Scouting Week 6 DuPage County football games
Naperville North (3-2, 1-1) vs. Naperville Central (4-1, 2-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday at North Central College
Last matchup: Naperville North won, 31-3, last year
About the Huskies: Versatile defensive back/wide receiver/punter Luke Williams recorded a pair of interceptions, while backup quarterback Carson Marlar completed 12 of 15 passes for 132 yards during the Huskies' 42-20 victory over DeKalb last week. Led by tailback Cole Arl, the Huskies amassed 368 rushing yards against the Barbs. "Our offense has been up and down this year," said Huskies coach Sean Drendel. "Very high efficiency at times and very low at others. Cole Arl has been a rock of consistency running the ball. Carson (Marlar) did a great job of managing the game and we value the pigskin. Need to do more of that." This week, the challenge figures to be tougher against a Naperville Central team fueled by its defense (51 points allowed in 5 games). "It will be a great atmosphere and venue and has been for many years. I think both programs are back on the rise so that makes for an exciting game this year." How hard will it be to keep emotions in check? "Emotions are essential to football but need to not get too high on great plays or too low on poor plays," added Drendel. "The team that can play with high emotion but have control of it generally wins the game." The Huskies could get their quarterback, Jacob Bell, back for this one. "Jacob is good," said Drendel. "We are excited to get him back on the field. He will be 100 percent and ready to go -- as will Carson."
About the Redhawks: The annual -- or sometimes twice-a-year battle of Naperville is one of the highlights of every DuPage Valley Conference season. Last week, quarterback Jack Cook scored on a pair of keepers and tossed a touchdown pass before going down with an injury in the second half. "We will get more clarity the next two days with our two padded practices," Ulreich said of Cook's availability. "But he is a tough kid, and we expect him to be back." Against Neuqua Valley last week, the Redhawks' defense continued to shine in a 21-7 victory. "Our defense was impressive closing out that game," said the coach. "What was most impressive was that Maverick Ohle, Christian Kuta, and Daniel Nussbaum took almost all the snaps on both sides of the ball. With Jack (Cook) going down, they had to play in our Wildcat package to finish the game." Ulreich expects another great game against Naperville North. "This crosstown game is an experience of a lifetime for our players," he said. "We love the rivalry, and we love the tradition of playing this game at North Central. Emotions will run high and often momentum plays a huge role in these games. We just need to keep a clear head and play one play at a time. We can't turn the ball over and give our rivals momentum. We turned the ball too often in our two meetings last year. That is certainly the message all week."
Neuqua Valley (2-3, 1-1) at Metea Valley (0-5, 0-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Neuqua Valley won, 36-0, last year
About the Wildcats: Neuqua Valley would welcome a better start than the one last week against Naperville Central. An early interception set up the Redhawks in the red zone, where they scored to grab a 7-0 lead. Trailing 14-0, the Wildcats tallied their lone touchdown when backup quarterback Kiet Truong connected with Carter Stare for a 55-yard strike in the second quarter. Neuqua Valley's defense has been solid throughout the season. If the Wildcats want to make the playoffs, this game is almost a must. Neuqua Valley has reached the postseason in 11 of the last 12 years -- not counting the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
About the Mustangs: Injuries continue to pile up for the Mustangs, who dropped a 28-0 decision to Waubonsie Valley last weekend. Metea Valley is looking for its first victory over Neuqua Valley. The Mustangs are 0-9 in games played since 2015 and have allowed 31-plus points in all 9 contests.
Glenbard South (5-0, 5-0) at South Elgin (5-0, 5-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: South Elgin won, 49-27, last year
About the Raiders: Winless in 5 tries against 4-time defending Upstate Eight Conference champion South Elgin since 2018, the Raiders get another crack at the Storm Friday night. Led by electrifying receiver/kick returner Cam Williams,[ running back Drake London, and senior veteran quarterback Michael Champagne, the Raiders are loaded with explosiveness. "Glenbard South has won four of the last six conference Player of the Year awards, so we're very aware that they are, by far, the most talented team in the Upstate Eight annually," said Storm coach Dragan Teonic. "Their QB is seasoned and has had good moments against us in the past, and they have one of the best all-around athletes in Illinois (Notre Dame-bound Williams), so that is a great challenge for us. The challenge for every team that plays Glenbard South is keeping Cam's success to a minimum -- obviously, that's much easier said than done." The Raiders scored 63 points in their 42-point win over Bartlett last week. That game was tied 7-all after 1 quarter, so the Raiders will be looking for a faster start Friday night.
About the Storm: A week ago, South Elgin earned a 49-21 victory over East Aurora behind the play of quarterback Jack Ginnan and tight end/wide receiver Ishmael George, who has been a matchup problem for opponents. "We established the line of scrimmage and executed at a high level," Teonic said of last weekend's victory. "We're close to being a really good team and need to work on consistency moving forward. We've yet to give up a point in the second half in all five games. Obviously, we need to start games with the same attitude and effort." In recent years, South Elgin has beaten the Raiders on the ground. "We've averaged over 400 yards rushing against them over the last 5 seasons and that has kept their great, explosive offensive talent on the sideline," said the coach. "That's a big key to beating teams that are consistently more talented." What will it take to win Friday night? "We need to be exceptional with ball security because extra possessions only help the Raiders," said Teonic. "We must run the ball effectively. Staying ahead of the chains and establishing control of the line of scrimmage is paramount. We must limit the explosive plays Cam Williams and Michael Champagne have because they are exceptional talents and pose major issues for us. We also must win the special teams battle, and that has been a huge component of our success against Glenbard South in the past."
Fenton (0-5, 0-5) at Bartlett (2-3, 2-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Bartlett won, 52-29, last year
About the Bison: Junior quarterback Nathan Stewart and 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end/defensive end Jordan Wilson look to lead Fenton to its first victory. "Their record doesn't matter -- Fenton has some dudes," Bartlett coach Milan Vuckovich said of the Bison. "They've got a solid line on both sides of the ball, and their quarterback (Stewart) can make plays with both his arm and legs. We'll need to be sound on defense and pursue the ball with relentless effort."
About the Hawks: Against Glenbard South (63-21 loss) last week, the Hawks opened the game with a 10-plus minute drive and tied the game at 7-all after one quarter. Quarterback Vincent Yario connected with Nick Carlos for a 44-yard touchdown pass. Then, the Raiders scored 42 second-quarter points to put the game away.
Elgin (1-4, 1-4) at Glenbard East (4-1, 4-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Glenbard East won, 28-0, last year
About the Maroons: Held to 62 yards rushing last week in a 28-6 loss to West Chicago, the Maroons' highlight was provided by Lamyni Spates, who caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Darin Ward in the final minutes of the game.
About the Rams: Defensively, the Rams may have the strongest unit in the Upstate Eight. Through 5 games, the Rams have allowed just 36 points -- an average of 7 points per contest. "Our defense has been pretty solid over the last few years," said Rams coach John Walters. "Again, it's a culture here -- defense and being a defensive player." Last week, defensive linemen Dan Zlatanov, Nick Dillon, Cooper Conliss, and Dakota Smith helped limit Streamwood to just 65 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, quarterback Blake Salvino completed 7 of 11 passes for 156 yards and 2 TDs, while tailback Matt Larson rushed for 122 yards on 9 carries with 3 TDs against Streamwood. Led by offensive linemen Josh Kelly, Jesus Vasquez, Chris Monk, Nate Schram, and Elias Morales, the Rams tallied 4 second-quarter touchdowns last weekend. Walters will have his team prepared for the Maroons. "Elgin is a very skilled team," said the coach. "They have some game breakers. We need to make sure we keep them in check. We've been good in three phases all year. That will be our emphasis Friday night."
Streamwood (1-4, 1-4) at West Chicago (3-2, 3-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: West Chicago won, 46-24, last year
About the Sabres: Last week, the Sabres avoided being shut out when Juan Cortes scored a touchdown with 14 seconds remaining during their 41-7 loss to Glenbard East. Now, they'll focus on giving West Chicago a tough time Friday night. "West Chicago is a team similar to our own," said Streamwood coach Keith McMaster. "They run a double wing style offense and run it well. They play smashmouth football on both sides of the ball. We went through the gauntlet the last couple weeks playing the two Glenbards. We're hoping that sets us up for the rest of the season."
About the Wildcats: Senior tailback Vincent Muci rushed for 127 yards on 13 carries and scored 3 touchdowns during the Wildcats' 28-6 victory over Elgin, atoning for last year's 48-20 loss to the Maroons. "It felt really good to get the win over Elgin," said Wildcats coach Adam Chavez. "They beat us soundly last year, so to be able to go there and get a win is big for us. We wanted to play physical on offense and tough on defense. I believe we accomplished both of those goals." Chavez called last week's defensive effort "the best I've seen since I've been here." Davd Weber forced a fumble that Diego Contreras recovered to stop a potential Elgin drive. Now, they set their sights on Streamwood. "Streamwood always presents a challenge to us," said Chavez. "Like us, they run an offense (double wing) that you don't see much in today's game, so being able to replicate that in practice will be a challenge. It might be one of the fastest games on Friday night with both teams chewing up the clock and running the ball." With unbeaten Glenbard South and improved East Aurora waiting in the wings, the Wildcats need a win to bolster their postseason hopes. "Making the playoffs was one of our goals going into the season," added the coach. "We talk about it but with the mindset of focusing on each week and trying to go 1-0 every Friday."
IC Catholic Prep (5-0, 1-0) at St. Francis (3-2, 0-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: IC won, 25-14, last year
About the Knights: Spartans coach Bob McMillen, who was a standout football player in his days at IC Catholic Prep for legendary Knights coach Jack Lewis, knows the task at hand. "IC has been one of the top teams for the past 10 years," said McMillen. "They always seem to be competing for a state championship. You can't make mistakes against them because it's so hard to recover. They have a lot of weapons -- we are just hoping we can slow them down." The Knights have won back-to-back nail-biters -- 36-34 in overtime over Nazareth, and 28-21 over Marist last week. Against Marist, Joey Gliatta scored a pair of touchdowns in a 4-minute span -- a 42-yard catch from quarterback Dennis Mandala that tied the game at 21-all, and a 15-yard run that gave the Knights a 28-21 lead with 4 minutes remaining. Mandala completed 18 of 30 passes for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns, while KJ Parker had 9 catches for 114 yards. Due to their resilience, the Knights can never be counted out of a game. "To play close games against teams like Naz and Marist is incredible," said Knights coach Bill Krefft. "The atmosphere at IC has been electric, and it has energized our whole school." Now, they prepare for another tough foe in St. Francis. "I think St. Francis is another powerhouse football program," said the coach. "It will take everything we have to compete with them. They are physical and resilient. This game is the same it has been the last 5 years or so -- rivalry week. It is a conference opponent we look forward to having the opportunity to compete against."
About the Spartans: Trailing Joliet Catholic by 14 points in the second quarter last week, the Spartans rallied for a much-needed, 33-28 victory behind senior quarterback Alessio Milivojevic (20 of 29, 322 yards) and tailback TyVonn Ransom (157 yards, 2 TDs). Milivojevic can spread the wealth to his talented receiving corps, headed by Ian Willis, DeShaun Williams, and Alessio's younger brother, Dario. The IC-St. Francis rivalry, once a staple from their Suburban Catholic Conference days, has continued to blossom in recent years. "We have been fortunate to play IC the last 5 years when we were in the Metro Suburban Conference together," said McMillen. "It has turned into a nice rivalry during that time, and it always turns out to be a good football game. That's what it's all about." What are the Spartans' keys to the game? "Matching their physical play, not giving up the big scores, and not starting behind the sticks on offense," said the coach.
Lake Park (3-2, 1-2) at Glenbard North (0-5, 0-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Glenbard North won, 35-14, last year
About the Lancers: Running back Declan Fortuna has been a model of consistency for the Lancers, having topped the 100-yard mark in each of the team's 5 games. During last week's 24/7 win over St. Charles East, Fortuna scored a pair of touchdowns, while the defense forced a pair of turnovers. "Declan is having a breakout year," Lancers coach Chris Kirkpatrick said. "He had a great offseason and grew into our feature back and one of our captains and team leaders. He is averaging over 100 yards per game with 6 rushing touchdowns. College scouts need to take notice of him. He can play any skill position at the next level, and he's dangerous in the screen game, too. Credit also goes out to Nick Cairo, Charlie Michelini, Armand Voloder, Jeffery Rustemi, and Austin Lindenmuth. This starting offensive line is playing as one solid unit. They're big, physical, and they communicate well to protect the quarterback and open huge running lanes for our ball carriers." Kirkpatrick expects a challenge from the Panthers. "Glenbard North is well coached and physical," said the coach. "We are preparing for a 4-quarter battle."
About the Panthers: Playing plenty of underclassmen has the Panthers looking ahead to the future. "The jump from freshman football to varsity is a big one, let alone to make that jump in the DuKane Conference makes it that much more significant," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens. "The game is moving fast for them, but it will slow down for them as juniors and seniors and make them that much better as players and leaders." One of those sophomores, Lucas Kramer, has already made an impact on both sides of the ball. "Lucas is playing outstanding for us on the defensive line," said Wilkens. "He is also our second leading ball carrier. At 5-11, 215 pounds, Lucas is a load and has speed and agility to go along with his size. As a defender, you're not sure if he's going to run around or through you, which makes him a problem to tackle." Wilkens adds that the 5 sophomores up on varsity are getting better each week. "They are still battling," said the coach. "Having running back Donato Gatses, who missed the first couple weeks due to an injury, finding his groove has lifted the team." Wilkens knows the Lancers present challenges Friday night. "Lake Park is big and physical on both sides of the ball," he said. "They run the ball and defend the run very well. The tailback (Fortuna) is composed, patient, and explosive, and the quarterback (George Tzamouranis) is a threat running and passing the ball."
Bishop McNamara (3-2, 1-2) at Wheaton Academy (4-1, 2-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Wheaton Academy won, 47-0, last year
About the Fighting Irish: Bishop McNamara has experienced some offensive issues, having scored 40 points in 4 games and having been blanked twice. Last week, the Irish suffered a 51-0 setback at the hands of Aurora Christian. "We're looking at McNamara as just another opponent and one who, if we defeat, gets us to playoff eligibility (5 wins)," said Warriors coach Jim Johanik. "They have a significant weapon in RB (Jaydon) Wright that we have to address to be successful against them." Wright is a bruising 6-foot, 230-pound senior.
About the Warriors: Johanik has been impressed with the play of senior quarterback Brett Kasper, who completed 11 of 12 passes for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Warriors' 48-0 win over St. Edward last week. "Give me the name of another athlete in the state who transitioned from WR last year at QB this year and has been as effective as Brett has," said Johanik. "On top of that, he has four interceptions on defense. In a day when the quarterback position has become as technical and specialized as it is, Brett has embraced being a technician at quarterback the same way he has at receiver and at defensive back. That's hard to do, but he has done it. On top of it, he's a leader. He's the real deal, just like his brother, Eddie, who played for us a few years back and is now a starting WR at Illinois State."
Westmont (1-4, 0-3) at Dwight/Gardner South Wilmington (4-1, 3-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Sentinels: Westmont looks for its first Chicagoland Prairie Conference victory during this road clash in Palos Heights.
About the Trojans: After dropping their opener, 20-19, to Fieldcrest, the Trojans have compiled a 4-game winning streak that included a 70-0 triumph over Walther Christian. Dwight/Gardner South Wilmington has already doubled last season's entire win total (2-7 record last year).
York (5-0, 2-0) at Downers Grove North (5-0, 3-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: York 24, Downers Grove North 17 (2022)
About the Dukes: York ran its regular-season win streak to 16 games dating back to the 2021 season with its 38-10 win over Hinsdale Central last week. The Dukes piled up 467 yards of offense with quarterback Sean Winton throwing for 196 yards and two TDs, one each to Chris Danko and Luke Mailander, and Jake Melion rushing for 213 yards and three TDs. Defensively, Cole Ostendorf and Jack Trautmann each had seven tackles, 3.5 of them for loss. While York has emerged as the top dog in the West Suburban Silver the last year and a half, the Dukes were pushed quite a bit by Downers Grove North in last season's game.
About the Trojans: Downers Grove North is 5-0 for the first time since 2003. Now it takes on its biggest challenge in a showdown of West Suburban Silver unbeatens that could decide the league title. The Trojans are coming off a 38-6 win over Oak Park-River Forest. Sophomore QB Owen Lansu threw for two TDs and ran for one. Noah Battle has been the workhorse out of the Trojans' backfield, but Jake Gregorio ran for over 100 yards with a 71-yard TD last week.
Glenbard West (3-2, 1-1) at Hinsdale Central (1-4, 0-2)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Glenbard West 45, Hinsdale Central 15 (2022)
About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West's offense which has struggled to put up points all season broke out in a big way last week in a 55-13 win over Leyden. Teyion Oriental ran for three TDs, including a 66-yarder, and Aidan Murphy ran for an 80-yard TD and caught a score. While the Hilltoppers' offense picked up the pace last week, the defense has been for the most part a constant -- a total of 29 points allowed in Glenbard West's three wins.
About the Red Devils: Hinsdale Central has played an extremely difficult schedule up to this point, reflected in the team's struggles. The Red Devils were held to just 58 yards rushing against York while giving up a total of 467 yards. Hinsdale Central has had some fierce battles against Glenbard West in recent seasons and will need to summon that competitive spirit in another difficult matchup.
Downers Grove South (2-3, 2-0) at Hinsdale South (2-3, 2-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Downers Grove South 26, Hinsdale South 6 (2022)
About the Mustangs: Downers Grove South is coming off a 34-0 win over Morton, the Mustangs' second straight win after an 0-3 start. Fraja Maggitt, Will Potter, Cameron Kasper, Max Cherep and Anthony Smith each scored TDs in Downers Grove South's win.
About the Hornets: Hinsdale South comes off a 37-34 loss to Willowbrook that snapped a two-game winning streak. Junior Langston Love had 188 yards passing and three TDs in the loss. This Friday's game provides a second opportunity for the Hornets against an upper crust opponent in the Gold.
Willowbrook (3-2, 2-1) at Proviso East (1-4, 0-3)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Last matchup: Willowbrook 42, Proviso East 6 (2022)
About the Warriors: Willowbrook comes in off a wild one, a 37-34 win over Hinsdale South last week. Senior QB Arthur Palicki was 16-for-24 passing for 273 yards and three TDs, and ran for 115 yards and two TDs. The Warriors' next four opponents currently feature 1-4 records so an opportunity certainly exists to run the table.
About the Pirates: Proviso East comes in off a 42-12 loss to Addison Trail. The Pirates' defense has struggled to stop anybody this season. Proviso East has given up a total of 155 points in its four losses, the lone win over district rival Proviso West.
Wheaton North (3-2, 2-1) at Wheaton Warrenville South (2-3, 1-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Wheaton North 8, Wheaton Warrenville South 7 (2022)
About the Falcons: Wheaton North comes in off a 23-17 loss to Batavia. Despite the outcome, the Falcons cannot feel too bad about things. Max Howser threw for 241 yards and a TD and Rich Schilling had nine catches for 110 yards and a score. Walker Owens is a two-way threat to watch at running back and defensive end. The Falcons have won their last three meetings with the Tigers, but they've come by a total of six points.
About the Tigers: WW South comes in off a tough 42-35 loss in overtime to St. Charles North, a game in which the Tigers led 21-0 in the second quarter and 27-14 entering the fourth quarter. Senior running back/linebacker Matt Crider was spectacular in defeat, with 293 yards and four TDs on 37 carries in only his second game back from injury. The Tigers could very much use a crosstown win here to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Montini (5-0, 1-0) at Providence (3-2, 0-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
About the Broncos: Montini has quickly put the past few years of disappointments behind them and has already made itself playoff eligible. It's been an adventure at almost every step to this point. Last season the Broncos struggled to finish games with a largely young core. Now experienced, Montini has had several successful late rallies including a come-from-behind victory over upstart Marian Catholic in Week 5.
About the Celtics: Providence survived a substantial scare from DePaul Prep and managed to stay above the .500 mark on the season. The Celtics continue to look for some more consistency on offense and it is a riddle they will have to solve in a hurry as the next three opponents on the Celtics schedule have a combined record of 14-1.
St. Laurence (4-1, 1-0) at Benet (3-2, 0-1)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Last matchup: Benet 21, St. Laurence 17 (2019)
About the Vikings: St. Laurence comes in off a 50-8 win over Leo. The Vikings, who have one win by forfeit, have put up huge numbers offensively off the field, averaging 46.5 points in those four games. St. Laurence has already surpassed last year's win total, a 3-6 finish. A big reason is the return from injury of senior running back Aaron Ball. Ball, who has offers from South Dakota and Western Illinois, ran for 140 yards and four TDs last week. Senior Corey Taubr, a wide receiver and defensive back, is in his third season as a two-way starter.
About the Redwings: Benet bounced back from back-to-back losses with a 20-12 win over DeLaSalle. Rocky Rosanova caught a TD pass from Ryan Kubacki Jr. and added an interception return for a TD in the fourth quarter. Kubacki Jr. also ran for a score. With games remaining against Loyola and Providence Weeks 8 and 9, this is a pivotal one for Benet's playoff hopes.