than the secondary, but Jack Jopes and Jamarri Moore are more than willing to help in run support. Redhawks quarterback Payton Thorne, who's thrown for 2,572 yards, has connected with Cade McDonald 73 times for 1,163 yards.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 28 Stevenson at No. 5 Marist.

No. 18 Glenbard West (7-2) at No. 15 Bartlett (7-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Glenbard West 35, Proviso West 6; Bartlett 46, Streamwood 6.

Outlook: Glenbard West has tried to field a healthy team all season but to no avail. Last week the Hilltoppers even brought up some sophomores to plug defensive holes. The running game has accounted for the bulk of the offense with WSC Silver MVP Tyquan Cox rushing for 1,152 yards and 17 touchdowns. Quarterbacks Tommy Bleker and Jarred Park both are effective running the offense in their own way. Bartlett needs to be prepared for both. Defensive lineman Dave Lanciloti and linebackers Jayden Rodgers and Otis Neavins lead Glenbard West's defense. They'll contend with a good passing attack led by Hawks quarterback Jonah O'Brien, who last week threw for 250 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 31 St. Charles East at No. 2 Lincoln-Way East.

No. 22 Waubonsie Valley (6-3) at No. 11 Bolingbrook (7-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Waubonsie Valley 14, Metea Valley 0; Lincoln-Way East 31, Bolingbrook 0.

Outlook: A postseason giant killer, rarely is Waubonsie Valley out of a game. If turnover-free (and not adding much to their 696 penalty yards) the option prodding of backs Bryce Logan and Dre'Von Turner, paired with Jack Drow's play-action passes to H-back Ryan LeMoine and several quality receivers could wear down Northwestern commit Cameron Mitchell and the Bolingbrook defense. Tackling big-time backs Anthony Williams Jr. and Quentin Pringle and quarterback Devyn Suggs is key, but linebackers Grayson Griffin, Ryan Mutz and Carson O'Donnell fly to the ball. Against a big Raiders line it'll start up front, where Jake Forrest, Joey Gits, Garrett St. Clair and Demari Wilson have been strong.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 27 Huntley at No. 6 Maine South.

Class 7A

No. 28 Lincoln Park (5-4) at No. 5 Willowbrook (9-0)

Game time: 6 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Lincoln Park 14, Morgan Park 6; Willowbrook 42, Downers Grove South 20.

Outlook: Lincoln Park beat only one team with a winning record. Willowbrook will use its lightning pace on offense to keep the Lions' defense off-balance. Warriors junior quarterback Sam Tumilty has been remarkable in his first season behind center in two years. He's rushed for 1,059 yards and 8 touchdowns and thrown for 1,642 yards and 20 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. Look for Nick Davey to contribute more to the ground game. Defensively, the Warriors have leaned on two-way play from Deandre Holliday, C.J. Harris, Sam and Scott Tumilty and others. In last week's win lineman James Michael stepped up with a sack and a key block on Scott Tumilty's punt return for a touchdown.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 21 Benet at No. 12 Maine West.

No. 21 Benet (6-3) at No. 12 Maine West (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Marist 24, Benet 7; Maine West 32, Deerfield 0.

Outlook: This is a rematch of a Class 7A first-rounder last year, a game won by Benet 35-13. In the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time, the Warriors' offense has hit 40 points five times and also reached 50 and 60 points. Slowing running back Jake Bellizzi, who last week rushed for a school-record 312 yards and has 1,407 yards on the season, is the primary task for Benet's defense. The Redwings recently welcomed back defensive lineman Jacob Snell from injury. He forms the perfect tandem with Jack Benish up front. It's all hands on deck on both sides of the ball for Benet. Quarterback Colin Gillespie might see time at cornerback and linebacker Mike Wymer will be in the slot on offense.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 28 Lincoln Park at No. 5 Willowbrook.

No. 31 Prospect (5-4) at No. 2 Glenbard East (9-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Prospect 28, Elk Grove 21; Glenbard East 42, Larkin 14.

Outlook: Due to big Mid-Suburban East losses to Hersey and Rolling Meadows, on average Prospect scores 6 points less than it allows. This is the Knights' first playoff appearance since 2012, but given Glenbard East's own 19-year lapse the Rams must account for a well-coached team with pedigree to gain their first 10-win season. The Rams' veteran offensive line of Ben Pham, Nolan Chambers, Nick Andrews, Connor Peterson and Dylan Marin is well-positioned to handle Prospect's defensive pressure. The defense, anchored by linebackers Jack Baka, Josh Landolina and Anthony Shockey, allows 133 yards a game; cornerback Nehemiah Jones hasn't allowed a completion against him all season.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 18 Hoffman Estates at No. 15 East St. Louis.

No. 19 Belleville West (7-2) at No. 14 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-1)

Game time: 6 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Belleville West 45, Belleville East 3; WW South 13, St. Charles North 11.

Outlook: The Tigers, in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, thrive with strong defense and special teams. They were rewarded with a home game -- which is key considering the distance Belleville West is driving for this one. Tigers defensive back Cedric Rowzee has been the top cover guy for the defense, and his assignment is a doozy against Belleville West sophomore Dominic Lovett, who holds several program records, including 5 touchdown catches last week. With Jack Kelly up front and Joe Ives in the secondary, the Tigers' defense has been rock solid. Quarterback Noah Henkel has been efficient while throwing for 1,142 yards. Jake Arthurs and Prince Lankah lead the ground game.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 30 Buffalo Grove at No. 3 Hononegah.

Class 6A

No. 12 Hinsdale South (6-3) at No. 5 Prairie Ridge (7-2)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12; Prairie Ridge 28, Crystal Lake South 21.

Outlook: The Hornets, who last season knocked out top-seeded Crete-Monee as a 16th seed, won't be intimidated against the two-time defending state champions. Hornets coach Mike Barry knows his team must deal with the Wolves' punishing ground game, saying, "They want to turn it into a fight in a phone booth." Wolves running back Jackson Willis has 1,674 yards and 21 touchdowns. Ethan Kirchberg, Blake Brown and quarterback Connor Lydon have combined for another 1,500. Linebackers Milan Kaplarevic and Jeremiah Kinsey lead the Hornets' defense while converted running back Marquese Garrett has adjusted nicely to quarterback. He's rushed for 888 yards and thrown for 698.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 13 Lake Forest at No. 4 Phillips.

Class 5A

No. 13 Woodstock North (5-4) at No. 4 Montini (8-1)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Woodstock North 26, Harvard 14; Brother Rice 31, Montini 0.

Outlook: Montini beat Woodstock North 49-14 in a 2011 5A first-round game, though early it was close. The Thunder runs the ball 80 percent of the time using a triple-option led by quarterback Ryan Zinnen and hard-hitting fullback Ed Flores, while receiver Carter Coalson goes 6-4, 190. Montini coach Mike Bukovsky has defended the option for decades, even coached against it at Montini before the Broncos went to a spread. The goal is for Montini defensive linemen Demond Butcher, Frank Conforti, Patrick Peters, Cam Richardson and Fred Stokes to shut down the inside and let the Broncos' athleticism take over. That extends to the offense with quarterback Deontay Bell and running back Nick Fedanzo.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 12 Rochelle at No. 5 Sycamore.

No. 14 Glenbard South (5-4) at No. 3 Rockford Boylan (8-1)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

Last week: Glenbard South 30, West Chicago 10; Rockford Boylan 48, Rockford Jefferson 0.

Outlook: Here's where Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey hopes playing larger schools in the Upstate Eight Conference pays off. Boylan was ranked all season in Class 4A before moving up to 5A. On a grass field the visiting Raiders still hope to hit the flanks with running backs Antonio Carter, Kylen Henderson and quarterback Nick Plaso, a ground threat himself. Tavion Keith has caught 48 passes for 638 yards, 6 touchdowns. Boylan runs the ball 85 percent of the time, so Raiders linebackers Tony Ashley, Noah Gibson and Mark Wilson know what to look for. No Titan has run for more than Caleb Henderson's 434 yards, with 11 touchdowns, but five backs have at least 262 yards rushing.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 11 Amundsen at No. 6 St. Francis.

No. 11 Amundsen (5-4) at No. 6 St. Francis (7-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Dunbar 36, Amundsen 0; St. Francis 43, Aurora Central Catholic 13.

Outlook: This is St. Francis' first playoff appearance since 2014, but it's Amundsen's first. An exceedingly young squad with only one senior listed with any statistics -- defensive lineman David Garcia -- the Vikings will attempt to run the ball with quarterback Jonathan Alicea and the Morris boys, Elisha and Isaiah. St. Francis coach Bob McMillen noted Amundsen's penchant to blitz inside, where the Spartans are well-stocked at offensive guard with Ryan Holleman and Joey Mayor protecting quarterbacks Tommy Rittenhouse and Mike Baffa and tailback Jason Klank. Defensively, St. Francis linebackers Marcus Ingold and Michael Bumpus and safety Ben Radel will continue to be a handful.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 14 Glenbard South at No. 3 Rockford Boylan.

Class 4A

No. 16 Raby (5-4) at No. 1 IC Catholic Prep (9-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday at Plunkett Park, Elmhurst.

Last week: Phillips 40, Raby 0; IC Catholic 49, Riverside-Brookfield 0.

Outlook: IC Catholic knew the bump to 4A after repeating as 3A champion might be hard. That was confirmed to Knights coach Bill Krefft watching film of Raby Division I-bound receivers Romel Goston and Marshawn Foster. The Raiders take shots downfield and run Keith Blan in a pro-set behind a sizable line. Raby lost to Morris in a 2017 4A semifinal. ICCP, which has laid running clocks on eight of nine opponents, excels in its zone-read offense, running back Kyle Franklin up to 1,297 yards and 22 touchdowns, quarterback Khalil Saunders adding enough passing yardage to keep defenses honest. Twin brother Khali Saunders, at safety, has the size and athleticism to defend most any receiver.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 9 Stillman Valley at No. 8 Dixon.

No. 15 Wheaton Academy (5-4) at No. 2 Coal City (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Aurora Christian 34, Wheaton Academy 33; Coal City 43, Lisle 14.

Outlook: Wheaton Academy quarterback Ben Thorson threw for 383 yards in a Week 9 34-33 loss to Aurora Christian, Steven Ryan and Noah Jones each surpassing 100 yards receiving. A fast start by Thorson and running back Cristian Carstens could cause Coal City to veer from its smashmouth run game, but it'll be tricky against the Coalers, who allow an average 6.2 points, the best in 4A. Complicating things defensively for the Warriors is the loss of middle linebacker Sam Palmer to injury, though Jay Callentine and Trevor Donna are strong in their own right. Coal City generally doesn't score a ton. It relies on tackles leaders Austin Pallara, Daniel Jezik, Jack Bunton and Brady Crawford flying to the ball.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 10 Johnsburg Conant at No. 7 Agricultural Science.

Class 3A

No. 13 Dwight (6-3) at No. 4 Lisle (8-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Dwight 22, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 7; Coal City 43, Lisle 14.

Outlook: Lisle is 8-1 for the first time since 1992 and seeks its first playoff win since 2003. To do so the Lions will need to track down Dwight running back Logan Graham, who has run for at least 200 yards each of the last three games and comes in with 1,296 yards, 17 touchdown runs. Quarterback Colton Holm passes infrequently but accurately, 39 of 51, mainly to tight end Chris Bement. Lisle has won the battles up front, defensive linemen Kevin Paz, Mike Walker and Charlie Waldusky trailing only linebacker Nick Martich in tackles. Quarterback Jay McGrath and the Lions' offense is hard to pin down. Backs Dylan Laue, A.J. Casmer and Mike Walker and receiver Jakub Kowal all have had big moments.

Advancement: The winner advances to the second round against the winner between No. 12 Mid-County at No. 5 North Boone.

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