Scouting Week 6 DuPage County football games
York (5-0, 3-0) at Glenbard West (5-0, 3-0)When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Glenbard West 21, York 0
Outlook: The Dukes find themselves in a strange but familiar place at this time of the season. First off, the Dukes have won five straight games for their best start since 2010. But the Dukes' quest to build a consistent winner each season -- since Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet entered the picture, at least -- has run into a green-and-black wall. The Hilltoppers, ranked No. 3 in Class 8A, are among the premier programs in the state, and considered the class of the West Suburban Silver. The Hilltoppers have dominated the annual series, winning the last 13 meetings dating back to 2008. The Dukes haven't beaten Glenbard West since pulling out a 27-20 triumph in 2007. Besides a 21-0 loss last season, the Dukes haven't been able to stop the Hilltoppers, allowing at least 35 points in every game in the series losing streak.
But the 2021 fall version of the Dukes are a different team, full of talent, confidence and possessing a deep roster. The bad news is the Dukes have to play at Duchon Field, which has not been kind to visiting teams in the Hetlet era. A big key in the Dukes' upset bid is a strong start on defense. The Hilltoppers, behind a big-play running game, can chew up yards in chunks and wear out defenses. The Dukes have to avoid turnovers, win the special teams game and not allow big plays. Glenbard West's success in kicking game is an overlooked factor that could come into play.
"Glenbard West has been the class of the conference for years and years," York coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "That's why we're working our tails off to compete with them. We're looking forward to the challenge, for sure."
Wheaton North (4-1, 2-1) at Glenbard North (4-1, 2-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Wheaton North 37, Glenbard North 0
Outlook: The Panthers get another chance to prove how much they've improved since the spring season. After dropping a 21-20 decision at Batavia last week, the Panthers have to regroup for another emotional game, hosting the DuKane Conference league leader Wheaton North. In the spring, the Falcons crushed the Panthers, but a strong defense and a solid running and passing game has led to a breakout season for Glenbard North.
One positive working in the Panthers' favor is their spirited home fans, as the Panthers have won all three games at home, including 21-7 over Geneva in Week 3.
Wheaton North's lone defeat was a 23-20 setback in overtime at Batavia in Week 3, but the Falcons responded with dominating wins over St. Charles North (35-3) and Lake Park (41-7). The Falcons, ranked No. 4 in Class 7A, have outscored their opponents 176-40, but the Panthers have allowed just 28 points in the last three games.
Neuqua Valley (5-0, 2-0) at Metea Valley (3-2, 2-0) When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: Did not play
Outlook: The Mustangs, coached by John Parpet, enter Friday's key DuPage Valley Conference game riding a three-game winning streak. The Mustangs are tied with Neuqua Valley atop the conference standings, earning impressive back-to-back DVC wins over DeKalb and Waubonsie Valley. The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 in Class 8A by the AP, represent a stiff test for the Mustangs in the middle of the season.
Parpet said his team must play well in all three phases to extend the winning streak to four in a row.
"We need to continue to play solid team football," Parpet said. "You can't compete with a team of that stature by winning one phase of the game. We've been able to play team football. Our kids have a very good understanding of how all three phases need to work together for us, not only to be competitive, but to win games. We're playing an old-school brand of football with guys going both ways and choosing to constantly compete to help their team. It's very exciting to see in this day and age of specialized football."
Parpet said linebacker and punter Vince Wronski, who has 54 tackles in five games, is leading the resurgent defense.
"We've struggled so badly defensively in the past, but Vince has really taken the defense on his shoulders at time," he said.
Quarterback Logan Frederick is a key player to watch, especially after a strong start. A three-year starter, Frederick has a multitude of weapons on offense to score points.
"Logan is also playing excellent at cornerback, while also handling punting duties," Parpet said. "I think it would be hard pressed to see any Class 8A quarterback not coming off the field like Logan."
Naperville North (2-3, 1-1) at Naperville Central (3-2, 1-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Did not play
Outlook: After losing in an overtime thriller to Neuqua Valley last week, Naperville Central must regroup for another emotional game against neighborhood rival Naperville North. The first fall game between the two Naperville school in two years should be highly competitive, with records thrown out the door. The Redhawks, now ranked No. 6 in 8A, have lost two games by a combined six points.
"(Naperville Central) has a really good front seven on defense and a solid run game on offense," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said.
The Huskies, led by junior quarterback Aidan Gray, dropped a 21-7 decision to Neuqua Valley in Week 4. The Huskies ended a three-game slide by defeating DeKalb 40-21 last week. With Gray under center, the Huskies can pile up points in a hurry, but their young defense faces a stiff test trying to contain Palmer Domschke and Grant Larkin to go with the passing and running of quarterback Owen Prucha.
"Our top four tackles on defense are all underclassmen, while Aidan Gray has been a 70 percent passer in the first five games," Drendel said.
Waubonsie Valley (1-4, 0-2) at DeKalb (2-3, 0-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: DeKalb 31, Waubonsie Valley 12
Outlook: The Warriors and Barbs both enter the midseason game in the dreaded must-win mode, with both teams in the basement of the DuPage Valley Conference. The good news is the winner gains their first league win of the season. The Warriors have been competitive in three of their four losses, highlighted by a 17-14 loss to Naperville Central in Week 4.
The Warriors would love nothing more than to avenge last season's loss to the Barbs and build momentum for next week's clash against highly ranked Neuqua Valley. Waubonsie Valley coach Tom Baumgartner said his team must play sound football against the Barbs.
"The keys to defeating DeKalb are bringing a playoff mentality, minimizing mistakes on offense, establishing the run game and getting our defense off the field after third downs and fourth down (attempts)," Baumgartner said.
The Warriors have a balanced running game, with Antonio Torres (229 yards) leading the pack. Quarterback Nathan Pappas has passed for 231 yards, but sophomore backup Luke Elsea passed for 209 yards and a touchdown last week in place of the injured Pappas.
Addison Trail at Willowbrook, 7 p.m.
Batavia at Wheaton Warrenville South, 7:30 p.m.
Downers Grove North at Hinsdale Central, 7 p.m.
Elgin at Fenton, 7:30 p.m.
Glenbard East at West Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Glenbard South at East Aurora, 7:30 p.m.
Herscher at Lisle, 7 p.m.
Hinsdale South at Downers Grove South, 6:30 p.m.
IC Catholic Prep at Wheaton Academy, 7:30 p.m.
Montini at Providence Catholic, 7:30 p.m.
St. Charles North at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.
St. Francis at Aurora Christian, 7 p.m.
Westmont at Riverside-Brookfield, 7:15 p.m.
York at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.