High school football: Five storylines to watch in Week 7
Here are five things to keep an eye on in Week 7 of the high school football season.
Double the DuKane fun:
There's no shortage of rivalry matchups in the DuKane Conference Friday night. While Wheaton North plays Wheaton Warrenville South and St. Charles East meets St. Charles North for town bragging rights, it's always tough to beat the Batavia/Geneva game.
It helps that we're getting ready for matchup No. 104 in the series between neighboring towns who can make their season with a win. The first matchup was played back on Saturday, Nov. 22 ... 1913.
Batavia, coached then by Stanley Hill, beat Leonard C. Mead's Geneva squad 12-7 a mere 109 years ago.
There's been ups and downs for both programs in the century-plus since, but this is a game both always circle. The Bulldogs have been on some kind of a role lately. Since current coach Denis Piron took over at his alma mater in 2011, Batavia is 11-0 against the Vikings. In the last five meetings, Batavia has outscored Geneva 209-0 -- including 35-0 last year.
Geneva is improving though, bringing a 5-1 record into tonight's game at 4-2 Batavia. And despite the Bulldogs' recent dominating stretch, Geneva still leads the all-time series 51-47-5.
May the best team win, and here's hoping we get a more competitive game than we've had lately.
Bears fans will recognize the last name of St. Viator sophomore quarterback Cooper Kmet, the younger brother of Bears tight end Cole. Connor made his first start last week and threw for 176 yards as the Lions beat Marian Catholic to end a 2-game losing streak. Kmet will try to make it two straight wins when the 4-2 Lions host 4-2 St. Ignatius Friday.
Defending the Upstate Eight:
South Elgin won probably its toughest matchup of the regular season last week, beating previously unbeaten Glenbard South, 49-27. That improved the Storm to 6-0 as they moved up to No. 3 in the Daily Herald Top 20.
Ranking South Elgin isn't always easy given the Upstate Eight schedule. South Elgin is obviously talented and an excellent football program -- it's just there aren't many scores to compare of theirs vs. other Top 20 teams.
Storm coach Dragan Teonic was asked about playing in the UEC after the Glenbard South win.
"I think people overvalue other conferences and undervalue ours," Teonic said. "I'm not going to make a case for every team in our conference or even us every single season, but I think that it's worth looking at film before you make a decision as to who or what you are. I think that certain conferences get more love than they probably should based on what I've seen on film, and that's no knock on anybody else. Football's changed. It's 2022, not 2008, and it just looks different in certain spots. The Upstate Eight doesn't always prepare us for 8A football. But we're 3-2 out of conference. The only two losses we've had in the last 35 games are to Brother Rice and Marist and they were semifinalist Catholic Blue teams. Everybody loses to those guys. So I just think there's a little too much talk about that."
As Daily Herald Correspondent Mike Miazga wrote this week, one of the Fox Valley area's gridiron good guys is calling it a day.
St. Edward's Mike Rolando will coach his final home game Friday night in Elgin when the Green Wave hosts Wheaton Academy.
Rolando's 18 years at St. Edward includes a career 76-89 mark with 7 state playoff appearances. He's the school's all-time winningest coach with seven of St. Edward's nine playoff appearances.
"It's been a great, long run," Rolando told Miazga. "I'm just ready to move on and spend time with my wife and see the kids in college. Football has been our life. It's just time."
Plenty of heart:
One thing Rolando has done through the years is coach bare-bone rosters -- sometimes in the 20s -- with players who often play both ways and plenty of underclassmen up.
So Rolando can certainly relate to Round Lake coach Scott Blecha. Congrats to Blecha's Panthers who pulled off their first win last week, 28-20 over North Chicago.
Round Lake dressed 18 players for the game.