Scouting: Fox Valley's Week 8 football games

 
Updated 10/17/2019 10:43 PM

By Jerry Fitzpatrick and Dave Oberhelman

jfitzpatrick@dailyherald.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Larkin (1-6, 1-6)

at Elgin (3-4, 3-4)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Larkin 52, Elgin 14.

Last week: Bartlett 39, Larkin 10; Elgin 48, Fenton 7.

Outlook: Larkin leads the battle for the Town Jug 35-21, winning each of the last two seasons and six of the last 10 meetings. Last season the Royals exploded for 32 points in the fourth quarter to turn a close contest into a blowout. "That's been fueling us since last November," Elgin coach Anthony Mason said. Of late, it's been Elgin that's racked up points, averaging 43 in its last three games including a 23-22 double-overtime win over Streamwood that bolstered the Maroons' confidence. One of those three opponents was West Chicago, which Larkin also blistered for 30 points, the Royals' top output this season. Coach Matt Gehrig, in his second stint as Larkin's head coach, has been pleased with how his team has played more physically even while taking three straight losses and playing up to nine players both ways. Quarterback Dontrell Maxie -- who has thrown for 510 yards and is the Royals' top rusher with 173, just ahead of running back Marc Narvaez's 153 yards rushing -- is one of Larkin's few one-way players. The Royals get much mileage out of Narvaez, players like linemen Adam Maloy and Michael Hibbler, defensive end Zach Miller and particularly the receiver-defensive back duo of Jamarion Stubbs and Steven Skeate. While physical play will be important and Miller will want to rush Elgin quarterbacks Gio Griffin and Jeffery Lomax, technique and overall wherewithal may be even more important against Elgin's big-play capacity. The two quarterbacks have thrown more times than the team has run the ball (190-163) and why not, Maroons receivers average 16.6 yards a catch with 16 touchdowns. Xavier Bonds is a threat anywhere on the field with 35 catches for 706 yards, 5 touchdowns; Darien Jackson has caught 24 passes for 531 yards, 4 scores. Alex West gets those key first downs with a team-high 39 receptions for 415 yards, 6 touchdowns. Though Griffin and Lomax lead Elgin in rushing that promises not to last as running back Brandon Bridges went for 101 yards against Fenton, his first game back from injury since Week 2. Continuing the drive for its first playoff appearance since 2010 -- under Dave Bierman, who Gehrig played for at Burlington Central -- Elgin seeks the simple things, like execution, while keeping its emotions in check playing for town pride, bragging rights and the Town Jug. "It's a special game," Gehrig said, and Mason agreed: "It's a rivalry that's been here way before us and will be here way after us."

Next week: Larkin at Glenbard East; East Aurora at Elgin.

South Elgin (7-0, 7-0)

at Bartlett (6-1, 6-1)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Bartlett 30, South Elgin 25.

Last week: South Elgin 63, Glenbard South 0; Bartlett 39, Larkin 10.

Outlook: Turnovers, penalties, a Hail Mary. South Elgin remembers it all from last season's game for the Rivalry Bell. But hey, Bartlett made it happen, including the winning touchdown pass with 52 seconds left to play to beat South Elgin for the first time since 2012 and draw within 6-5 in the series. "It's definitely on the revenge tour," South Elgin coach Dragan Teonic said of this week's game. The Storm has played all season as if it's had a chip on its shoulder, its 378 points the third-most of any 11-man team in the state while nobody's allowed less than the defense's 7 points. Led by Corve King's 446 yards rushing and Davion Cherwin with 386, out of the triple-option five players have run for at least 255 yards and 11 players -- even starting linebackers Vince Clinite and Sam Robles -- have rushing touchdowns. Obviously not pressed to pass, quarterback Ben Karpowicz has completed 63 percent of his passes for 633 yards, 8 touchdowns to no interceptions while not getting sacked once. Defensively, ends Dylan Bernal and Justin Giannini are a load and last week the secondary of Cherwin, Shiking Marshall, Marquis Gillespie, Alex Noworol and Tony Roberts graded out the highest in Teonic's two years in South Elgin. But Bartlett, which took its sole loss at Glenbard East, 24-21 in Week 2, is no slouch scoring, either. The Hawks average 42.4 points, directed by junior quarterback Mike Priami, who broke the 1,000-yard passing mark last week with 111 yards and his ninth touchdown pass of the season against Larkin. Bartlett offers a solid receiving corps of Hayden Angell, Matt Young, Nick Bucaro and Nick Kantzavelos, and tight end-linebacker Alec Palella can break short passes for big yardage. But the Hawks' top threat remains running back Tyler Rivelli, shifty and strong, who's run for 953 yards and 10 touchdowns. When he needs a blow in comes Jordan Snyder, and the Hawks also will run jet sweep. Like South Elgin, Bartlett's defense is strong at all three levels, from Dan Angelone and Joey Latrofa on the line to megamotor linebacker Brenden Gran and Abel Serrato to the secondary including Bucaro, Young and Liam Gallagher. But here are some other names to remember: Bartlett's Ali Aburmishan, Charlie Nicoll, Michael Kmiecik and Thomas "Bubba" Hubbard; South Elgin's Sam Minnifield, Jacob Cooper, Michael Roath, Vince Tringali, tight end Andy Koch. In a game where both coaches stressed that the winner will be the more physical team, these offensive linemen may decided the outcome. "It's looking like it's going to be a fight," said Bartlett coach Matt Erlenbaugh.

Next week: Fenton at South Elgin; Streamwood at Bartlett.

Batavia (5-2, 4-1)

at St. Charles North (4-3, 3-2)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Batavia St. Charles North

Last week: St. Charles East 30, Batavia 29; Glenbard North 33, St. Charles North 14

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Outlook: This is a big one in the grand scheme of DuKane Conference football. Defending champion Batavia, which last week suffered its first DuKane loss after 11 straight league victories, enters in a three-way tie for first place with Glenbard North and St. Charles East. The Bulldogs roared back from a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to take a 6-point lead on St. Charles East with 2:37 to play, but they yielded a 64-yard touchdown pass with 1:44 left and fumbled the ensuing kickoff in an eventual 30-29 loss. Batavia rushed for 183 yards last week, 112 of which came on 20 carries by senior Quinn Urwiler, who left the game due to injury during the final offensive series. Coach Dennis Piron said Urwiler was at practice Wednesday and Thursday and is considered day to day. "He will play, but I'm just not sure if it will be this Friday, next Friday or in the playoffs," Piron said. Batavia did not have much luck in the passing game. Junior quarterback Kyle Oroni was limited to 85 yards on 6-of-15 passing. He threw one touchdown and one interception. Junior wide receiver Trey Urwiler entered last week's action with 29 catches for 530 yards and 5 touchdowns but was limited to 3 receptions for 14 yards. There was a silver lining. Piron said the offensive line started to jell last week and has since had the best week of practice the unit has experienced all season. St. Charles North, the Class 7A state runner-up a year ago, needs a win in its final home game to become playoff eligible. A loss would put the North Stars in a win-or-go-home scenario next week at Wheaton Warrenville South (5-2). Running back Nick DeMarco scored out of the wildcat formation on the fifth offensive play last week, but the North Stars were unable to maintain that efficiency. Overall, DeMarco has rushed for 582 yards and 12 touchdowns on 145 carries (4-yard avg.). The offense has rushed for 888 yards and thrown for 1,075. Senior quarterback Kyler Brown has completed 55 percent of his passes (72 of 131) for 1,072 yards and 6 touchdowns. Junior linebacker Zach McClure leads the defense with 53 total tackles.

Next week: Wheaton North at Batavia; St. Charles North at Wheaton Warrenville South

Prairie Ridge (6-1, 6-1)

at Cary-Grove (6-1, 6-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last year: Cary-Grove 21, Prairie Ridge 14

Last week: Cary-Grove 16, Jacobs 6; Prairie Ridge 56, Burlington Central 16

Outlook: Nothing is guaranteed but the winner of this rivalry game between ranked Class 6A teams gains the inside track to a possible share of the Fox Valley Conference title. Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge enter Week 8 in a three-way tie with Huntley for first place. The Trojans aren't thinking about that. "Obviously, they're aware of the stakes but I think our kids are really just trying to stay focused on getting better and doing whatever it takes this week to win the game and not focusing on other things like the rivalry or playoffs or anything," Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg said. "It's just doing our jobs this week." The Trojan defense is still not 100 percent healthy, but that side of the ball got a big lift last week from the return of senior middle linebacker Jake Johnson, who had missed two games due to injury. "He made a big difference in that defense," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said of Johnson in the wake of Cary-Grove's 16-6 win over his Golden Eagles. "He has a real good nose for the football." The Trojans get another shot in the arm this week with the return of junior linebacker John Gagliano, who sat out last week with an ankle injury. He was the team's second-leading tackler before he was hurt early in the McHenry game. No. 4 Cary-Grove is tasked with slowing the prolific triple option offense of No. 6 Prairie Ridge. The Wolves have a big offensive line led by senior Riley Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds). Seaburg called Smith "about as good a lineman as they've ever had" due to his size and athleticism. That line clears a path for junior Carter Evans, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound fullback whose 10 touchdowns have helped PR average 48.4 points per game. The Trojans score 31.9 ppg and limit opponents to a league-best 5.6 ppg. Prairie Ridge senior free safety Kyle Koelblinger and senior middle linebacker Matt Loucks lead a defense that holds opponents to 8.9 ppg.

Next week: Cary-Grove at Burlington Central; Crystal Lake South at Prairie Ridge

Jacobs (3-4, 3-4)

at Crystal Lake South (4-3, 4-3)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Last year: Crystal Lake South 28, Jacobs 7

Last week: Cary-Grove 16, Jacobs 6; Crystal Lake South 14, McHenry 7

Outlook: Jacobs is in a must-win situation. If the Golden Eagles are to avoid playoff elimination for a second straight season, they must win at CL South and win next week at home against Crystal Lake Central (4-3). Jacobs lost to the same two opponents in Weeks 8 and 9 last year. "These two teams knocked us out of the playoffs last year so there is motivation there," Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. "But we're in a situation where we've got to win this one before we even think about the next one." Technically, this isn't a must win for Crystal Lake South. But it's pretty close. A loss would leave the Gators in the unenviable position of needing to win at league-leading Prairie Ridge (6-1) in Week 9 to qualify for the playoffs for a second straight season. They played with a sense of urgency in last week's 14-7 win at McHenry. "We have to look one game at a time no matter what, but starting last week we had to have the mindset of being focused like it was a playoff week," third-year CL South coach Rob Fontana said. The X-factor in this game is the health of CL South senior receiver/quarterback Ian Gorken, who suffered an ankle injury in a Week 5 loss at Huntley. Gorken did enter last week's game in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Justin Kowalek got mud in his contacts and had to come out for a spell, but Gorken was not his usual dynamic self. When healthy, he made 27 catches for 340 yards and 4 touchdowns and rushed 33 times for 219 yards and 2 scores. Will he play? "Great question," Fontana said. "If it was up to Ian, he would have taken every snap last week. He's a warrior and the kid's going to give everything he's got for his teammates. We got to see it firsthand last Friday. We're keeping our fingers crossed he can go Friday night." CL South senior Des McCarthy has rushed for over 700 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jacobs junior Max Stec, the team's leading receiver and one of its best athletes, has been pressed into two-way duty. He now starts at safety in place of senior Travis Tanner, who is out for the season.

Next week: Crystal Lake Central at Jacobs; Crystal Lake South at Prairie Ridge

Streamwood (2-5, 2-5) at West Chicago (0-7, 0-7)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Streamwood outgained Glenbard East on the ground, earned 18 first downs to Glenbard East's 14, committed only 3 penalties and converted 5 of 7 first downs, yet lost its fourth straight game. The Sabres are a better team than that streak indicates, and they figure to bounce back here. Pressure by Streamwood defensive linemen Nick Larak, Terrance Ray and Luis Torres could disrupt the timing between Wildcats quarterback Luke Krogh and 6-foot-4 wideout Mark Pinkevich, which would help out Sabres defensive backs like Jakobe Strong and Darrell Luce.

West Aurora (2-5, 0-3) at Minooka (7-0, 3-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Another week, another quality opponent for West Aurora. Accurate quarterback Seth Lehr and safety Zach Grayson are among the leaders for Minooka, whose defense has allowed more than 10 points only once, to a Plainfield East team that beat West Aurora 27-25 in Week 2. Last week the Blackhawks turned over Plainfield North 4 times with Jylen Spivey and Christian Nieves interceptions. But they gave it back 5 times in the first half, which has been a season-long struggle. A positive constant has been quarterback Will Tammaru passing to Logan Mont. Mont has 36 receptions for 800 yards, 8 touchdowns, and added a 90-yard kickoff return last week for a ninth score. With that connection clicking the Blackhawks might start there and then work in Trevon Tittle, Derrick Merrell, Bohdi Thomas and Isaac Medina. "I have faith," said coach Nate Eimer.

Bishop McNamara (4-3, 3-2) at Aurora Central Catholic (1-6, 0-4)

Game time: 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Aurora Central Catholic finds itself in spoiler mode. Eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago, the Chargers aim to upset the Fightin' Irish, who finished second in Class 4A last season. Bishop McNamara must run the table to clinch a playoff spot.

Guerin Prep (2-5, 1-4) at Aurora Christian (3-4, 1-4)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: The Eagles have their backs to the playoff wall following four straight losses in which they were outscored 154-67. Aurora Christian must take care of business against Guerin and find a way to win next week at Wheaton Academy to qualify for playoff consideration.

Burlington Central (3-4, 3-4) at Huntley (6-1, 6-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Huntley enters this game in a three-way tie for the Fox Valley Conference lead with Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge. Burlington Central -- led by two-way lineman Matt Muetterties, receiver/quarterback/linebacker Jake Lenschow and running back/linebacker Gavin Sarvis -- has won more FVC games than many expected in its first season in the league. A loss to the Red Raiders would eliminate the Rockets from the playoffs.

Dundee-Crown (0-7, 0-7) at Hampshire (0-7, 0-7)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: One of these Fox Valley Conference teams will experience the thrill of victory for the first time this season. The other will feel the agony of defeat once more. Hampshire attempts to end a 24-game losing streak and earn its first victory under second-year coach Jake Brosman. Dundee-Crown has lost eight in a row. The Chargers' last win was a 21-13 triumph over Hampshire in Week 8 of the 2018 season.

Lake Park (2-5, 1-4) at Geneva (0-7, 0-5)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: A victory would bring much-needed relief for either proud program, each of which has struggled against a tough DuKane Conference schedule. Geneva has played one of the best schedules of any DuKane team. The Vikings played nonconference games against undefeated Notre Dame and Kaneland (6-1). Their 42 playoff points are 4 more than any team in the conference. Geneva edged Lake Park 27-23 last season.

Wheaton North (3-4, 1-4) at St. Charles East (6-1, 4-1)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Following back-to-back wins over St. Charles North and Batavia, St. Charles East aims to maintain its share of a three-way tie for the DuKane Conference lead with Batavia and Glenbard North. The Saints' last conference title came in 2016, when they won the Upstate Eight River and advanced to a Class 8A quarterfinal. Wheaton North snapped a 4-game losing streak last week with a 21-0 home win against Geneva. The Falcons tend to play low-scoring games. They score 15.4 points per game and hold opponents to 14.1 ppg.

Kaneland (6-1, 4-1) at Morris (5-2, 4-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: The Knights face their toughest test since a Week 3 loss to Sycamore. Kaneland has scored an Interstate Eight Conference-best 298 points, 53 more than Morris, which has outscored its opponents 245-134. The Knights have limited opponents to 84 points. Senior linebacker Dylan Calabrese leads the defense with a team-high 50 tackles and 4 tackles for loss.

Marmion (6-2) at St. Joseph (1-7)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Marmion wins this game by forfeit, it was announced Thursday. St. Joseph also forfeited to Montini last week due to injury and illness. The victory guarantees Marmion a playoff spot.

St. Edward (4-3, 4-0) at Westmont (2-5, 1-3)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Defending league champion St. Edward is on the verge of a repeat. The Green Wave can clinch no worse than a share of the Metro Suburban Red with a victory over the Sentinels, who have been outscored 211-126. St. Edward running back Joe Sacco has rushed for 462 yards and 8 touchdowns in 73 attempts (6.3 avg.).

Westminster Christian (1-5) at Danville Schlarman (4-3)

Game time: 5 p.m. Saturday.

The quick hit: The Warriors hope to end a 3-game slide in their final road test of the season. Westminster Christian has been outscored 141-9 in those 3 losses.

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