Scouting this weekend's DuPage County football games
By Dave Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
No. 5 Willowbrook (11-0) at No. 4 Batavia (11-0)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Willowbrook 36, No. 12 Maine West 26; Batavia 59, No. 13 Moline 32.
Outlook: Willowbrook faces its toughest challenge of the season in its third straight quarterfinal appearance, trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1975 and break the program record for wins. The offense must dent Batavia's devastating linebackers headed by Northwestern-bound Michael Jansey, who has 62 tackles. Warriors quarterback Sam Tumilty has been brilliant, throwing for 2,125 yards and rushing for 1,241. With Scott Tumilty, Deandre Holliday and running back D'onte Gholston, Willowbrook has plenty to keep Batavia's defense busy. Batavia's vast number of formations will be a handful with quarterback Jack Meyers running the show. Artavion Taylor has 1,078 rushing yards. Quinton Urwiler adds another 700.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 7A semifinals against the winner between No. 8 Nazareth at No. 1 Simeon.
No. 22 St. Charles North (8-3) at No. 14 Wheaton Warrenville South (10-1)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: St. Charles North 24, No. 6 Rolling Meadows 17; WW South 20, No. 3 Hononegah 14.
Outlook: This is a rematch from three weeks ago when WW South beat the North Stars 13-11 in the regular-season finale. What's interesting about this meeting is the number of players who weren't part of the first game. Tigers linebacker Jake Stransky, who had a key sack last week, and receiver Tiwan Smith are both back. For St. Charles North, leading rusher Sam DeMarco might return from injury. The Tigers' defense, headed by lineman Jack Kelly and defensive back and Joe Ives, will focus on Minnesota-bound receiver Tyler Nubin, a matchup Cedric Rowzee will draw. Fellow defensive back Zach Powell also hopes to return. Last week Tigers quarterback Noah Henkel had one of his best games, throwing for 194 yards and a touchdown.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 7A semifinals against the winner between No. 15 East St. Louis at No. 7 Mt. Carmel.
No. 4 Montini (10-1) at No. 16 Evergreen Park (7-4)
Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Montini 21, No. 5 Sycamore 17; Evergreen Park 52, No. 8 Elmwood Park 14.
Outlook: A team that won twice by forfeit, lost to two 4-5 teams and entered the playoffs averaging 9 points fewer than it allowed may not strike fear. But given that Evergreen Park has scored 115 points in two playoff games Montini will not look past the Mustangs. Montini coach Mike Bukovsky said Evergreen Park has "reinvented" itself using freshmen in quarterback Devin Turner and running back James Williams among several explosive players in a spread offense. Montini will counter with the group whose strong second half eliminated familiar postseason foe Sycamore -- including 1,046-yard rusher Nick Fedanzo, dangerous return man Zach Olson and a fast, physical defense centered by linebackers Jackson Bruscianelli and Trevor Swier.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 5A semifinals against the winner between No. 3 Rockford Boylan at No. 2 Sterling.
No. 5 Marengo (9-2) at No. 1 IC Catholic Prep (11-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Marengo 41, No. 4 Bronzeville 6; IC Catholic 31, No. 9 Stillman Valley 0.
Outlook: After blanking a team that did not throw a pass, IC Catholic sees a balanced foe on a seven-win roll. Helming an up-tempo offense, Marengo quarterback Travis Knaack has thrown for 1,270 yards, run for 707 and accounted for 26 touchdowns. Cole Davis is a 50-catch receiver while Finn Schirmer has 1,670 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns. Linebacker Blake Heinberg's 5 caused fumbles aid 24 turnovers gained by Marengo. Its zone read puts a premium on ICCP linebackers Khali Saunders, Dom Krepulec and Kevin Cooke -- 21 tackles last week -- making proper reads. Marengo's defensive goal is to limit the Knights' ground game, but to date no one has stopped sophomore Kyle Franklin, up to 1,623 yards, 26 touchdowns.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 3A semifinals against the winner between No. 3 Richmond-Burton at No. 2 Coal City.
No. 4 Lisle (10-1) at No. 1 Byron (11-0)
Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday.
Last week: Lisle 37, No. 5 North Boone 25; Byron 28, No. 9 Princeton 0.
Outlook: Lisle seeks a semifinal berth for the first time since 1985, visiting a team motivated by last season's 7-0 semifinal loss to IC Catholic. Lions quarterback Jay McGrath has Byron's full attention, accounting for 1,946 yards with 6 field goals. Mike Walker comes off his top rushing game, 135 yards and 2 touchdowns; skill players Dylan Laue, Nick Martich, Demetrius Kellie and Jakub Kowal can stretch a defense. Lisle's goal is ball possession because with 4,280 yards rushing, Byron will be running downhill. Drake Snodgrass and Isaac Stickler each are over 1,111 yards rushing with Ricky Messling at 861. When teams suck up against the run, quarterback Ben Carlson has thrown for 10 touchdowns, 30 yards a catch.
Advancement: The winner advances to the Class 3A semifinals against the winner between No. 6 Monmouth-Roseville at No. 15 Herscher.
-- Dave Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
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