It's 'District Week' in DuPage County
Welcome to District Week!
I know ... I know. It's an exciting time for everyone, yet it begs a question.
What does it mean?
We'll explain below as Eyes on Five jumps into an interesting Week 3 of football in DuPage County.
1. Why we're here:
While most teams begin conference play this week, the DuPage Valley Conference scatters in the wind trying to fill its meager schedules.
Naperville Central and Naperville North are Ohio-bound. Waubonsie Valley heads to Kentucky and Metea Valley to downstate Belleville. Neuqua Valley is the "lucky one" with powerhouse East St. Louis coming to town, and DeKalb is home against Edwardsville.
This week specifically is the reason the DVC banded together to push the district proposal that passed a state membership vote last year. Going into effect in 2021, districts will replace conferences for football only and eliminate the scheduling headaches.
The IHSA will be in charge of scheduling, grouping teams into districts based on enrollment and geography. No more out-of-state road trips for the DVC.
Fewer headaches for them, more headaches for so many others.
2. Willing partner:
In a way, thank goodness for East St. Louis.
The dominant Flyers were kind enough to visit (and beat) Batavia in Week 1. They're coming to Neuqua Valley on Friday and they'll visit again Week 9 to play Naperville Central.
Not only are they serving a desperate need by filling local schedules, they'll be a pretty good measuring stick as some of the best teams in the western suburbs try to hang with one of the most talented teams in the nation.
More than a half dozen Division I-caliber players pepper the Flyers' lineup. It was a handful for Batavia, and it'll be a handful for two of the DVC's finest.
3. Bubble boys:
As the DVC spans the Midwest trying to find a game, the Upstate Eight Conference happily skips along in its own little bubble.
Because it's a 10-team league, the UEC has no nonconference games. It's a straight nine-game, round-robin conference season.
Pretty sweet, right? Well ... we'll see.
A 10-team conference is a scheduling convenience, to be sure, but it's also a little scary. How do you know if you're good if you're only playing each other?
Last year the UEC went 2-5 in the playoffs with one of those wins coming from West Aurora, which is now in the Southwest Prairie Conference. There may be some gaudy records coming from the UEC, but we'll see how the bubble boys do in the postseason.
4. Silver and Gold:
Before we fully move on to Week 3, let's take a look at one of my favorite things about Week 2.
How did the Gold fare against the Silver in the West Suburban Conference crossovers? Not bad considering the way the Silver traditionally dominates.
The Gold went 3-4 against the Silver including the expected victory by Hinsdale South over Proviso West. The Silver's Downers Grove North, Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central and Lyons Twp. won by a combined average margin of 34 points.
The two most intriguing games, however, went the Gold's way.
Downers Grove South edged York 20-14 to give a major boost to the Mustangs' playoff hopes. Willowbrook handled Oak Park 21-6 in a nice bounce-back from an opening loss to Providence.
Don't know if it's a sign the Gold is catching up to the Silver overall, but it's much better than the 1-6 mark from Week 2 two years ago.
5. Stat time:
Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley will travel about 2,900 combined miles this weekend getting to and from their respective games. East St. Louis and Edwardsville add another 1,100 round-trip miles to Neuqua Valley and DeKalb.
Happy District Week!