Scouting Week 4 DuPage County football games

 
By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
By Josh Welge and Jake Bartelson
Shaw Local
Updated 9/15/2022 4:04 PM

Naperville North (3-0) at Neuqua Valley (2-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

 

Previous matchup: Neuqua Valley 21, Naperville North 7 (2021 at Naperville North)

About the Huskies: Naperville North coach Sean Drendel likes where his team is at after three nonconference games heading into the start of DuPage Valley action. "We do a lot of things pretty well," he said. "We can strike fast and our defense continues to create turnovers. We are in a good spot, but need to continue to play with passion and intensity and stay hungry." The doing a lot of things well translates over to the statistics sheet. "Stat-wise, what jumps out is we have many weapons," Drendel said. "It is a different guy at any given time. That's a credit to our offensive and defensive lines." North also has received high-quality play from its linebacking group. "Luke Keough, David Jones, Ryan Anderson and Sam Gehrs lead us in tackles," Drendel pointed out. "The first three are captains and leaders. They have been awesome on all ends. They are great to coach and are sound tacklers."

About the Wildcats: "Neuqua Valley has been one of the top teams around and with five or six three-year starters, this year is no different," Drendel said. "They play hard-nosed football and great defense. We need to stop the run, win the turnover battle and find opportunities to strike on offense."

Waubonsie Valley (0-3) at Naperville Central (2-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Naperville Central 17, Waubonsie Valley 14 (2021 at Waubonsie)

About the Warriors: "This is another solid, well-coached Central team," Waubonsie Valley coach Tom Baumgartner said. "We will have to minimize mistakes in all three phases. We really need to generate some offense, which will have to start up front with the offensive line. Our inability to run the ball on offense is something we need to find a way to get fixed quickly." Baumgartner likes how his team responded after last week's loss to O'Fallon. "Our attitude and 'want' to get back to work Saturday morning after facing a really good O'Fallon team is what stood out the most," he said. Julian Johnson, Amir Spikener and Jacob Bellows are players who have stepped things up of late for the Warriors. "Julian is battled through some tough plays on offense and still contributed on defense," Baumgartner said. "Amir and Jacob are both still running hard as we try to figure out a way to open up more holes for them up front."

About the Redhawks: Central coach Mike Ulreich and his staff continue to stress the intangibles heading into this week's DVC opener. "We try and focus on those little things that win football games," he said. "Pad level, tackling and winning the turnover battle. As you get into the season, those can get overlooked, so we try to approach each game with those objectives. Waubonsie Valley has played a difficult schedule to open the season, so they will be tested and highly motivated to start DVC play. We have to prevent explosive plays on defense and have a great plan for their aggressive defense in critical situations." Special teams play has aided the Redhawks on multiple occasions this season. "I am very happy with our special teams play," Ulreich said. "We have had some explosive plays in our return game and have really limited the opponent in doing the same with touchbacks and forced fair catches. We have also pinned the opponent inside the 15 a few times the last three weeks with our kickoff unit." Bruno King and Chris Bern were cited for recent strong play. "Bruno is one of our hardest workers and flashes with effort plays on special teams," Ulreich said. "It doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but Chris Bern did a tremendous job blocking on the perimeter last week."

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Glenbard South (3-0, 3-0) at Streamwood (1-2, 1-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard South 48, Streamwood 16 (2021 at Glenbard South)

About the Raiders: South sits tied atop the Upstate Eight with Bartlett and South Elgin at 3-0. "Glenbard South is tough and a playoff team every year," Streamwood coach Keith McMaster said. "We are going to need to stay disciplined, eliminate mistakes, take care of the ball and cause turnovers."

About the Sabres: Streamwood lost its first two games by a combined 10 points (notably by four to Bartlett in the opener). "Our team faced some adversity in the third quarter against Elgin last week, but we stepped up," McMaster noted. "The close games we had in the first two weeks helped with that. Our defense is much improved from last season and our offense is starting to get on track. We are a young team, so there is some growing that the team is doing in the heat of the battles." Part of that defensive improvement stems from the play of free safety Kyle Thompson and linebacker Chris Marquez. "Kyle has been calling the shots defensively, defending passes and helping with run support," McMaster noted. "He is also one of our team leaders in tackles. Chris plays on all aspects of the ball. He punts, blocks from the offensive line and tackles from the linebacker position. He's a multi-talented athlete who can fit in almost anywhere."

Wheaton Academy (3-0, 1-0) at Kankakee Bishop McNamara (1-2, 1-0)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Previous matchup: Wheaton Academy 34, Bishop McNamara 14 (2021 at Wheaton Academy)

About the Warriors: A three-game post mortem has Wheaton Academy in a good place. "We are healthy and we are 3-0, which is something you never take for granted as a coach," Warriors coach Jim Johanik said. "We are heading into the toughest part of our schedule in the next three weeks and would like to come out of it as strong as we came into it." A little more here on Warriors standout quarterback Belay Brummel. "Speaking of Belay, the line judge in our last game came up to me and said he hasn't seen a high school quarterback more comfortable in the pocket and a better thrower in more than 10 years," Johanik said. "Wheaton Academy quarterbacks coach JR Rexilius has been a key to Belay's success in taking his previous skill training, carrying it forward and applying it to our offensive scheme over the past two years. The process and Belay's willingness to be coached sets him up well for working with his next quarterback coach in college."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

About the Fightin' Irish: Wheaton Academy will head to Kankakee to face a perennial strong program in Bishop Mac. "We are heading down to Kankakee on Bishop Mac's homecoming knowing we've defeated them the last two seasons at home," Johanik said. "I'm telling our guys if I were them, I'd be circling this game on the calendar. To be successful, we are going to have to overcome a proud football program on a lot of emotion at their homecoming."

St. Francis (3-0, 1-0) at Chicago Christian (1-2, 0-1)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Previous Matchup: St. Francis won the 2021 meeting by forfeit.

About the Spartans: Staying in the Metro Suburban Red, Spartans coach Bob McMillen saw nice progress from his offensive line last week. "They are getting better and moving in the right direction," he said. "We are still running past guys and not identifying fronts and blitzes. TJ (McMillen, University of Illinois commit) didn't play and we played different guys in different spots, but we still have to block the guy in front of us." Keep an eye on running back Amari Head and wide receiver-defensive back Dash Dorsey. "Amari is becoming more and more of a leader by not only his play, but his work ethic at practice and in the weight room," McMillen said. "He will continue to have a monster season. Dash leads our team in receptions and receiving touchdowns. More importantly, he is really stepping up for us on the defensive side of the ball. He's playing way more physical and being a lockdown corner for us."

About the Knights: "Chicago Christian is a well-coached team that plays good fundamental football," McMillen said. "We need to be able to execute on all three phases of the game. We still haven't put together a game where I believe we won at all three."

Glenbard South (3-0, 3-0) at Streamwood (1-2, 1-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard South 48, Streamwood 16 (2021 at Glenbard South)

About the Raiders: South sits tied atop the Upstate Eight with Bartlett and South Elgin at 3-0. "Glenbard South is tough and a playoff team every year," Streamwood coach Keith McMaster said. "We are going to need to stay disciplined, eliminate mistakes, take care of the ball and cause turnovers."

About the Sabres: Streamwood lost its first two games by a combined 10 points (notably by four to Bartlett in the opener). "Our team faced some adversity in the third quarter against Elgin last week, but we stepped up," McMaster noted. "The close games we had in the first two weeks helped with that. Our record isn't where we would like it to be. Our defense is much improved from last season and our offense is starting to get on track. We are a young team, so there is some growing that the team is doing in the heat of the battles." Part of that defensive improvement stems from the play of free safety Kyle Thompson and linebacker Chris Marquez. "Kyle has been calling the shots defensively, defending passes and helping with run support," McMaster noted. "He is also one of our team leaders in tackles. Chris plays on all aspects of the ball. He punts, blocks from the offensive line and tackles from the linebacker position. He's a multi-talented athlete who can fit in almost anywhere."

Glenbard East (2-1, 2-1) at East Aurora (1-2, 1-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard East 48, East Aurora 6 (2021 at Glenbard East)

About the Rams: A win here would keep the Rams right in the thick of the UEC race. Glenbard East coach John Walters saw his team take a nice step forward last week in a 42-6 win over West Chicago. "I really feel like we showed growth in Week 3," he said, "especially on offense. I like the fact we had multiple contributors." Key contributors of late have been Dimitri Hritz and Troy Cooper. "Dimitri is a two-way guy and is having a great season for us on both sides," Walters said. "Troy has started all three games on defense and is leading our defense in points. These two guys have been rocks."

About the Tomcats: East Aurora has played two of the loop's top three teams already, losing 44-12 to Glenbard South in Week 1 and losing by a score to Bartlett last week (21-14), with a win against Elgin (20-14) sandwiched between. "East Aurora is playing good football right now," Walters said. "They have some athletes we need to make sure to keep in check. East Aurora is always well-coached and athletic. We need to stay within our game plan and execute. We were able to do that in Week 3 and found some success. We were pretty solid in all three phases. I was pleased with our play."

Glenbard North (1-2, 0-1) at St. Charles East (2-1, 0-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard North 23, St. Charles East 0 (2021 at Glenbard North)

About the Panthers: A big game for both teams in terms of breaking into the DuKane Conference win column. The Panthers are coming off a close 14-10 loss to 3-0 Geneva. Glenbard North's first three opponents have a combined 8-1 mark. "We need to cut down on penalties and turnovers," North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "We are improving, but we are not where we need to be running the ball or stopping the run. Both groups are still building cohesiveness up front." Wilkens said two stats jump off the page at him. "We are passing the ball twice as much than we have in the past and the penalties," he said. "We need to cut down on penalties." On the topic of passing, Wilkens lauded the efforts of Justin Bland, Zamari Robinson and Johnnie Robertson. "These three guys have been a huge part of the pass game," he said.

About the Saints: St. Charles East opened the season with nonconference wins over Lincoln-Way Central and Waubonsie Valley (10-7), but lost to Lake Park 24-0 last week in its DuKane opener. East's three opponents have a combined 2-7 mark heading into Week 4. The Saints have already equaled their win total from a year ago with six games left to play. "St. Charles East has a very good offensive and defensive line," Wilkens said. "Their running back and quarterback are very athletic."

Lake Park (1-2, 1-0) at Batavia (1-2, 0-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Batavia 42, Lake Park 8 (2021 at Lake Park)

About the Lancers: Lake Park opened DuKane action last week with a shutout win against St. Charles East. "Our offensive and defensive lines really asserted themselves early in the game and set the tone for our entire team," Lancers coach Chris Kirkpatrick said. "We need to see that again." A strong four quarters also was notable against St. Charles East. "Our team has played really well in the second half all year," Fitzpatrick explained. "Last week, we came to play right away. We are still learning to play four-quarter games, but our guys are learning what it takes in practice to prepare." Fitzpatrick said Tyler Michelini, Kevontae Vignaude, Nick Cairo and Will Sierra "are helping to solidify a very physical defensive front," he said. Cairo also is getting the job done on the offensive line. "Nick Cairo is playing as well as any offensive lineman I have ever coached at any level right now, and is setting a physical tone that our whole team is feeding off of," Fitzpatrick said. "At 6-3, 260, he is a major sleeper in the Class of 2024 right now."

About the Bulldogs: Batavia opened the season with a 43-6 win over Chicago Phillips and then dropped contests to Lincoln-Way East and Wheaton North (a pair of 3-0 teams). The Bulldogs lost by a field goal to Wheaton North last week. "Batavia is a tough, well-coached team year in and year out," Fitzpatrick said. "In the DuKane, you get to test yourself against great teams every week. We need to build on some of the steps we took last week toward executing our offense, defense and special teams at a higher level."

St. Charles North (2-1, 1-0) at Wheaton North (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Previous matchup: Wheaton North 35, St. Charles North (2021)

About the North Stars: The offense appears clicking with Vill Vaske installed at quarterback. Jake Mettetal continues to ascend after his seven-catch, 75-yard effort in a win over Wheaton Warrenville South last week. Defensively, the North Stars did an excellent job neutralizing the running game, allowing 64 yards on 30 carries. Drew Surges (450 all-purpose yards and 32 tackles through three weeks) should be busy once again at both his safety/linebacker hybrid and running back.

About the Falcons: One has to give credit to the Falcons, who overcame a 21-13 halftime deficit and stifled the Batavia offense last week. Karsten Libby and Tyler O'Connor are proven big-play heavy-hitters for Max Howser to find downfield. Defensively, linebacker Ross Dansdill and Walker Owens are all over the field.

Geneva (3-0, 1-0) at Wheaton Warrenville South (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Previous matchup: 13-12 Geneva (2021)

About the Vikings: Geneva has demonstrated the ability to win in a variety of ways through three weeks. Whether relying on a high-powered offense with a ton of talent or takeaways, the Vikings are in a great spot entering Week 4. Troy Velez is a weapon at running back and showcased that with 142 yards on 22 carries. Nate Stempowski appears to have the quarterback position under control.

About the Tigers: Getting Matt Crider and company going in the run game should be a focus for the Tigers this week after being neutralized for just 64 yards collectively. Luca Carbonaro was 16 of 23 for 122 yards last week and Braylen Meredith seems to be a favorite target, finishing with seven catches.

Downers Grove North (3-0, 0-0) at York (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: York 28, Downers Grove North 10 (2021)

About the Trojans: Downers Grove North, which beat Downers Grove South 27-7 last week, did some impressive work in the nonconference, three wins by an average margin of 24.3 points. The Trojans' strength starts with their defense, which has allowed a total of 20 points in three games. The ringleader of that unit is defensive lineman Ben Bielawski, who already has eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss. Noah Battle ran for 126 yards and two TDs and big-play receiver Ethan Thulin caught a 41-yard TD from Sam Reichert last week. The Trojans also started last season 3-0 before dropping five of their last six games, starting with a loss to York, history a team with seven third-year starters is aware of and hopes to avoid.

About the Dukes: York, a team with high hopes this season, took care of business in the soft first third of its season, beating its first three opponents by an average 49-point margin. Matt Vezza threw for 192 yards and four TDs, Charlie Specht caught two TDs and Adam Fennell ran for 111 yards and two TDs in last week's 54-0 win over Proviso West. Defensively, the Dukes had 12 tackles and close to 20 tackles for loss, led by Evan Grazzini's three tackles for loss and one sack. York's next three opponents come against the other three West Suburban Silver unbeatens -- Downers North, Lyons and Glenbard West, followed by a game with two-time conference champ Hinsdale Central -- so the Dukes are about to find out a whole lot more about themselves.

Glenbard West (3-0, 1-0) at Proviso West (2-1, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 63, Proviso West 0 (2021)

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West's offense keeps chugging along, even with standout running back Joey Pope again sidelined. Junior Julius Ellens ran for 206 yards and four TDs in last week's 35-14 win over Oak Park-River Forest. Pope, who sprained his ankle in Week 2, might be back this week or next, but the Hilltoppers could very well opt to hold him out until a Week 6 game with York. The OPRF win was by no means flawless with a number of penalties, and the Hilltoppers have a few things to clean up still, but back-to-back games with Proviso West and Addison Trail should provide that opportunity.

About the Panthers: Proviso West's feel-good 2-0 start met a reality check last week, a 54-0 loss to Proviso West in which the Panthers gave up 373 total yards. The two wins could be a sign of progress for a program that's had little success over the last decade, but the Panthers figure to again have tough sledding this week against Glenbard West.

Willowbrook (1-2, 1-0) at Downers Grove South (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Willowbrook 34, Downers Grove South 7 (2021)

About the Warriors: Willowbrook, which started 0-2 for the second straight season, got the ship righted with its 42-6 win over Proviso East last week. Jimmy Degnan and Joey Tumilty each scored three TDs, and AJ Pawlicki threw three TD passes. Willowbrook has won five consecutive West Suburban Gold titles -- could this be the Warriors' toughest test on their way to a sixth championship in a row?

About the Mustangs: A tough start to the season, against a gauntlet of a stretch, continued last week with Downers Grove South's 27-7 loss to Downers Grove North. The Mustangs, who have scored just seven points in each of their three games, need to generate more consistent offense to get back on track. Even in defeat, Mack O'Halloran continued to do a little bit of everything for the Mustangs. O'Halloran caught five passes for 73 yards and threw a 39-yard pass to Ryan Horn-Salerno last week. Ryan Dawson. was 15-for-17 passing for 177 yards and a TD.

Hinsdale South (1-2) at Hinsdale Central (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 49, Hinsdale South 0 (2021)

About the Hornets: Hinsdale South got in the win column by virtue of its 42-14 win over Leyden, now gets set for another tough West Suburban crossover against its district rival. Senior Anthony Montez ran for four TDs and Robbie Spang added a score against Leyden. The Hornets need to hope that kind of win gives their offense a boost going against a Red Devils' defense that has proven tough even in defeat this season.

About the Red Devils: From one rivalry game to another, as the Red Devils have to lick their wounds from a 10-7 loss to Lyons and get ready for their district rivals. Hinsdale Central has won 19 consecutive games against Hinsdale South dating back to 2002. The Red Devils' defense appears to be fine, but its offense has struggled to put points on the board in losses to Naperville Central and Lyons. Billy Cernugel threw a TD pass to Reece Kolke for the Red Devils' only score last week. Health is an additional concern. Senior QB Ben Monahan, part of a rotation behind center, went down with an ankle injury against Lyons. Wide receiver Carter Contreras and running back Kellen Tran also left the game with injuries. While the Red Devils have dominated their district rivals for the last two decades, they really have little margin for error with two losses and the schedule ahead, so can't overlook the Hornets.

St. Rita (1-2, 0-0) at Benet (1-2, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Benedictine

Last matchup: St. Rita 21, Benet 0 (2021)

About the Broncos: St. Rita's first third of the schedule has been a grind, with losses to Mount Carmel and Loyola sandwiched around a win over rival Brother Rice. So don't be fooled by the 1-2 record, as the Mustangs also started 1-2 last year with losses to the same opponents before ripping off nine straight wins and reaching the Class 7A quarterfinals. Junior Ethan Middleton, a top 10 recruit in Illinois' Class of 2024 who holds an offer from Penn State, had rushing and receiving TDs in the win over Brother Rice. Defensively, players to watch include Pat Farrell, a defensive end committed to Illinois, and Matt Kingsbury, a linebacker with 21 offers including several MAC schools. St. Rita kicker Conor Talty, committed to Alabama, kicked a 51-yard field goal against Mount Carmel.

About the Redwings: Benet comes in off a 13-10 loss to Brother Rice, which lost to St. Rita by five points the week before. The Redwings hung in there with Rice, as the game was tied 7-7 going into the fourth quarter, and that level of competitiveness should bode well for Benet as it continues to navigate the teeth of its CCL/ESCC schedule. In a schedule quirk, this is Benet's fourth straight home game to start the season, which will be followed by four consecutive road games. Minnesota recruit Pierce Walsh is the player to watch for the Redwings.

Montini (2-1, 0-0) at St. Laurence (1-2, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Laurence 21, Montini 13 (2021)

About the Broncos: Montini comes off an impressive 26-3 win at Marmion, with a strong performance on both sides of the ball. Cole Teschner threw two TDs to Mingo Nixon and ran for a third score, and George Asay had a 24-yard TD run and set up Teschner's TD run with a 50-yard run. The Broncos' defense, which struggled in Week 1, has given up a combined nine points in back-to-back wins. Teschner has thrown for 539 yards and four TDs on the season. Nixon, with 16 catches for 233 yards and three TDs, is his top target. Montini's defense is led by Jonathan Goff, who has 30 tackles on the season and made a key third-down stop against Marmion, and Caden Phengkeokaisone, who has 20 tackles on the year and had an interception last week.

About the Vikings: The Vikings come off a 19-14 loss to St. Ignatius. St. Laurence's two losses are by a combined 11 points to Moline and St. Ignatius. Junior WR/S Corey Taubr is a returning two-way starter who was a team captain as a sophomore. Senior QB Danny Fitzpatrick, a transfer from Stagg, is another player to watch.

Other DuPage Friday Games

Metea Valley (0-3) at DeKalb (2-1), 7 p.m.

IC Catholic Prep (2-1) at Ridgewood (2-1), 7:15 p.m.

Fenton (0-3, 0-3) at West Chicago (0-3, 0-3), 7 p.m.

Lisle (2-1) at Streator (2-1), 7 p.m.

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