Rolling Meadows' Schilller, Elgin's Bonds Week 9 MVPs
Carson Schiller of Rolling Meadows and Xavier Bonds of Elgin are the Daily Herald football MVPs for Week 9.
Carson Schiller, Rolling Meadows: Schiller came up big when the Mustangs needed him. The senior, who was 22-of-34 for 313 yards, threw a 27-yard touchdown pass as Rolling Meadows rallied for a 34-31 victory over Hersey. Schiller, who only threw 5 passes last season as a junior, directed the Mustangs to their second consecutive MSL East title and undefeated regular season.
Kyle Franklin, IC Catholic Prep: The 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior running back gained 291 yards on 23 carries in IC Catholic's 28-13 Metro Suburban Blue win at Riverside-Brookfield. Compiling the fifth-highest rushing total in Knights coach Bill Krefft's eight seasons, Franklin scampered for touchdown runs of 87 and 57 yards.
Art Taylor, Batavia: This 5-foot-8, 145-pound running back delivered yet another productive performance in a 28-3 victory over Wheaton North. The senior rushed 29 times for 2 touchdowns and 197 yards, the second-highest, single-game output of his three-year, 35-game varsity career. Taylor also scored on an 11-yard reception to help the defending champion Bulldogs clinch a share of the DuKane Conference title.
Syone Usma-Harper, Carmel Catholic: After the junior running back injured his knee in a Week-3 win, the Corsairs lost their next five games. He returned for the season finale against host St. Viator and showed again how important he is to his team. The returning all-conference athlete opened the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run and finished with 165 yards on 21 carries, as the Corsairs upset the Lions 34-33 in overtime.
Xavier Bonds, Elgin: This all-around senior standout contributed a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 5-yard scoring run and 3 receptions for 106 yards and 2 more touchdowns, but it was his defensive work that sealed Elgin's first playoff berth since 2010. The 5-foot-10, 167-pound free safety not only made 5 tackles (1 for loss), notched a sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble, he also snagged 2 interceptions. Bonds grabbed his second pick at the Elgin 26-yard line with 2:49 remaining to thwart East Aurora's bid to take the lead, and the Maroons went on to win 32-26 to become playoff eligible.
Trey Castella, Fremd: The junior linebacker had two of the Vikings' four interceptions as Fremd blanked Hoffman Estates 28-0. Castella, who is a two-year starter, also had six tackles for Fremd, which limited Hoffman to 84 rushing yards.
David Hritz, Glenbard East: This 5-foot-11, 160-pound cornerback has a specialty -- he blocks kicks. Hritz's blocked field goal in the Rams' 35-10 Upstate Eight Conference win over Larkin was his third block of the season. Hritz had a special game overall with 8 tackles, a sack and an interception with a 20-yard return.
Cole Fiorenza, Libertyville: A baseball outfielder when he's not playing football, the senior cornerback showed off his catching skills on defense in the Wildcats' 43-22 win over visiting Zion-Benton. He returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in helping the hosts build a 43-0 lead by halftime. The victory was Libertyville's third in a row and fifth overall, earning the team a berth in the Class 7A state playoffs.