Sauk Valley Media football preview capsules for Week 4 of the 2023 season

Rock Falls Korbin Oligney finding his way through the Dixon defense on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 at Rock Falls.


Newman (2-1, 0-1) at Rock Island (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Comets: Newman lost 20-0 to Princeton in Week 3. The defense was a definite bright spot again, forcing four fumbles and holding the Tigers to 14 points until the last two minutes of the game. The Comets were stuffed on the ground all game, finishing with 44 rushing yards on 23 carries (1.91 yards per carry). Junior running back Cody McBride was the leading receiver last week, catching four passes for 40 yards. Newman is averaging 9.3 points and allowing 12.3 points per game this season.

About the Rocks: Rock Island lost 41-7 to Quincy in Week 3. The Rocks have scored only seven points in each of their three games this season and are surrendering 34.3 points per game. Last season’s playoff absence was their first in the past four seasons.

Friday Night Drive pick: Newman


Galesburg (1-2, 0-0) at Sterling (1-2, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sterling 48, Galesburg 21 (2022 Week 3)

About the Golden Warriors: Sterling snapped a two-game losing streak with a 23-19 win at United Township in Week 3. Senior defensive back Miles Nawrocki recovered a fumble in the end zone for a 7-0 Warriors lead in the first 15 seconds. Senior defensive back Gavin Church snagged a game-saving interception deep in Sterling territory with less than two minutes left in the game. Sophomore kicker Ryan Gebhardt went 3 for 3 on field goals with a long kick of 33 yards. Junior quarterback Joseph Holcomb paced the team in rushing, taking 30 carries for 100 yards. Senior running back Cale Ledergerber rushed four times for 49 yards and a touchdown, scoring on a 33-yard, second-quarter run.

About the Silver Streaks: Galesburg lost 35-14 to Indian Creek (Trafalgar, Indiana) in Week 3, following a 41-7 Week 2 win over Limestone. The Silver Streaks are averaging 20.3 points and allowing 32 points per game.

FND pick: Sterling

Dixon's Tyler Shaner finding an open hole in Rock Falls defense in Rock Falls on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.


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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dixon 21, Genoa-Kingston 19 (overtime - 2022 Week 7)

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 only 3-0 teams in the Big Northern Conference. Aiden Wiseman ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns on only 13 carries, while Tyler Shaner threw for 160 yards and two scores, both to Cullen Shaner – including a 77-yard bomb near halftime. Landon Knigge had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score.

About the Cogs: Since the teams started playing annually in 2016, the series is tied at 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 only two prior carries.

FND pick: Dixon

Rock Falls (0-3, 0-3) at Rockford Lutheran (1-2, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Rockford Lutheran 48, Rock Falls 0 (2022 Week 4)

About the Rockets: Rock Falls was limited to 22 yards of offense in a 40-0 Week 3 loss to Dixon. Its only chunk plays last week were a 16-yard run by Korbin Oligney and a 13-yard run by Easton Canales. Facing a gauntlet of Byron, Stillman Valley and Dixon the first three weeks, the Rockets have been outscored 166-13.

About the Crusaders: Rockford Lutheran lost 48-28 to Stillman Valley in Week 3. The Crusaders are averaging 28 points and allowing 45 points per game this season.

FND pick: Rockford Lutheran

Oregon (1-2, 1-2) at Winnebago (1-2, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Winnebago 27, Oregon 8 (2022 Week 4)

About the Hawks: Oregon suffered a 20-14 overtime loss to Genoa-Kingston in Week 3. Quarterback Jack Washburn went 10-for-19 passing for 178 yards with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Berry. Logan Weems added 113 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

About the Indians: Winnebago qualified for the playoffs last season for the first time since 2017. Speedy running back Supreme Muhammad is back to lead the backfield. The Indians lost 55-6 to North Boone in Week 3.

FND pick: Oregon


Morrison (3-0, 1-0) at Erie-Prophetstown (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Morrison 25, Erie-Prophetstown 14 (2022 Week 9)

About the Mustangs: Morrison beat Orion 40-14 in Week 3. The Mustangs are averaging 38.7 points and allowing only 11.7 points per game this season. Their last 3-0 start was in 2019, a year they finished 11-1 and made the Class 1A quarterfinals.

About the Panthers: Erie-Prophetstown lost 42-14 to Monmouth-Roseville in Week 3. Running back Demetree Larson rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns and tallied 28 receiving yards in the loss. His rushing scores came on runs of 70 and 71 yards.

FND pick: Morrison

Bureau Valley's Elijah Endress pushes Hall's Braden Curran away while running past him on Friday, Sept 8, 2023 at Richard Nesti Stadium.

Kewanee (3-0, 1-0) at Bureau Valley (2-1, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kewanee 40, Bureau Valley 7 (2022 Week 4)

About the Storm: Bureau Valley beat Hall 18-8 in Week 3. Running back Cameron Lemons rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, quarterback Bryce Helms threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Corban Chhim, and running back Elijah Endress added an 8-yard rushing score in the win.

About the Boilermakers: Kewanee beat Mendota 41-0 in Week 3. Quarterback Brady Clark completed 5 of 6 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win. The Boilermakers’ other wins this season have come against Sherrard and Erie-Prophetstown. They’re averaging 32.3 points and allowing seven points per game this season.

FND pick: Kewanee


Eastland-Pearl City (0-3, 0-3) at Forreston (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Forreston 34, Eastland-Pearl City 21 (2022 Week 3)

About the Cardinals: Forreston beat Galena 30-16 in Week 3. Running back Owen Mulder rushed for 86 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Kaleb Sanders added 69 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals have limited opposing offenses to 14 points per game this season.

About the Wildcatz: Eastland-Pearl City lost 14-6 to Fulton in Week 3. Running back Draven Zier rushed for 72 yards on seven carries last week, scoring on a 38-yard, second quarter touchdown to draw within one point. Wildcatz quarterback Jackson Corbin finished 6-for-6 passing for 59 yards.

FND pick: Forreston

Fulton (1-2, 1-2) at Stockton (1-2, 0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Fulton 44, Stockton 6 (2022 Week 6)

About the Steamers: Fulton beat Eastland-Pearl City 14-6 in Week 3. The Steamers took the lead in the second quarter on a 3-yard Jimmy Crimmins touchdown run, then pulled away in the third with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Dom Kramer to Trevor Tiesman. Skylier Crooks led the backfield with 69 rushing yards on 16 carries.

About the Blackhawks: Stockton lost 48-20 to Lena-Winslow in Week 3. The Blackhawks played 3-0 Durand-Pecatonica to within four points in Week 1, losing 20-16. They’re averaging 27.7 points and allowing 27 points per game this season.

FND pick: Stockton

Durand-Pecatonica (3-0, 3-0) at West Carroll (0-3, 0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Durand-Pecatonica 53, West Carroll 6 (2022 Week 1)

About the Thunder: West Carroll took a step forward in Week 3 in a 42-20 loss to Aurora Central Catholic after being shut out the first two games by Lena-Winslow and Galena. The Thunder have been outscored 159-20 this season.

About the Rivermen: Durand-Pecatonica pitched shutouts the past two weeks against Eastland-Pearl City and Dakota. The Rivermen are averaging 36.3 points and allowing 5.3 points per game this season.

FND pick: Durand-Pecatonica


Quest Charter (0-3, 0-2) at Amboy-LaMoille-Ohio (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Clippers: Amboy beat Martinsville 60-8 in Week 3. Running back Landon Whelchel rushed for two touchdowns and caught one touchdown, fullback Quinn Leffelman rushed for three touchdowns, and quarterback Eddie Jones threw two touchdowns passes and rushed for one. The Clippers are averaging 62 points per game this season and allowing only 5.3 points per game.

About the Gators: Quest of Peoria has been outscored 166-42 this season, including a 50-6 loss to St. Anne in Week 3. The Gators are playing all of their games on the road this season.

FND pick: Amboy

Polo (2-1, 1-1) at Ridgewood (3-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Polo 38, Ridgewood 32 (2022 I8FA playoffs - second round)

About the Marcos: Polo lost 58-22 to Milledgeville in Week 3. Senior quarterback Brock Soltow scored all three Marcos touchdowns last week, passing for one, rushing for one and catching another. He completed 2 of 3 passes for 37 yards, rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries and caught seven passes for 64 yards. Fellow senior quarterback Carter Merdian went 14-for-23 passing for 138 yards with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Soltow. Running back Noah Dewey was the leading receiver, catching five passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

About the Spartans: Ridgewood finished 9-2 last season. It beat Unity Christian 40-16 in Week 3. The Spartans are averaging 43.3 points and allowing 10 points per game this season.

FND pick: Polo

Milledgeville's Micah Toms-Smith (6) runs with the ball as Polo defenders pursue during Friday, Sept. 8, 2023 action at Polo High School.

Orangeville (1-2, 0-2) at Milledgeville (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Milledgeville 46, Orangeville 8 (2022 Week 1)

About the Missiles: Milledgeville beat Polo 58-22 in Week 3. Quarterback Connor Nye accounted for four total touchdowns and more than 200 yards of offense. He finished 4-for-7 passing for 136 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Karter Livengood twice for scores of 59 and 45 yards. Nye also rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Micah Toms-Smith rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and caught two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. Konner Johnson added 114 rushing yards and two scores on 12 carries.

About the Broncos: Orangeville lost to River Ridge 43-40 in Week 3. The Broncos are averaging 30.7 points and allowing 35 points per game this season. They opened their season with a 46-12 win over Ashton-Franklin Center.

FND pick: Milledgeville

Ashton-Franklin Center (1-2, 0-0) at South Beloit (3-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Ashton-Franklin Center 44, South Beloit 40 (2022 Week 5)

About the Raiders: Ashton-Franklin Center lost 66-6 to Pawnee/Lincolnwood in Week 3. The Raiders are averaging 17.3 points and allowing 48.3 points per game this season. They beat Alden-Hebron 34-33 in Week 2.

About the Sobos: South Beloit beat Alden-Hebron 35-20 in Week 3. The Sobos took down Hiawatha in Week 1 and Peoria Heights in Week 2.

FND pick: South Beloit