Figuring out FVC race a tricky proposition with 5-way tie
The top of the Fox Valley Conference is jammed like Randall Road at rush hour in construction season.
Five teams -- Cary-Grove, Huntley, Jacobs, McHenry and Prairie Ridge -- are tied with 3-1 records after last week's games, which included Huntley's 21-14 win at Cary-Grove and McHenry's 20-10 victory at Jacobs.
Huntley would seem to hold the upper hand based on the remaining schedule. The Red Raiders have already played the other four co-leaders, and their final five opponents own a combined 5-15 record.
Cary-Grove plays McHenry, Jacobs and Prairie Ridge consecutively in Weeks 6-8. Jacobs faces Prairie Ridge on Oct. 4 and Cary-Grove on Oct. 11.
Huntley coach Matt Zimolzak said his team isn't taking anything for granted with Crystal Lake South due to visit Friday. The Gators defeated Huntley 48-7 last season in Crystal Lake.
"They beat us up last year," he said, "and Crystal Lake Central is a very good passing team. We've stopped the triple option twice in two weeks but we haven't seen a true spread team that will test our defensive backs. We have several challenges ahead of us."
Luke joining the force: Cary-Grove quarterback Luke Eleftheriou left Friday's loss to Huntley due to injury but remained on the sideline with his arm in a sling.
Coach Brad Seaburg said Eleftheriou practiced Monday and Tuesday. He categorized his starting quarterback -- who this week received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy -- as questionable for Friday's game at Dundee-Crown.
The old one-two: Like a baseball or softball pitcher, Bartlett's offensive backfield throws teams different options that are hard to hit.
Starting back Tyler Rivelli, averaging nearly 13 yards a carry, brings a combination of speed and shiftiness that through four games has gained 533 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Rivelli's 67-yard touchdown run last week against Elgin is not atypical. He broke one 85 yards against Glenbard East.
"He's got more wiggle in him," Hawks coach Matt Erlenbaugh said of Rivelli, who needs only to plant one cleat to subtly change direction at full speed and lose would-be tacklers.
Rivelli also plays a hybrid of outside linebacker and strong safety in Bartlett's defense. So basically every other offensive series Jordan Snyder spells him. The 165-pound senior challenges defenders to bring him down.
Snyder ran for 82 yards against Elgin with 2 touchdown blasts. On the season he's run for 219 yards, 4 touchdowns. He's got 39 carries to Rivelli's 42.
"Jordan puts his head down and gets the hard yards. We're really pleased," Erlenbaugh said.
"When you average 6 yards a carry with Jordan, we'll take that."
Military appreciation: Friday will be Military Appreciation Night at Bartlett for the Hawks' game against Fenton.
Bartlett coach Matt Erlenbaugh said the U.S. Army provides camouflage jerseys in numbers 1-99, each in four different sizes. The College of DuPage wore them last week in its game against Georgia Military College in Fort Benning, Georgia.
All active or retired servicemen will be able to attend Friday's game free of charge, Erlenbaugh said.
Maturing Royally: Since the preseason Larkin coach Matt Gehrig has preached the basics -- fundamentals, knowledge of assignments, physicality, maturity.
The Royals' results have directly correlated to their development. Starting with a shutout loss at Fenton they got closer at Streamwood, lost by 1 point to East Aurora and recorded their first victory last week, 30-12 over West Chicago.
Granted, Larkin's schedule over the rest of the season is no picnic starting Friday at Glenbard South. But after struggling to highlight any individual after Larkin's season opener, this week Gehrig noted several Royals.
He's been high on senior Marc Narvaez all season. Last week the quarterback-safety recorded a key interception and scored on a 57-yard run.
Coming in at quarterback, sophomore Dontrell Maxie threw a pair of touchdown passes.
"He is maturing more every week," Gehrig said.
Players understanding their jobs on both sides of the ball to develop depth has been a focus. Gehrig enjoyed the work of Trevor Matison, Christian Medina, Treyvon Smith and receiver-cornerbacks Steven Skeate and Jamarion Stubbs, busy against a West Chicago team whose best offense comes via the pass.
"We rotated more guys in and out of various positions than any other game I'd seen," Gehrig said. "So in that respect it was a true victory."