Scouting Week 7 DuPage County football games

  • Naperville Central's Christopher Bern picks up some yards during the Redhawks' win over Naperville North last week. Naperville Central can become playoff eligible by winning at DeKalb on Friday.

      Naperville Central's Christopher Bern picks up some yards during the Redhawks' win over Naperville North last week. Naperville Central can become playoff eligible by winning at DeKalb on Friday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
and Jake Bartelson
Shaw Local News Network
 
Updated 10/6/2022 7:49 PM

Naperville Central (4-2, 2-1) at DeKalb (4-2, 2-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

 

Previous matchup: Naperville Central 48, DeKalb 20 (2021 at Central)

About the Redhawks: A win here by Naperville Central would make it playoff eligible. Coach Mike Ulreich is keeping an eye on several important factors. "In three weeks of DVC play, penalties and turnovers continue to be an issue," he said. "We committed 4 penalties in the second half last Friday, three that cost us a first down. And we have to find a way to solve our turnover issues. It's a priority and one that we are constantly working to solve. It is an attention-to-detail thing and it starts with coaching." Ulreich gave high marks to Oliver Robak at defensive end for embracing "a championship effort," he said. Nose guard John Stout also has been a difference-maker. "John has been selfless at nose guard taking on double teams and playing with great pad level." Christian Kuta is back playing a big role on defense. "Christian is finally starting to get healthy again after Week 1 and beginning to be a difference-maker on defense," Ulreich said.

About the Barbs: DeKalb finds itself in the same boat here -- a win sends them to the playoff eligibility list. "DeKalb has the ability to create explosive plays both on the ground and in the air," Ulreich said. "They utilize their strengths well and are always difficult to defend. They are very sound on defense as well. They are a good football team."

Wheaton Academy (5-1) at St. Edward (1-5)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous matchup: Wheaton Academy 49, St. Edward 6 (2021 at Wheaton Academy)

About the Warriors: Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik isn't paying attention to St. Edward's 1-5 mark. "We are up against a St. Ed's program that is facing some challenges in program size at the moment," he said. "I have deep respect for coach (Mike) Rolando and what he has done with the Green Wave over the years and know that this is just a blip that he will overcome." Quarterback Belay Brummel threw for more than 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in last week's game against IC Catholic Prep. Wide receiver Breck Peacock caught 120 of those passing yards. Senior running back Gavin Pedone, Johanik noted, came off a nasty ankle injury in time to play against IC. "When our starting running back and safety Stephen Fellowes (a sophomore) went out on the second play of the game on offense with his own ankle injury, Gavin stepped right in," Johanik said. "We also found another running back in sophomore Geno Spinelli, who showed some speed both at running back and in his starting role at corner. We now have 2 sophomores at the running back position who are the future of the program after this year." Wheaton Academy also has been boosted by senior wide receiver-defensive lineman Evan Eckert, an all-area soccer player for Wheaton Academy's state-championship team last year and decided to play football this fall. He had 3 catches for 28 yards and a score, plus had a 2-point conversion. "On defense, he made a few tackles and one for a loss. He acted as our backup punter when Stephen Fellowes went down and nailed a 50-yarder. He has an opportunity to play at a high level in soccer in college, but could easily be an asset to a Division III program in football as well. He's a great athlete."

About the Green Wave: This will be Rolando's final season at the helm after 18 years. He led St. Edward to seven playoff appearances and three conference titles. "Wheaton Academy has established themselves as one of the top programs in the state," Rolando said. "We'll need to be very sound on offense and tackle much better on defense to have success against them." It will also be Rolando's final game at Greg True Field on the St. Edward campus. "This will be our seniors and many of our coaches, including mine, last game at Greg True Field," he said. "Our boys want to come out and play St. Edward football against a very good Wheaton Academy team and make their football community proud."

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Bishop McNamara (3-3) at St. Francis (6-0)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Previous matchup: McNamara 36, St. Francis 15 (2021 at Bishop Mac)

About the Fighting Irish: "Bishop Mac is a good football team," St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said. "They struggled early but have seemed to find their groove. They are a power-running team. They have a great running back in Jaydon Wright, who had 8 touchdowns last week. They have a big offensive line that does a good job of moving guys. We will need to stop the run. Last year, they beat the brakes off us and ran for more than 400 yards."

About the Spartans: While sitting pretty at 6-0 with a playoff berth in the bag and leading the Metro Suburban Red, McMillen said improvements still can happen. "We still have a lot of work to do," he said. "We seem to make mistakes at crucial times that put us in a bad position. Sixteen penalties (in Week 6) is absolutely ridiculous. We won't win many games if we don't clean it up." Danny French had 4 sacks, 5 tackles and 2 assists last week, while Dom Beres had 7 tackles, 2 assists, plus hauled a 50-yard fumble recovery back for a touchdown. McMillen noted Ian Willis is a key special teams weapon. "Ian is so explosive every time he touches the ball," he said. "He can make people miss and take it to the house." Linebacker Rusty Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup three weeks ago and has 26 tackles, 12 assists, 7 tackles for loss and a pick since then. Offensive lineman Jack Anderson took over recently at right tackle. "Since taking over the right tackle position, our running game has gotten better," McMillen said. "Plus, the last two weeks he has led our team in pancake blocks (8). McMillen also likes how wide receiver-defensive back Connor Shields has been playing. "Connor is another kid who has elevated his game the last few weeks," he said. "He's starting to be more of a playmaker on both sides of the ball."

Fenton (1-5, 1-5) at Glenbard East (5-1, 5-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous matchup: Glenbard East 48, Fenton 8 (2021 at Glenbard East)

About the Bison: "Fenton is playing good football," Glenbard East coach John Walters said. "A couple of breaks for them and their record is much different. We will need a three-phase effort to win. We need to play a complete game and be dialed in from the first snap to the last."

About the Rams: A win gets Glenbard East an automatic playoff berth. Looking back to last week, Walters likes where the Rams are with their passing game. "Our passing game really helped us last week," he said. "Dillon Williams, Yassin Nabil, Dailen Zollicoffer and Eric McClain really stepped up to help us. Dillon is really growing into the passing game."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Glenbard South (5-1, 5-1) at West Chicago (1-5, 1-5)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous matchup: Glenbard South 56, West Chicago 0 (2021 at Glenbard South)

About the Raiders: "It's a very talented Glenbard South team with playmakers on both sides of the ball," West Chicago coach Adam Chavez said. "They are a very well-coached team. We have to control the clock and keep their explosive offense off the field. We have to play error-free football to have a chance to win the game. If we play our brand of football and run the ball, we can be successful."

About the Wildcats: In last week's win against Streamwood, Vincent Muci ran 31 times for 119 yards and scored 3 touchdowns, helping West Chicago pile up 476 yards of offense and 6 touchdowns. It's was Muci's third 100-yard rushing game in a row. Quarterback Adrian Munoz was 4-for-8 passing for 206 yards and 4 scores. Chavez also likes how the durable Josiah Weems have been playing. "Josiah has played every down of football in the last couple weeks," he said. "He starts at corner, wing and plays all specials." Wideout Tommy Doyle has 5 touchdowns over the last 3 games.

Wheaton Warrenville South (2-4, 1-3) at Wheaton North (5-1, 3-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton North 10, Wheaton Warrenville South 8 (2021)

About the Tigers: The rivalry game has added urgency for WW South, which needs to win out to become playoff eligible. The Tigers are coming off a rough 35-0 loss at Batavia, a game in which WW South managed just 147 yards of total offense. Sophomore QB Luca Carbonaro was 14-of-22 passing for 121 yards in the loss, with a 77-yard TD pass to Matthew Crider called back on a penalty. The Tigers need to do a better job establishing the run with Crider and Jake Vozza to provide a balanced attack with Carbonaro throwing the ball to Braylen Meredith and Colin Moore.

About the Falcons: Wheaton North, playoff eligible after a 21-14 win over Glenbard North, can clinch a playoff appearance with a win. The Falcons are also very much in the hunt for a DuKane Conference title, a game back of St. Charles North. Tyler O'Connor continues to be a versatile talent in all three phases. A standout on the Falcons' defense, he rushed for two TDs and kicked three extra points last week. Wheaton North won both meetings with WW South in 2021, both in the spring and fall, by a combined five points. The Falcons on paper look like a definite favorite here but they know not to take their rivals lightly. Last season it took a 39-yard Seth Kortenhoeven field goal as time expired to lift Wheaton North to a dramatic 10-8 win. Wheaton North is ranked No. 7 in the latest Class 7A poll.

Glenbard North (2-4, 1-3) at Lake Park (1-5, 1-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous matchup: Glenbard North 28, Lake Park 7 (2021 at Glenbard North)

About the Panthers: Playoff-hopeful lives will be on the line at Lake Park West Campus. "We must stop the run game and get movement up front offensively," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. North is looking to break a 2-game losing streak.

About the Lancers: Lake Park is on a three-game losing streak with setbacks to Batavia, Wheaton North and St. Charles North (combined 14-4 through six weeks). "Lake Park has a very good offensive and defensive line," Wilkens said. "Their running back and quarterback run hard."

Downers Grove North (5-1, 2-1) at Glenbard West (5-1, 2-1)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 13, Downers Grove North 10 (2021)

About the Trojans: Downers Grove North comes into this one on quite an emotional high. The Trojans last Friday beat Hinsdale Central 23-3, their first win in the Old Oaken Bucket series since 2006, to become playoff eligible. Cael Brezina had an interception return for a TD and Downers Grove North limited its fourth opponent to single digits scoring. The Trojans have allowed just 47 points this season, but could get its biggest test against Glenbard West's high-powered offense -- although they kept it in check in last season's meeting. Noah Battle ran for 151 yards and a 73-yard TD last week. Downers Grove North last beat Glenbard West in 2006.

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West is coming off a 17-13 loss at York in a matchup of unbeatens -- but there is no rest for the weary with a tough Downers Grove North team coming to Duchon Field. A Hilltoppers' offense that averaged 41.8 points over the first five games was slowed down at York, and faces another tough defense this week. Julius Ellens supplied most of the offense against York with 88 yards on 22 carries and QB Korey Tai threw for 74 yards and ran for a TD. The Hilltoppers are ranked No. 4 in Class 8A. Glenbard West has not dropped back-to-back games since 2016.

York (6-0, 4-0) at Hinsdale Central (3-3, 1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 27, York 23 (2021)

About the Red Devils: Hinsdale Central, coming off a 23-3 loss to Downers Grove North, faces a tricky road to secure a playoff berth with games remaining against York and Glenbard West. The Red Devils also appear to be beat up. Starting QB Billy Cernugel left the game in the first quarter last week with an injury, the second Hinsdale Central QB to go down this season among multiple Red Devils' health issues. The injuries have appeared to have taken a toll on Hinsdale Central's offense, which has managed a combined 19 points in its three losses. Still, the two-time defending Silver champs are a resilient group and figure to come out with a spirited effort in a critical game.

About the Dukes: York is coming off an incredible high. The Dukes, up to No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Class 8A poll, beat Glenbard West for the second consecutive season, 17-13 in a matchup of unbeatens in front of a capacity crowd of close to 7,000 fans in Elmhurst. York, 6-0 for the second consecutive season, can clinch at least a share of its first West Suburban Silver title since 2010 with a win. Senior QB Matt Vezza continues to impress. He threw for 150 yards and the game-winning 43-yard TD pass to Charlie Specht last week and also ran for 45 yards. Cole Ostendorf and Joey Maucieri had 11 tackles and Matt Sutter eight tackles and the game-clinching interception. York should have extra motivation for this one, last year's 27-23 loss to Hinsdale Central in a game they led by 16 points in the fourth quarter that cost them the Silver title.

Hinsdale South (2-4, 2-1) at Willowbrook (3-3, 3-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Willowbrook 33, Hinsdale South 7 (2021)

About the Hornets: Hinsdale South lost to Downers Grove South 26-6 last week. The Hornets have struggled to put up points in their four losses, a total of 32 points. Hinsdale South needs to win out to become playoff eligible. But with games remaining after Friday against winless Proviso East and Addison Trail, the path is definitely there with a win over Willowbrook.

About the Warriors: Willowbrook maintained District 88 supremacy last week, rolling past Addison Trail 42-6. Damian Banaszewski scored three TDs and Joe Hanson, DaeVeon Madison and Kenyon Rhodes each had scores. Willowbrook's offense seems to get getting into gear, averaging just under 40 points in three wins over the last four weeks.

Addison Trail (2-4, 1-2) at Downers Grove South (3-3, 3-0)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Downers Grove South 27, Addison Trail 6 (2021)

About the Blazers: Addison Trail comes off a 42-6 loss to Willowbrook. The Blazers' defense has struggled to prevent opponents from putting up big numbers. In its four losses Addison Trail has given up an average of 44 points per game.

About the Mustangs: Downers Grove South has now won three in a row after an 0-3 start following its 26-6 win over Hinsdale South last week. Gold divisional play has been good to the Mustangs' offense. Downers Grove South has put up 100 points the last three weeks after managing just 21 during the 0-3 start. Mack O'Halloran scored two TDs, including a 63-yard run, Gavin Powels also had two TDs and Luke Spear intercepted two passes in the win over Hinsdale South.

IC Catholic Prep (5-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (5-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: IC Catholic Prep 55, Riverside-Brookfield 14 (2021)

About the Knights: IC Catholic, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, comes in off an impressive 42-20 win over previously unbeaten Wheaton Academy. Knights' skill-position standouts KJ Parker and Denzell Gibson put on a show. Parker had five catches for 142 yards and three TDs, while Gibson ran for 262 yards and three TDs on 14 carries as the Knights amassed 480 yards of offense. A big part of that offensive success can be attributed to an O-line led by Isaiah Gonzalez, who had 14 pancake blocks. Not to be outdone, junior linebacker JP Schmidt had 13 tackles and two interceptions defensively. The Knights have clinched a share of the Metro Suburban Red, while Riverside-Brookfield leads the Metro Suburban Blue division.

About the Bulldogs: R-B, perhaps one of the area's surprise teams, has already matched its win total from last season under first-year head coach Sam Styler. The next two weeks, matchups with IC Catholic and St. Francis, will provide a gauge on just how much progress the Bulldogs have made as they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. They've won four in a row since their lone loss to Wauconda, with a 55-0 win over Westmont last week. Linebacker Drew Swiatek leads a defense that has given up just 21 points over the last four games. Junior guard Jackson Ramos, a third-year varsity player, anchors the O-line.

Ridgewood (3-3) at Westmont (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Westmont 28, Ridgewood 14 (2021)

About the Rebels: Ridgewood comes in off a 51-14 win over Elmwood Park, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Vincent Fanelli, who has 17 years experience as an assistant coach and is also the school's varsity baseball coach, is in his first season as head coach. Junior QB Jaden Rodriguez is also the baseball team's No. 1 pitcher and starting shortstop.

About the Sentinels: Westmont, playing a combination varsity/JV schedule, is coming off a 55-0 loss to Riverside-Brookfield. The Sentinels' win over Ridgewood last year was their only win of the season.

Marist (3-3) at Montini (3-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marist 34, Montini 0 (2021)

About the RedHawks: Marist put up a pretty good fight against Class 8A No. 1-ranked Loyola before losing to 28-17 last week. The RedHawks, like Montini, have some work to do to become playoff eligible, a reflection of their punishing schedule. Marist's three losses are to Glenbard West, Mount Carmel and Loyola, two No. 1-ranked teams and a No. 4-ranked club. Dermot Smyth completed 20 of his 33 passes for 261 yards with one TD and two interceptions against Loyola. Ryan Sims, a Miami (Ohio) recruit, had 100 receiving yards and a TD. Defensive lineman Jamel Howard, a Wisconsin commit, and corner back John Nestor, an Iowa recruit, headline the Marist defense.

About the Broncos: Montini comes off a 33-0 loss to Providence, and the road to the playoffs doesn't get any easier with Marist, Nazareth and Joliet Catholic the next three weeks. Senior QB Cole Teschner has thrown for 1,229 yards and 10 TDs on the season but was hurt by three interceptions in the loss to Providence. His top target Mingo Nixon has 25 catches for 415 yards and five TDs and BJ Searcy has 20 catches for 221 yards and five TDs. Defensively Jonathan Goff has a team-high 55 tackles and Caden Phengkeokaisone has 52 tackles.

Benet (3-3) at South Bend St. Joseph (2-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Redwings: Benet comes off its biggest win of the season, a 21-14 win at Niles Notre Dame, which significantly strengthens the Redwings' playoff hopes. Still, the Redwings have work to do to secure a bid and a tough schedule ahead with Joliet Catholic and Nazareth the last two weeks. This will be Benet's second game against an Indiana opponent this season. The Redwings lost to Noblesville 21-13 in Week 1.

About the Indians: St. Joseph is a two-time Indiana state champion, although this would not be considered a successful season for a program of this pedigree. The Indians have dropped three consecutive games by a combined margin of 118-14. Ben Downey, in the first season of his second stint as St. Joseph head coach, led the Indians to back-to-back Class 4A state title games in his previous tenure, from 2010-2016.

Other Friday DuPage Games

Naperville North (4-2, 1-2) at Metea Valley (1-5, 1-2), 7 p.m.

Neuqua Valley (5-1, 3-0) at Waubonsie Valley (0-6, 0-3), 7 p.m.

IC Catholic Prep (5-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (5-1), 7:15 p.m.

Ridgewood (3-3) at Westmont (2-2), 7 p.m.

Wilmington (5-1, 4-1) at Lisle (3-3, 2-3), 7 p.m. (at Benedictine, Lisle)

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