Steve Soucie’s Week 3 games to watch: Open season for most conferences around Illinois

St. Charles North vs. Wheaton North highlights DuKane Conference schedule

Joliet Catholic’s Cam Juricich holds off two Providence defenders on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 Joliet Memorial Stadium.

Conference season begins for nearly every league in the state this week.

And when the calendar turns to those games you start to see whether the typical hierarchy is going to hold or if chaos is on the horizon.

A wild nonconference schedule already indicated things likely aren’t going to follow the script were accustomed to.

Here’s a look at some of the top games of Week 3:

St. Rita (2-0) at Joliet Catholic (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Although it’s not a divisional game between two of the premier CCL/ESCC teams, it’s yet another measuring-stick game. This could be a bit of a rock-and-a-hard-place type of contest. St. Rita’s offense has been clicking on all cylinders to start the season while the Joliet Catholic defense has shown signs of being completely dominant.

IC Catholic (2-0) at Benet (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday: IC Catholic is getting formerly introduced to the rigors of the CCL/ESCC. The Knights are still a bit of a wildcard as they hasn’t played the strongest of competition to start the season. Speaking of wildcards, Benet has stormed out of the gates winning back-to-back games comfortably.

Naperville Central (2-0) at Lockport (2-0), 6:30 p.m. Friday: There’s a number of interesting matchups in the crossover arrangement between the DuPage Valley Conference and SouthWest Suburban Conference. This might be the best of the bunch. Naperville Central has grinded out a pair of wins behind a sturdy defense. Did somebody say sturdy defense? Lockport’s got one of those too.

St. Charles North (2-0) at Wheaton North (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday: You can open any week on the DuKane Conference schedule and find at least one doozy of a matchup. This looks like a strong contender for that in Week 3. Wheaton North probably can’t really afford to pick up a second loss this early in the season with what awaits it, but St. Charles North won’t likely give up its momentum without a fight.

Palatine (1-1) at Maine South (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday: Six-team conferences, of which both of these teams are members of, don’t typically begin conference play until Week 5. So, of course, these two load up their nonconference schedules just for fun apparently. Neither expected to find themselves under the .500 mark three games into the season.

Other games of note: Mount Carmel at Niles Notre Dame; Lake Zurich at Stevenson; Lincoln-Way Central vs. O’Fallon at Illinois Wesleyan; Normal Community at Normal Community West; Loyola at Marist; Jacobs at Huntley; Brother Rice at St. Ignatius; Downers Grove North at Glenbard West; Morris at Kaneland; Naperville North at Bolingbrook; Fenwick at Providence; Princeton at Newman Central Catholic.