BCR GAME OF THE WEEK
Kewanee (5-0, 3-0) at Princeton (4-1, 1-0)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, Bryant Field.
Last matchup: PHS 56-7 (2022).
About the Tigers: The Tigers are coming off a 28-6 dismantling of 5A school Sterling, their first over their former NCIC foe in 95 years (last played in 1949). PHS only passed the ball two times, riding a strong running game behind sophomore RB Casey Etheridge (35-174, 3 TDs) and lineman Payne Miller, Cade Odell, Jack May, Anthony Vujanov and Rhett Pearson. That win bumped the Tigers one spot in this week’s AP rankings to No. 3 in 3A. ... This will mark the 125th meeting meeting between the longtime Route 34 rivals. The Tigers hold the all-time series edge at 63-47-4 and have won four of the last five meetings by a combined 197-24 of victory. Princeton won 34-4 in their first meeting in 1897.
About the Boilermakers: New Kewanee head coach Matt Taylor has the Boilermakers off to their second 5-0 start in three years. The Kewanee defense has only allowed two of the first five opponents to score – Sherrard (21 points in Week 1) and Bureau Valley (20 in Week 4). The Boilermakers have shut out E-P (28-0) and Mendota and Hall both by 41-0 finals. Senior QB Brady Clark threw two touchdown passes against Hall last week, while Alex Duarte ran for TDs of 9 and 1 yards. That win was Kewanee’s 13th in their last 14 home games. ... Kewanee surprised the Tigers, 49-21, in Week 4 in 2021 before the Tigers righted the ship to advance to the 3A quarterfinals.
All-time series: PHS 63-47-4
FND pick: Princeton.
Bureau Valley (3-2, 2-1) at Newman (4-1, 0-1)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, Sterling High School.
Last matchup: Newman 27-0 (2022).
About the Storm: The Storm have won three of their first five games, the first time since 2017, and feel like they let one get away from them in Week 2 against Monmouth-Roseville. The road to qualify for the playoffs getting two more wins undoubtedly gets harder beginning this week with the Comets. Newman had a very impressive 22-20 win at Rock Island in Week 4 and followed up with a crossover victory at E-P last week. The Storm also have remaining games with Princeton (4-1), Aurora Central Catholic (2-3) and Morrison (5-0). ... BV didn’t attempt a single pass in last week’s 35-14 win over Mendota, nor did they need to, riding a strong rushing attack led by Elijah Endress (249 yards, 5 TDs). Senior Blake Helms broke a leg during kickoff coverage last week and had season-ending surgery. This will be Bureau Valley’s last game with Newman with the Storm moving to the Lincoln Trail next year. They have lost their last 11 vs. the Comets, last win in Week 8 of the 2009 season, 34-6.
About the Comets: The Comets’ defense has forced 15 turnovers in its first five games and is allowing 12.8 points per game. Newman’s lone loss came at the hands of Princeton, 20-0, in Week 3. The Comets beat Three Rivers West leader Rockridge 12-7 in Week 1. Quarterback Evan Bushman finished 7-for-11 passing for 129 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in last week’s 20-7 win over E-P. The Comets lead the all-time series 12-6.
All-time series: Newman 12-6
FND pick: Newman
IVC (0-5) at Hall (2-3)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, Nesti Stadium.
Last matchup: IVC (34-13 2010)
About the Grey Ghosts: IVC won four of five meetings in NCIC play against Hall from 2006-10, outscoring the Red Devils 106-54 (26.5-13.5) in its four wins, 113-89 (22.6-17.8) overall. IVC is now a member of the Illini Prairie Conference. The Grey Ghosts are 0-5, all in in league play with losses to five teams likely heading to the playoffs with a combined 17-8 record – Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Monticello, Tolono Unity, St. Joseph-Ogden and Prairie Central. They have been outscored 258-100, including a 55-20 loss to Prairie Central last week.
About the Red Devils: It’s also been a rough start for the Red Devils, who have lost every other week thus far, falling to Orion in Week 1, Bureau Valley in Week 3 and Kewanee in Week 5. Their wins have come against two teams – Riverdale and Mendota – who have not won a game yet. The Red Devils have put up 80 points in their two wins, but only 22 in the three games they’ve lost. Hall lost to Kewanee, 41-0, last week.
Elmwood Park (0-5, 0-3) at St. Bede (3-2, 2-1)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday
Last matchup: None.
About the Tigers:The Tigers seek their first win, dropping three straight Chicago Prairie League games to Ottawa Marquette (49-14), Seneca (73-13) and Dwight/Gardner-South Wilmington (35-28) by a combined margin of 157-55 (52.3 to 18.3). Elmwood Park joined the new Chicago Public League coming out of the Metro Suburban Blue, along with fellow CPL newcomer, Ridgewood. The Tigers have not won since Week 2 of the 2022 season, losing their last 12 games.
About the Bruins: St. Bede is off to a 2-1 start in its new conference, the Chicago Prairie League, coming over from the Three Rivers, with convincing wins over Melrose Park Walther Christian (54-0) and Westmont (42-8). Sandwiched between was a 42-27 Week 4 loss at home to Norridge Ridgewood. The Bruins will play in front of a Homecoming crowd Saturday.
FND pick: St. Bede.
Amboy co-op (5-0) at Milledgeville (5-0)
Game time: 7 p.m., Friday
Last matchup: Amboy 40-36 (2022)
About the Clippers: Amboy puts its 5-0 record on the line in a key battle of unbeatens in the 8-man ranks. After this week, the Clippers will face only one other winning team - Polo (4-1) in Week 9 - the rest of the season. Not including a Week 4 forfeit win over Peoria Quest Academy, the Clippers have outscored their four other opponents 235-55 (58.8 to 13.8). QB Eddie Jones is 16-for-22 passing for 440 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He also has rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Landon Whelchel (40 carries, 466 yards, 9 TDs) and Quinn Leffelman (38-445-7) are averaging more than 10 yards per carry. Leffelman also has six sacks. Brennan Blaine has 10 catches for 281 yards and six touchdowns, as well as 40 tackles and seven sacks.
About the Missiles: The Missiles have outscored their opponents 294-94 (58.8 to 18.8) through the first five weeks. In their only common opponent the Missiles beat River Ridge, 48-0, in the season opener while Amboy followed with an 80-8 win in Week 2. Milledgeville beat Kirkland Hiawatha, 74-26, last week.
Other area games
Havana (0-5) at Annawan-Wethersfield (4-1)
LaSalle-Peru (2-3) at Woodstock (0-5)
Ridgewood (2-3) at Marquette (4-1)
Rock Falls (1-4) at North Boone (3-2)
Stark County (5-0) at ROWVA (5-0)
Sterling (2-3) at Geneseo (5-0)
Winnebago (1-4) at Dixon (5-0)
Woodstock North (2-3) at Ottawa (2-3)