Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley, Naperville North and Naperville Central headed out of state
Virtually the entire DuPage Valley Conference will be road warriors for Week 3.
Waubonsie Valley will travel to Cleveland to play Shaker Heights at 6 p.m. Friday, and Neuqua Valley is off to St. Louis to play Missouri state power St. Mary's at 6 p.m. Friday. Naperville North and Naperville Central both will be traveling to Michigan, the former to face Woodhaven in Brownstown at 6 p.m. Friday, and the latter to go up against Detroit Catholic Central in Novi, Mich., at 6 p.m. Even DeKalb will hit the road, at downstate Belleville West.
Metea Valley was supposed to travel to Belleville East, but due to a variety of issues on East's end, the game will now be played at 6 p.m. Friday at home.
The reason for all the travel is the fact that there are only six schools in the DVC. Each school will play three nonconference games, including the long road trips; their five conference games; and then a final conference game in Week 9 based on where each team finishes in the league standings. First place will play second place, third will play fourth and so on.
"It's just happenstance, based on everybody having Week 3 open," Waubonsie Valley coach Tom Baumgartner said. "It was just everybody scrambling to find out who they can play."
The Warriors (0-2) will leave Friday morning before school, travel to Trine University in Angola, Ind., where they will get lunch and do a walk through, then travel onto Shaker Heights.
How do you prepare for a team that's so far away?
"We've exchanged film with them, we've been talking through Twitter messenger," Baumgartner said. "We have to judge what we see on film and who they are playing."
His players are looking forward to the trip.
"Definitely looking at it as an adventure," senior center Luke Buntin said. "To me, it's like any other conference game. We watch their film and prepare for those guys."
Added senior defensive end Will Puls: "I'm looking forward to it. Obviously, we don't know much, but we have their film. We're going to get our reps throughout the week."
No field trip for Neuqua Valley
Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus said a lot of work went into scheduling St. Mary's, which he said is "a small school, but a powerhouse."
"We put it out there early that we had Week 3 open," he said. "We looked all over, Indiana, Michigan. I called a bunch of schools, our athletic director called a bunch of schools and this is where we landed."
The Dragons feature one of the top recruits in the country in wide receiver Kevin Coleman. But the Wildcats (2-0) have a few weapons of their own, starting with their backfield where senior backs Jaden McGee and Kieran Tharbs are a "thunder and lightning" combination, Ellinghaus said.
Like Puls and Buntin over at Waubonsie Valley, McGee and Tharbs are on board for their trip.
"Honestly, I'm excited to go to St. Louis," McGee said. I'm interested in taking the trip down. I think it'll be fun."
Tharbs said that while the Wildcats are excited to hit the road, "we know it's not a field trip. It's a serious game.
"I think coach does a great job in preparing us for every game," he added. "He tells us they are fast and play hard, but so do we."
Metea Valley happy to be home
Metea Valley coach John Parpet was all set to go to downstate, but then things changed, mostly due to Belleville East's reticence about hosting a game. Parpet said, "we countered, 'Hey, you should come to us." And so the Lancers are doing just that.
The move could be advantageous, said senior linebacker/tight end Vince Wronski.
"I'm happy that we get to stay home and play at our home stadium withy our fans there," he said. "The advantage being home would be we don't have to come off a five-hour bus ride and then play a football game."
Ranking doesn't matter for IC Catholic Prep
IC Catholic Prep has gotten off to a solid start. At 2-0, the Knights are ranked No. 3 in Class 2A. But as far as coach Bill Krefft is concerned, "the rankings are for everyone else."
"We're taking it day by day, like we always do," Krefft said. "We have to win practices. We're going to polish up the things that aren't smooth and strengthen some things that need to get better."
From guard and inside linebacker Jessie Smith to respective senior and junior running backs Jaden Mims and Malik Gray, Krefft has plenty of talent to draw on to do just that.
"No focus on rankings at all," Mims said. "We're just focusing on the next game. The rankings mean nothing to us."
"What's behind us is behind us," added Gray.