Daily Chronicle Week 4 football preview capsules

DeKalb's Michael Hodge returns a kickoff during their game against Sandburg Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at DeKalb High School.


DeKalb (1-2) at Metea Valley (0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The Barbs won last year 48-0.

About the Barbs: Talen Tate had 215 yards of total offense last week in a 41-34 loss to Sandburg. He has 453 all-purpose yards this year. He had five catches for 102 yards last week in a big game for sophomore quarterback Cole Latimer, who threw for 244 yards, including 94 to sophomore Davon Grant. Four receivers had at least four catches for the Barbs. Coach Derek Schneeman said despite the heartbreaking loss – the Barbs had a two-score lead in the first half and were one stumble on a fumble recovery away from a scoop and score and three-touchdown lead – morale is high as DVC play begins.

About the Mustangs: Quarterback Lucas Van Vlerah and receiver Nico Carrier have been a big-play duo for the Mustangs this year. Almost half of Van Vlerah’s completions have gone to Carrier. Van Vlerah is also the team’s leading rusher. The Mustangs still are looking for their second all-time playoff berth, last qualifying after a 5-4 regular season in 2014. Since a 17-10 win in Aurora against DeKalb, Metea Valley has lost 13 of 15 games, including its past seven.

Friday Night Drive pick: DeKalb


Sycamore (3-0, 1-0) at Ottawa (2-1, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sycamore won 54-20 last year.

About the Pirates: While a Week 1 win in a tight game against Plano would have been nice, Ottawa has bounced back with two straight convincing victories – 41-0 over Streator and 38-8 over Harvard last Friday – to right the ship. This Friday brings the Pirates’ toughest test to date and arguably of the season. To keep themselves in range for an upset, the Pirates will need to continue the offensive success that has led to them averaging 361.7 yards from scrimmage per game.

About the Spartans: Sycamore extended its regular-season winning streak to 12 games last week with a 42-0 win against Woodstock. It was the first shutout of the season for the Spartans, who had six shutouts last year with their first a 41-0 win against Woodstock in Week 3. Tyler Curtis had 141 rushing yards on 15 carries and a score in the win.

FND pick: Sycamore

Kaneland (1-2, 0-1) at Woodstock (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland won 49-7 last year.

About the Knights: Kaneland led early in the fourth quarter against Class 4A No. 3 Morris, but couldn’t hold on in a 43-33 loss, giving up the final 15 points of the game. Both Kaneland losses have come in the closing minutes, with Washington staging a similar comeback in Maple Park in Week 1. Troyer Carlson threw for 170 and ran for 175 in the loss, accounting for four total touchdowns. Dom DeBlasio had five catches for 120 yards, while Josh Mauthe ran for 129 yards.

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock fell to Sycamore 42-0 last week. … That was the second time the Blue Streaks were shut out, with the first coming in a 40-0 loss to Rochelle in the season opener. … RB Landen Stoltz leads the Streaks with 159 yards rushing. … QB Caden Thompson has thrown for 325 yards and three touchdowns. WR Charlie Gilmore has 10 catches for 141 yards.

FND pick: Kaneland


Genoa-Kingston (2-1, 2-1) at Dixon (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The Dukes won 21-13 last year.

About the Cogs: Since the teams started playing annually in 2016, the series is tied 3-3. The Cogs won the past two games in the series by a combined score of 69-31 before last year’s win for the Dukes. Dixon won the prior two meetings by a combined 67-34. After a loss at North Boone, the Cogs got back on track with a 20-14 home win against Oregon in overtime. Nathan Kleba saved his best for last, rushing for a 12-yard touchdown on the second overtime play for G-K after just two carries prior.

About the Dukes: Dixon scored on its first five possessions last week to roll to a 40-0 win at home against Rock Falls, a win that kept the Dukes along with Byron as the lone 3-0 teams in the Big Northern Conference. Aiden Wiseman ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 touches, while Tyler Shaner threw for 159 yards and two scores, both to Cullen Shaner – including a 77-yard bomb near halftime. Landon Knigge had a 97-yard kickoff return for a score.

FND pick: Dixon


Hiawatha (1-2) at Rockford Christian Life (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Last matchup: The Hawks won 66-24 last year.

About the Hawks: The Hawks got their first win of the season in their first home game, 48-0 against Danville Schlarman. Braeden Ross had 10 tackles. He had four tackles for a loss and three sacks as the Hawks picked up their first shutout since a 56-0 win against Ashton-Franklin Center on Sept. 24, 2021.

About the Eagles: Hiawatha coach Kenny McPeek said the Hawks have a size advantage in the game, but thinks the Eagles have improved a lot since last season. The Eagles’ lone win was a 36-0 win at Galva in Week 2. They lost 16-6 to West Prairie last week. The team last made the playoffs in 2019 and last made the 11-man playoffs in 2015.

FND pick: Hiawatha