Scouting Week 7 DuPage County football games
Wheaton North (5-1, 3-1) at Wheaton Warrenville South (3-3, 2-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Wheaton North 17, Wheaton Warrenville South 14.
Outlook: First-year Wheaton Warrenville South coach Sean Norris can earn a signature victory by knocking off the Tigers' rivals in this key DuKane Conference showdown. Norris has a clear understanding of the impact of this annual game between the two Wheaton schools, first from his all-state quarterback days at Wheaton North and through his years working as an assistant at Wheaton Warrenville South. On paper, the Falcons have the best defense in the conference, holding teams to 10 points per game. The Tigers can score points, but stopping teams is another matter. They've allowed 125 points, which includes a 41-point outburst by Batavia last week. The Falcons pulled out a vital 21-20 win over Glenbard North last week to stay in second place in the conference. The Tigers are in a must-win situation of sorts, with a winnable game at Lake Park followed by a home game against Glenbard North.
Hinsdale Central (5-1, 3-0) at York (6-0, 4-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: Hinsdale Central 19, York 0.
Outlook: York coach Mike Fitzgerald's team is riding high following an emotional last-second win at Glenbard West last Saturday. It marked the first win by the Dukes in the series since 2007. In most cases, the Dukes could be in store for a letdown, but Fitzgerald certainly has the incentive of last season's loss to the Red Devils to motivate his players. The Red Devils' defense slammed the door on York's offense last year, capitalizing on the Dukes' mistakes for a shutout victory en route to an undefeated season. Now, the Dukes get the benefit of home-field advantage in the West Suburban Silver game, nor do they have to worry about stopping two-way threat, Michael Brescia. The Dukes secured their first playoff berth since 2011 by knocking off the Hilltoppers, but the allure of a possible undefeated regular season still hangs in the balance, especially with games against Willowbrook (4-2) and Oak Park-River Forest (2-4) left on the schedule.
York quarterback Matt Vezza's running and passing is a key element in the program's rise. The junior has completed 42 of 68 passes for 633 yards, with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Vezza is second on the team in rushing with 284 yards and 3 touchdowns, while junior Kelly Watson leads Dukes with 445 yards and 6 TDs.
Defensively, the Dukes have shut down teams, even limiting Glenbard West to 10 points last week. In 6 games, the Dukes have given up 741 total yards, forced 13 turnovers and allowed just 1 passing touchdown.
Metea Valley (3-3, 1-2) at Naperville North (3-3, 2-1)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: Naperville North 48, Metea Valley 20.
Outlook: At least the Mustangs don't have to worry about stopping Naperville North's Lontrez Duckworth on Friday. In the spring, Duckworth ran for 209 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in a rain-filled blowout. The Mustangs, though, must do a better job stopping the run against the Huskies, or risk another similar outcome. Metea Valley coach John Parpet stressed the importance of fundamentals and slowing down the Huskies' offense.
Naperville North running back Ethan Roberts broke a single-game school record with 287 yards on 35 carries in last week's win over Naperville Central. Naperville North quarterback Aidan Gray, who completed 16 of 18 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown against Naperville Central, is completing passes at a 69 percent clip.
"We need to get back to playing team football," Parpet said. "We were right there with Neuqua Valley in the first half (last week) but we got away from what has made us successful. We need to continue to play strong defense and continue to find ways to help our young offensive line.
"The key to this game is containing their offense has much as possible and having a high compete level up front offensively. Coach (Sean) Drendel is one of the finest coaches around and will have his guys prepared. We will need to match their intensity and high level of play."
Drendel said his defense must come ready to play against Metea Valley's plethora of skilled offensive players.
"They have a very talented offense with a lot of three-year starters," Drendel said. "We need to find ways to get them in third and long (situations). Our offensive and defensive lines need to have a great game. They're a physical team that we have to match."
Neuqua Valley (6-0, 3-0) at Waubonsie Valley (2-4, 1-2)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: Neuqua Valley 34, Waubonsie Valley 12
Outlook: This is the perfect time for the Warriors to wipe away some difficult losses from the spring and early part of the fall seasons. A victory over the No. 2 ranked team in the current Class 8A AP poll can revitalize the Warriors' program, plus give them a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.
The Wildcats have turned it up a notch on defense in the last three weeks, allowing just 24 points, including posting a 31-0 shutout over Metea Valley last week.
"They're absolutely loaded, so controlling the ball will be a huge key to the game," Waubonsie Valley coach Tom Baumgartner said. "For us that starts upfront and being able to run the ball consistently well. Our defense has played well this year, so we hope that trend can continue. Controlling the line of scrimmage and executing the fundamentals of football with relentless effort will be key. As in most games, the team that can limit mistakes and not turn over the ball should be in a good position to win. Special teams can play a huge in a game like this.
"It's another week of trying to stay alive and in playoff contention. Just like last week, we're playing a great team, and trying to find a way to grind out a win."
Riverside-Brookfield (5-1) at IC Catholic Prep (6-0)When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.
2021 spring result: IC Catholic Prep 51, Riverside-Brookfield 0
Outlook: The Knights earned an impressive road victory knocking off Wheaton Academy last week. Despite a number of mental mistakes and penalties, the Knights rebounded with a strong second half to defeat the Warriors 29-16. Thus, look for Bill Krefft to have his players motivated to play a cleaner game against the upstart Bulldogs. The Knights have relied on a balanced attack, with a trio of running backs and a solid passing game to wear out opponents. IC Catholic Prep recorded three straight shutouts before allowing 16 points last week.
After a rough spring season, the Bulldogs rebounded with a solid start to become playoff eligible. R-B coach Brendan Curtin's team has won four straight games since dropping a 20-0 decision to Wauconda in Week 2. Still, the Bulldogs have a difficult task handling the Knights on their home field, especially following a 51-0 defeat in the spring.
Other gamesBartlett at Glenbard East, 7:30 p.m.
Downers Grove South at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Glenbard West at Downers Grove North, 7 p.m.
Lake Park at Glenbard North, 7:30 p.m.
Montini at Marist, 6 p.m.
Riverside-Brookfield at IC Catholic Prep, 7:15 p.m.
St. Francis at McNamara, 7:30 p.m.
Streamwood at Glenbard South, 7:30 p.m.
West Chicago at Fenton, 7:30 p.m.
Westmont at Ridgewood, 7:15 p.m.
Willowbrook at Hinsdale South, 7 p.m.
Wilmington at Lisle, 7 p.m.