Looking for a competitive football game? They are hard to find
Scoreboard watching takes on added meaning for high school football teams throughout the Fox Valley at this time of the year.
Taking a closer look at final scores throughout the area, I have noticed a rather alarming number of blowouts this season.
It began in Week 1 with scores that included Huntley 56, McHenry 0; Cary-Grove 34, Crystal Lake South 0; Bartlett 43, East Aurora 8; and South Elgin 65, West Chicago 0.
Last weekend, the four top area conferences -- DuKane, Fox Valley, Interstate Eight, and Upstate Eight -- produced just 2 games that were decided by fewer than 10 points -- Glenbard South 12, Larkin 6; and Burlington Central 31, Jacobs 30.
Do the math -- that means 16 of the 18 conference games were decided by double digits, including a 50-point margin of victory -- Morris 62, Ottawa 12; and a 45-point win -- Elgin 57, West Chicago 12.
Through three weeks of Interstate Eight play, all 12 games have been decided by double digits -- 10 of them by 20-plus points.
Kaneland (4-1) owns back-to-back 42-14 victories over Sandwich and Rochelle after a conference-opening, 35-14 loss to Sycamore.
With 10 teams in the Upstate Eight (I know that sounds crazy), all 9 regular-season games are conference matchups.
So far, 17 of the 25 games have been decided by 10 or more points. In addition, 10 of those 17 contests included 30-point or larger margins of victory.
First-place South Elgin outscored its first 4 opponents by an astonishing 232-0 margin before last weekend's "nail-biting" 35-7 victory over Glenbard East.
A total of 16 of the first 25 Fox Valley Conference games have been decided by 13 points or more, including scores of 59-0, 56-0, 49-0, 48-3, and a pair of 40-0 decisions.
In the rugged DuKane, the competition has been a little tighter but not without its share of lopsided outcomes.
During the first 3 weeks of conference action, 7 of the 12 games (58 percent) have been decided by 14 points or more -- 6 of them by at least 19 points.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching teams give reserves well-deserved playing time when the outcomes have all but been decided.
I also realize that teams can only play the schedules at hand.
Maybe it's a personal thing but here's hoping for some more down-to-the wire finishes in October.
Friday night lightning: Mother Nature turned out to be the big winner during Week 5 of the high school football schedule last weekend.
While some teams decided to call their games well in advance of Friday night's heavy thunderstorms and torrential rain, all of area athletic directors deserve some kudos for doing their due diligence last weekend.
Some games were moved up a few hours in an attempt to get them in but for the most part none of the contests were able to be finalized last Friday night.
At Geneva, St. Charles East grabbed a 14-0 halftime lead, not allowing a single first down by the Vikings' offense, before play resumed early Saturday afternoon.
The Saints returned to hand the Vikings a 35-7 setback -- their fifth straight loss to start the season.
At Lake Park, meanwhile, the regularly scheduled Friday night game between St. Charles North and the host Lancers was called off more than 24 hours in advance -- thanks to an ominous weather forecast.
"We made the call early Thursday so for us it was another day to prepare and rest," said North Stars coach Rob Pomazak. "We got the kids in, we did a walk-through and had dinner together. We just said, 'let's come in ready to go (Saturday).'"
St. Charles North answered the call, beating Lake Park, 33-14.
"We spent a lot of time on mental preparation," said Pomazak. "For us, our skill set had to match our mindset today and I think it did. It really was no different. We can play Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- it doesn't matter."
Junior running back Nick DeMarco, who scored 3 touchdowns and gained 97 yards on 16 carries, welcomed the early postponement of Friday's scheduled kickoff.
"I think it was a great decision," said DeMarco. "I think it helped us. We would have been on and off the field (if we had played Friday)."
Time flies: Turning the calendar page to October, the high school football season moved past the so-called midway point of the regular season last week.
With four weeks remaining, only South Elgin (5-0) remains as the Fox Valley's lone unbeaten team. However, 10 additional squads carry winning records into this weekend's schedule.
From here, things figure to get interesting.
"I've been to the desert without any water but it's not even close to that extreme. They're fighting hard. We're seeing so much growth on the films." -- Geneva football coach Rob Wicinski, whose team is now 0-5 following last weekend's loss to St. Charles East.