BCR GAME OF THE WEEK
Kewanee (3-0, 1-0) at Bureau Valley (2-1, 1-0)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m., Storm Stadium
Last matchup: Kewanee 40-7 (2022)
About the Boilermakers: Matt Taylor has taken over as Kewanee head coach for Brad Swanson, who is now head coach at Harvard. He inherited a large volume of skill position players, returning linemen and nine defensive starters. It has added up to a 3-0 start. The Boilers have opened the season with wins over Sherrard (28-21), Erie-Prophetstown (28-0) and Mendota (41-0), three teams with a combined 1-8 record. The Boilermakers took a 28-0 halftime lead on Mendota and put the running clock into effect with two more scores in the third quarter. ... Ten different players got to run the ball against Mendota last week, totaling 266 yards on 31 attempts. Lead rushers were Alejandro Duarte (6-72) and QB Braden Clark (5-69). Clark ran for a TD and threw for another, also completing 5-6 passes for 97 yards. ... Kewanee has won the last two meetings by a combined score of 89-28 and leads the all-time series, 5-2, dating back to a 48-0 triumph in 1998 in Manlius.
About the Storm: Bureau Valley has taken the season by Storm to start, winning two of their first three games. They beat Erie-Prophetstown (26-7) in its opener and Hall (18-8) last week. They feel like they could’ve beat Monmouth-Roseville in Week 2, but fell 21-14. The Storm defense turned up the on Hall last week, holding the Red Devils to nine yards rushing, negative 16 in the first half. Cameron Lemons led the offensive charge, rushing for 131 yards on 23 attempts, including his very first high school touchdown to clinch the win in the fourth quarter. Running mate Elijah Endress added 82 yards and 15-yard touchdown to give the Storm a 6-0 lead in the second quarter. Junior QB Bryce Helms threw for a 22-yard TD strike to Corban Chhim. ... BV is 2-3 in four home dates with Kewanee, last winning in 2014 (43-6) at home in 2014. The Three Rivers rivals did not play from 2015-20.
Last week: Kewanee beat Mendota 41-0; BV beat Hall 18-8
Last year: Kewanee 40-7
All-time series: Kewanee 5-2
FND pick: BV.
Princeton (2-1) at Orion (2-1)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m., Bryant Field
Last matchup: Princeton 60-20 (2022)
About the Tigers: The Tigers rebounded nicely from a week 2 stumble to Morrison with a 20-0 win at Newman. The Tigers defense pitched a shutout, holding the Comets to 104 net yards, just 24 by rush. Junior Noah LaPorte and senior defensive back Carlos Benavidez had interceptions while linemen Cade Odell, Bennett Williams and Payne Miller each recorded a sack. It was Princeton’s third straight shutout over the Comets and fourth since 2015, three coming on the Comets’ home turf. Sophomore RB Casey Etheridge rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Ace Christiansen (8-31) also scored. ... Princeton has won the last four meetings over the Chargers, including two at Orion, where it is 2-2 in the series. Orion, however, won the first seven games, including a stint in West Central Conference play, and leads the all-time series, 7-4.
About the Chargers: Orion is coming off a 40-14 setback at the hands of Morrison, their first loss of the year. Princeton lost to Morrison the week before. Orion opened with wins over Hall (20-14) and Mendota (56-8). Veteran Orion coach Chip Filler has turned to his son, sophomore, to help lead the Chargers back into the playoffs for the first time since 2019 after 4-5 seasons the past two years. He threw for 1,009 yards passing and 13 TDs as a freshman. ... The Chargers made the playoffs six straight years from 2014-19, nine times since Filler took over in 2009. Despite’s Princeton recent dominance, the Chargers still hold the all-time series edge at 7-4.
Last week: Princeton beat Newman 20-0; Orion lost to Morrison 40-14
Last year: Princeton 60-20
All-time series: Orion 7-4
FND pick: Princeton
Hall (1-2, 0-1) at Mendota (0-3, 0-1)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m., Mendota
Last matchup: Hall 66-45 (2022)
About the Red Devils: Hall needs to get its running game going this week after being grounded by Bureau Valley last week. That is a must as coach Randy Tieman said they’re not a passing team. Senior QB Gianni Guerrini shined when pressed to pass, completing 8 of 20 passes for 155 yards, including a 70-yard TD pass to Braden Curran. ... The Red Devils won a 66-45 shootout last year over the Trojans on the strength of All-Stater Mac Resetich’s record-breaking game with 429 yards (14.3 ypc) and seven touchdowns. ... Hall leads the all-time series over Mendota, 41-38, which dates back to 1917 in their days in the NCIC.
About the Trojans: It’s been a tough start for the Trojans, who have been outscored 151-8 in losses to Morrison (54-0), Orion (56-8) and Kewanee (41-0). Mendota went 3-6 last year after reaching the playoffs in 2021 (5-5). ... Justin Randolph, who threw for 1,472 yards, 11 touchdowns in 2022, is back at quarterback for the Trojans. Mendota has gone 3-9 in Three Rivers Conference play since coming over from the Big Northern Conference in 2021.
Last week: Hall lost to Bureau Valley 18-8, Mendota lost to Kewanee 41-0
Last year: Hall 66-45
All-time series: Hall 41-38
FND pick: Hall.
Norridge Ridgewood (1-2, 0-1) at St. Bede (2-1, 1-0)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: None
About the Rebels: Ridgewood lost for the first time last week in a 32-26 setback at home to Dwight-Gardner/South Wilmington, its first game in Chicago Prairie League play. The Rebels won its first two games handedly in nonconference play over Chicago Schurz (50-14) and Chicago Clemente (48-6). Ridgewood, which has a enrollment of 797, previously was a member of the Metro Suburban (Blue) Conference.
About the Bruins: The Bruins made a grand debut in the Chicago Prairie League with a 54-0 win at Melrose Park Walther Christian Saturday. They scored 26 points in the first quarter and put the running clock in play for the second half, leading 40-0 at the half. Senior QB Max Bray completed 4 of 7 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns while running for 60 yards and a score. The Bruins defense held the Broncos to minus-2 rushing yards and 45 passing yards while recovering five fumbles. ... St. Bede returns the Academy looking for its first win on its home field following a 38-18 loss to Aledo Mercer County in Week 2. St. Bede will be back on the road at Westmont in Week 5.
Last week: Ridgewood lost to Dwight-GSW 32-26; St. Bede Walther Christian 54-0
FND pick: St. Bede
Peoria Quest Charter Academy (0-3) at Amboy co-op (3-0)
Game time: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last matchup: None
About the Gators: Quest previously co-oped with Peoria Heights, but is in its first year on its own. The Gators were initially going to play a JV schedule, but AD Elmer Dickerson said they were able to take over a schedule of another varsity team. Quest is playing all of its games on the road this year while preparing a home field at the school. ... As each week goes by, the Gators continue to score less and less. They opened with a 52-22 loss at Danville Schlarman, a 64-14 loss at Milledgeville and last week a 50-6 loss at St. Anne.
About the Clippers: After two big victories on the road - River Ridge (80-8) and Martinsville (60-8) the Clippers set sail back to the Harbor at 3-0. They have won their first three games of the year by a margin of 186-16, including a 46-0 opening win at home over Decatur Unity Christian.
Last week: Quest lost to St. Anne 50-6; ALO beat Martinsville 60-8
FND pick: ALO.
Other area games
Genoa-Kingston (2-1) at Dixon (3-0)
Monmouth United (2-1) at Annawan-Wethersfield (2-1)
Morrison (3-0) at E-P (0-3)
Newman (2-1) at Rock Island (0-3)
Plano (2-1) at L-P (2-1)
Rock Falls (0-3) at Rockford Lutheran (1-2)
Rockridge (2-1) at Sherrard (1-2)
Stark County (3-0) at Havana (0-3)
Sycamore (3-0) at Ottawa (2-1)
Westmont (1-2) at Ottawa Marquette (2-1)