Northwest Herald preview capsules for Week 7 of the 2023 season

Huntley at Cary-Grove highlights week in battle of FVC 5-1 teams

Cary-Grove's Jake Hornok scores a touchdown after catching a Peyton Seaburg pass during a Fox Valley Conference football game against Prairie Ridge on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Cary-Grove High School in Cary.


Huntley (5-1, 5-1) at Cary-Grove (5-1, 5-1)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Huntley defeated C-G 17-14 in Week 6 last season.

About the Red Raiders: Huntley beat Crystal Lake South 53-43 last week to become playoff eligible. … The Red Raiders are No. 8 in The Associated Press Class 8A poll. … RB Haiden Janke is fourth in area rushing with 656 yards and has 14 touchdowns, most of any area player. … QB Braylon Bower is completing 77.4% of his passes and has 824 yards with 10 touchdowns. … WR Jacob Witt leads the team with 24 receptions after a nine-catch game last week.

About the Trojans: C-G beat Hampshire 41-21 last week. … The Trojans made the playoffs 17 consecutive years before that streak was stopped last year. Now, they are back. … FB Logan Abrams leads C-G with 635 yards rushing, while RB Andrew Prio is the team’s top big-play threat with 423 yards and averaging 12.8 yards a carry. … QB Peyton Seaburg has seven touchdown passes among his eight completions. … C-G’s defense has allowed 95 points, third-best in the FVC. … C-G is No. 6 in Class 6A.

Friday Night Drive pick: Cary-Grove

Prairie Ridge (6-0, 6-0) at Burlington Central (3-3, 3-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Prairie Ridge beat Central 63-28 in Week 2 last season.

About the Wolves: Prairie Ridge beat Dundee-Crown 50-8 last week. … The Wolves are ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, and their 68 points allowed are best in the FVC. … FB Jack Finn is third in the area with 667 yards. RB Dom Creatore has 371 yards rushing, and QB Joey Vanderwiel has 283. … The Wolves are trying to repeat as FVC champs after sharing with Huntley and Jacobs last year.

About the Rockets: Central lost to Jacobs 28-7 last week. … The Rockets have battled some injury problems with RB Joey Kowall out for most of the past three games. QB Ryder Bergemann, the backup to start the season, went out, but returned last week. Sophomore Landon Arnold stepped in when Bergemann was out. … Whoever is at quarterback has plenty of targets with Michael Person (24 receptions), Brady Gilroy (22), LJ Kerr (17) and Caden West (13).

FND pick: Prairie Ridge.

Jacobs’  Caden DuMelle runs the ball against Prairie Ridge in varsity football at Crystal Lake Friday night.

Jacobs (3-3, 3-3) at Crystal Lake Central (4-2, 4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Jacobs defeated Central 35-14 in Week 2 last season.

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs defeated Burlington Central 28-7 last week. … The Golden Eagles need two more wins to reach the Class 7A playoffs for a third consecutive year. Their past three opponents (Central, McHenry and Crystal Lake South are a combined 6-12). … Sophomore RB Caden DuMelle leads Jacobs with 640 rushing yards, RB Tyvon Boddie is next with 334.

About the Tigers: Central beat McHenry 42-0 last week. … The Tigers have a 10-quarter scoreless streak on defense. The last team that scored on them was Burlington Central in the second quarter of Week 4. Central’s 72 points allowed are second-lowest in the FVC to Prairie Ridge’s 68. … QB Jason Penza has thrown for 1,759 yards with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions. … WR George Dimopoulos is fourth among area receivers with 33 catches. Tommy Hammond has 25, and Drake Tomasiewicz and Carter Kelley each have 13. … RB Griffin Buehler has rushed for 613 yards. … The Tigers have won four consecutive games.

FND pick: Crystal Lake Central

McHenry (0-6, 0-6) at Crystal Lake South (2-4, 2-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Crystal Lake South beat McHenry 41-14 in Week 7 last season.

About the Warriors: McHenry lost to Crystal Lake Central 42-0 last week. … RB Jacob Jones is McHenry’s leading rusher with 305 yards. … The Warriors have struggled to score with an FVC-low 33 points.

About the Gators: South lost to Huntley 54-43 last week. … QB Caden Casimino set the FVC record with 551 passing yards in last week’s loss. He completed 36 of 65 passes with four touchdowns. Casimino has thrown for 1,493 yards. … WR Colton Hess is fifth among area receivers with 32 receptions and has eight touchdowns, which is second in the area. … RB Jake Christensen has 489 rushing yards.

FND pick: Crystal Lake South.

Hampshire (1-5, 1-5) at Dundee-Crown (1-5, 1-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dundee-Crown beat Hampshire 36-30 in Week 2 last season.

About the Whip-Purs: Hampshire lost to Cary-Grove 41-21 last week. … The Whip-Purs led C-G 14-13 at halftime, but the Trojans scored 34 consecutive points. … RB Cole Klawikowski took over the area rushing lead with a 192-yard game last week and now has 725 for the season. … WR Ari Fivelson has 20 receptions to lead the team.

About the Chargers: D-C lost to Prairie Ridge 50-8 last week. … The best news for the Chargers was the return of WR Kali Freeman, their best playmaker, who missed two games with a leg injury. Freeman has 19 receptions and three touchdowns. … WR Terrion Spencer leads the team with 21 catches. QB Zach Randl is fourth in the area with 891 passing yards and is completing 62.6% of his throws.

FND pick: Hampshire

Marian Central’s Cale McThenia celebrates a touchdown against Chicago Hope in varsity  football  at Woodstock Friday night.


Marian Central (3-3, 3-1) at Aurora Christian (5-1, 4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: This is the first time the teams have played each other.

About the Hurricanes: Marian lost to Chicago Hope 28-26 last week. … The Hurricanes felt like a win slipped away against a quality team last week, and now they need two wins in their final three games to become playoff eligible. … QB Cale McThenia has thrown for 2,078 yards with 25 touchdowns and four interceptions. … WRs Christian Bentancur (48 receptions, 882 yards, 15 touchdowns) and Rylan Dolter (39, 396, two) are the top receivers. RB Quinn Brady (28 receptions) also gets the ball a lot. … Marian is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

About the Eagles: Aurora Christian beat Christ the King 56-6 last week. … The Eagles lead the CCC by themselves and beat Hope 27-22. … Aurora Christian became playoff eligible last week and will be in the postseason for the sixth straight year. … The Eagles were one spot from cracking the Class 1A top 10.

FND pick: Aurora Christian


Harvard (0-6, 0-3) at Plano (3-3, 1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plano defeated Harvard 40-14 in Week 7 last season.

About the Hornets: Harvard lost to Sandwich 27-0 last week. … The Hornets have lost 17 consecutive games. … QB Adam Cooke leads the team with 181 rushing yards. … WR Danny Rosas has 16 receptions and three touchdowns.

About the Reapers: Plano defeated Johnsburg 19-0 last week. … The Reapers need two more wins to reach the playoffs. They finish with Harvard, Rochelle and Marengo. … RB Waleed Johnson is the focal point of the Reapers’ offense. He has 716 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He also has nine receptions for 189 yards and two scores.

FND pick: Plano

Richmond-Burton (5-1, 3-0) at Johnsburg (2-4, 0-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Richmond-Burton defeated Johnsburg 42-14 in Week 7 last season.

About the Rockets: R-B lost to Morris 35-7 last week. … That was only the second regular-season loss in Mike Noll’s 5 1/2 seasons as Rockets coach. R-B is 59-5 under Noll. … The last time R-B lost in the regular season was a 14-13 setback against Marengo in Week 5 of the 2018 season. … FB Braxtin Nellessen is second in area rushing with 707 yards and has nine touchdowns. … RB-DB Jack Martens is their best playmaker with 287 yards rushing and a 13.7-yard average per carry. … R-B fell from No. 4 to No. 7 in Class 4A.

About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg lost to Plano 19-0 last week. … The Skyhawks have lost four consecutive games after starting the season with wins over Woodstock North and Reed-Custer. … RB Brett Centnarowicz leads the Skyhawks with 373 yards rushing but suffered an upper-body injury against Sandwich in Week 5 and did not play on offense last week. Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak hopes Centnarowicz will be in the backfield Friday.

FND pick: Richmond-Burton

Woodstock’s Caden Thompson, right, hands off to Landen Stoltz in varsity football at Woodstock North Friday night.


Woodstock (1-5, 1-3) at Morris (6-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Morris defeated Woodstock 61-0 in Week 7 last season.

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock beat La Salle-Peru last week 17-14 for its first win of the season. … RB Max Miller had a big game for the Streaks last week with 140 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Miller leads Woodstock with 404 rushing yards, and Landen Stoltz has 302.

About Morris: Morris beat Richmond-Burton 35-7 last week, giving the Rockets their first regular-season loss since 2018. … Morris is ranked No. 2 in Class 4A. … QB Carter Button continues to make the right decisions and has 17 touchdowns with only one interception.

FND pick: Morris

Sycamore (6-0, 3-0) at Woodstock North (2-4, 1-3)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Sycamore beat North 48-15 in Week 7 last season.

About the Spartans: Sycamore beat Kaneland 22-21 last week. … The Spartans scored late and were successful on a two-point conversion to beat Kaneland. They are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, behind Prairie Ridge. … RB Tyler Curtis leads Sycamore with 437 rushing yards, RB Diego Garcia has run for seven touchdowns, and QB Burke Gautcher has thrown for 542 yards.

About the Thunder: North lost to Ottawa 28-27 last week. … The Thunder got a huge game from WR Max Dennison, who had five carries for 57 yards and two touchowns and caught two passes for 80 yards and another score. … QB Landan Creighton leads North with 389 yards rushing. … FB Kaden Combs was nagged by an injury early in the season but carried 13 times for a season-high 98 yards and a touchdown last week.

FND pick: Sycamore


Marengo (3-3) at Kaneland (3-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland beat Marengo 44-3 in Week 7 last season.

About the Indians: Marengo lost to Rochelle 47-0 last week. … The Indians had several starting players on the sideline last week with injuries, which did not help against a tough Rochelle team. … RB Isaac Anthony has run for 528 yards, RB Connor Sacco has 160, and QB David Lopez has 150. … Marengo needs two wins in its last three games to extend its playoff streak to five consecutive seasons.

About the Knights: Kaneland lost to Sycamore 22-21 last week. … The Knights’ other losses came against Washington, No. 3 in Class 6A, and Morris, No. 2 in 4A. They have led in the fourth quarter of all three losses. … RB-DL Josh Mauthe leads the team with 492 rushing yards and also is a defensive leader.

FND pick: Kaneland


Alden-Hebron (2-4) at Hiawatha (2-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hiawatha beat A-H 56-28 in Week 9 last season.

About the Giants: A-H lost to Flanagan 67-18 last week. … RB Wyatt Armbrust, one of the Giants’ two best playmakers, suffered a knee injury on the kickoff last week and was out the rest of that game. A-H coach Tim Oman said Armbrust was questionable and would be evaluated this week. … QB Ben Vole has run for 344 yards and thrown for 829 yards with 14 touchdowns. … WR Fabian Carreno leads the Giants with 17 catches and averages 21.6 yards per reception.

About the Hawks: For the first time, the Hawks are playing a home game on a Friday night this season. It’s also the only time they are at home on a Friday night. Throw in the fact it’s homecoming, and coach Kenny McPeek said the team should have a bunch of momentum despite losing 54-26 to South Fork last week. Hiawatha is 2-0 against teams .500 or below and 4-0 against teams above .500. Last week, McPeek said he liked the defensive performances by Ryan Barber (14 tackles) and Tommy Butler (13 tackles). Although both are linebackers, he said Barber’s total was a sign South Fork was getting too deep into the secondary – Barber slips into coverage against spread sets.

FND pick: Hiawatha