Rivalry games: Dates to circle on your suburban high school football calendar
Harold "Snub" Prichard, Glen Ellyn High School Class of 1946, remembers the annual football game against Wheaton being canceled several seasons while he was a student.
It was a precautionary move following what local press termed "a miniature riot" between rival fans on the eve of the 1938 game.
When police arrived, the warring factions turned on them. As Snub's pal, the late Joe Carlton, wrote in his history of Glenbard West football, "As the Backs Go Tearing By," 14 arrests resulted from the "Battle of the Ripe Tomatoes."
These rivalry games can get heated. But please, no tomatoes.
Prairie Ridge at Cary-Grove, Sept. 22
In 2011, Cary-Grove coach Brad Seaburg debuted with a 22-21 overtime win in this series dating to 1997. The Trojans were the only team to beat Prairie Ridge that season, as Chris Schremp's Wolves won the Class 6A title.
"Both schools have so much respect for each other, and it's just been a great high school rivalry that brings out the best in high school football," Seaburg said of a series his team leads 16-10.
Maine South at New Trier, Sept. 22
Oct. 7, 2016. That's when New Trier beat Maine South, 27-21, in the Hawks' sole Central Suburban League South defeat since the 2000 season.
However, in March, the Illinois High School Association vacated Maine South's 9 victories in 2022 for using ineligible players, giving the CSL South title to Glenbrook South.
Despite this -- and three Maine South playoff wins over the Trevians -- it remains a rivalry.
Batavia at Geneva, Sept. 29
Not counting a 1912 practice game -- among a zillion facts in George Scheetz's history, "The Biggest Game of the Season" -- Geneva leads the series 51-48 with 5 ties.
Batavia is catching up, on a 12-game win streak that includes shutouts from 2017-21. Geneva won 19 straight from 1967-85.
St. Viator at Carmel, Sept. 29
Mutual respect typifies these East Suburban Catholic Conference veterans now merged with the Chicago Catholic League.
"(We) root for them to represent the ESCC in the postseason -- provided we aren't matched up against them," said Carmel athletic director Nate Brill.
Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet helped St. Viator to a 17-14 victory over Carmel in 2016.
Palatine at Fremd, Sept. 29
The Palatine schools are separated by Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line. Thus, the "Battle of the Tracks."
According to longtime Fremd statistician Mike Brown, Fremd leads the series 32-23. The teams first met in 1967.
Prospect at Hersey, Sept. 29
After Hersey's 41-34 overtime victory over Prospect last season, Hersey coach Tom Nelson said: "It felt like a playoff game."
That's what 4,000 people crowding the field will do. They'll likely do it again. Hersey and Prospect are Nos. 5 and 8, respectively, in this week's Associated Press Class 7A Poll.
Naperville Central vs. Naperville North, Sept. 29, at North Central College
A rivalry so big in 2001 it moved to North Central College's Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium to establish the Wes Spencer Crosstown Classic.
Since then, Naperville North owns a 13-11 advantage including Central's 28-16 playoff win in 2021. They faced each other twice in the 2018 and 2022 seasons on a quirky DuPage Valley Conference schedule.
St. Charles North at St. Charles East, Sept. 29
Take away St. Charles East's 6-game winning streak from 2008-13 and St. Charles North would be ahead in the Cross-Town Classic. The North Stars scored a resounding 42-0 win in 2014, coach Rob Pomazak's first year with the North Stars.
St. Charles East leads the series 13-9 since North's varsity debut in 2001. In 2005 under Ted Monken, the Saints won 40-35 in the regular season and 35-23 in the Class 7A playoffs.
Wheaton North at Wheaton Warrenville South, Sept. 29
Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski is a former WW South defensive coordinator. WW South coach Sean Norris is a former Falcons quarterback.
No matter how you slice it, the programs own 11 state titles and, according to numbers from football historians Kev Varney and Tom Sikorski, have won 67% of their games.
Neuqua Valley at Waubonsie Valley, Oct. 6
First lining up in 1999, Neuqua Valley owns a solid 20-7 edge over its Indian Prairie School District 204 rival, including a 2012 Class 8A quarterfinal win.
The "War of 204" also spent time at North Central College. The rivalry has seen both a Waubonsie 7-0 overtime grinder and a 63-21 Neuqua romp.
Larkin at Elgin, Oct. 13
The annual battle for the Town Jug stands in Larkin's favor, 37-22.
In a memorable contest between the two Elgin high schools, in 2021 Larkin became playoff-eligible when it overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
Royals quarterback Dontrell Maxie threw 2 touchdown passes and ran and threw for 2-point conversions in Larkin's 30-28 win at Memorial Stadium.
Stevenson at Libertyville, Oct. 20
Finally, a Week 9 rivalry game. Stevenson looks to improve on its 23-19 advantage dating to 1982.
Stevenson won six straight between 2009-14 while Libertyville twice won five in a row, from 1985-89 and 2000-04.
They met once in the playoffs, in 1993. Andrew Robertson scored all 5 Libertyville touchdowns in a 34-20 Wildcats win.