Five storylines to keep an eye on in Week 5 of high school football
Here are five things to keep an eye on Week 5 of the high school football season.
There's plenty of 4-0 teams with an undefeated season still intact, but two of the surprise ones are in the Mid-Suburban League.
Elk Grove finds itself 4-0 for the first time since 2004. The Grenadiers are averaging 33 points and allowing just 6.
Dual threat QB Mitch Janczak, who is in his third year as starter, has completed 41-of-67 passes for 609 yards and 6 touchdowns while rushing for 345 yards and eight scores. Elk Grove hosts 2-2 Buffalo Grove looking to go 5-0.
Conant also is 4-0 heading into Friday's game at Hoffman Estates. A win gives Conant, who has outscored their opponents 158-37 so far, its best start since 2015.
No. 1 Prospect rallied for an improbable 42-41 win over Maine South last week. The Knights didn't get much time to enjoy that before getting to work on another tough test this week against Hersey, also 4-0 like Prospect and ranked No. 7. Prospect won last year's matchup, 24-23.
Knights QB Brad Vierniesel has thrown for 1,499 yards and 17 touchdowns, and they hope to have Northwestern WR commit Frank Covey back after he injured his ankle last week.
There's two other Top 20 matchups this week: No. 6 Neuqua Valley at No. 16 Naperville Central, and No. 12 Geneva hosting No. 17 St. Charles North.
It's always a challenge -- and fun -- putting together our Top 20. We do the best we can to reward deserving teams, but obviously there's a lot of subjectivity to it. We're not always comparing apples to apples when there's deserving 8A teams and deserving 3A schools and all classes in-between who play completely different levels of competition.
That said, it was interesting to us this week to see Batavia and Geneva check in next to each other at No. 11 and 12. It's been a long, long time since the Vikings have been that close to their neighbors to the south.
Proud Batavia alum Dennis Piron hasn't lost to Geneva since taking over as Bulldogs coach in 2011, and honestly, few if any of the games have even been competitive. Batavia's winning streak is seriously narrowing the gap in the all-time series that once seemed a lock for Geneva.
But you've also got to give a ton of credit to Geneva's second-year coach Boone Thorgesen. He got the Vikings back in the playoffs last year, and this season they are off to a 4-0 start that includes quality wins over Kaneland, Glenbard North and last week, a convincing 35-11 win at Wheaton Warrenville South.
Of course, in the end the rankings don't matter. All that does is what happens Oct. 7 when Batavia hosts Geneva. That could be the most intriguing meeting between these schools since the Bulldogs beat the Vikings in the 2006 Class 6A state semifinals to reach the state title game for the first time. Batavia has since established itself as a state power with two state titles while Geneva's program took a downturn ... until now.
The two weeks of crossovers between the Mid-Suburban League and the Central Suburban League concluded last week and it was nearly a knockout for the MSL. In the 24 games played, the MSL won 20.
The MSL East was even a bigger winner, going 12-0 during that span. That included Prospect's two wins. The Knights, who are a 7A school, stepped up in class this year and beat 8A teams Evanston and Maine South.
With one year remaining on the contract between the two conferences, the MSL is 59-20 against the CSL.
Big one in the FVC:
It's always entertaining in the Fox Valley Conference when Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge get together, and they will resume their rivalry Friday in Crystal Lake. Both teams are 3-1 in what's shaping up to be a slightly more competitive league top to bottom -- only one of the 20 matchups through four weeks has gone to a running clock.
Cary-Grove, last year's Class 6A state champs, suffered a rare loss in Week 2, 43-39 to Crystal Lake South when the Gators scored 2 touchdowns and recovered an onside kick in the final five minutes.
Both Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge are chasing Jacobs, alone at 4-0 in first place after knocking off P-R last week, 42-35.