Northwest Herald area preview capsules for Week 9 of the 2023 season

Crystal Lake Central's George Dimopoulos tries to catch a pass in-between the defense of Prairie Ridge's Luke Vanderwiel and Logan Thennes during a Fox Valley Conference football game on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake.


Huntley (7-1, 7-1) at Burlington Central (4-4, 4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Huntley 16, Central 7 (2022, Week 4)

About the Red Raiders: Huntley beat Dundee-Crown 35-7 last week. … The Red Raiders are No. 7 in The Associated Press Class 8A poll. … RB Haiden Janke is fourth in the area with 950 yards and has an area-best 18 rushing touchdowns. … QB Braylon Bower is completing 77.7% of his passes and has 1,077 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. … WR Jake Witt had 31 receptions and has touchdown catches in the last three games.

About the Rockets: Central beat Hampshire 17-14 in overtime to keep its playoff hopes alive. … The Rockets have battled through some injuries at quarterback and running back, but RB Joey Kowall returned last week and ran for 53 yards and a touchdown. … Central is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Friday Night Drive pick: Huntley

Cary-Grove (6-2, 6-2) at Dundee-Crown (1-7, 1-7)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Cary-Grove 41, Dundee-Crown 21 (2022, Week 1)

About the Trojans: C-G beat Crystal Lake South 47-21 last week. … The Trojans are headed back to the playoffs after missing for the first time in 18 years last season. … C-G’s two losses came by one point each to Prairie Ridge and Huntley. … The Trojans are No. 5 in Class 6A. … FB Logan Abrams is third in the area with 960 rushing yards. RB Andrew Prio is eighth with 654 on only 49 carries, giving him a 13.3-yard average per carry.

About the Chargers: D-C lost to Huntley 35-7 last week. … WR Kali Freeman is tied for seventh in the area in receptions (33) despite missing two-plus games with an injury. … QB Zach Randl is fourth in the area with 1,253 passing yards and has 11 touchdowns.

FND pick: Cary-Grove

Hampshire (2-6, 2-6) at Crystal Lake Central (4-4, 4-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Crystal Lake Central 7, Hampshire 0 (2022, Week 4)

About the Whip-Purs: Hampshire lost to Burlington Central 17-14 in overtime last week. … The Whip-Purs lean heavily on RB Cole Klawikowski, who is second in the area with 1,014 yards rushing. He ran for 124 yards last week and one touchdown, and caught three passes for 41yards and another score.

About the Tigers: Central lost to Prairie Ridge 35-6 last week. … The Tigers will make the playoffs if they win. They reached the Class 6A quarterfinals in 2021. … QB Jason Penza was lost with a shoulder injury last week in the first half and sophomore Abraham Quinn came in. Quinn was 10 of 24 for 114 yards. … WR George Dimopoulos has 42 receptions with seven touchdowns.

FND pick: Crystal Lake Central

Jacobs (5-3, 5-3) at Crystal Lake South (3-5, 3-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Jacobs 41, Crystal Lake South 31 (2022, Week 1)

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs defeated McHenry 44-6 last week. … The Golden Eagles are headed to the playoffs for a third consecutive season. … Sophomore FB Caden DuMelle leads the area with 1,048 rushing yards and RB T.O. Boddie has 520 yards. … The Eagles’ defense has allowed 27 points in their last three games.

About the Gators: South lost to Cary-Grove 47-21 last week. … QB Caden Casimino has 1,916 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and should get his second 2,000-yard season. … WR Colton Hess leads the Gators with 43 catches and nine touchdowns. … WR Michael Prokos missed five game with a broken ankle and returned last week to catch six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown and threw for one.

FND pick: Jacobs

Prairie Ridge (8-0, 8-0) at McHenry (0-8, 0-8)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Prairie Ridge 36, McHenry 28 (2022, Week 1)

About the Wolves: Prairie Ridge beat Crystal Lake Central 35-6 last week. … The Wolves are ranked No. 1 in Class 5A and will repeat as FVC champion. They win outright with a victory at McHenry. … FB Jack Finn has 854 rushing yards and QB Joey Vanderwiel has 526. … The Wolves’ defense has allowed an FVC-low 81 points.

About the Warriors: McHenry lost to Jacobs 44-6 last week. … RB Jacob Jones leads the Warriors with 396 rushing yards. … McHenry coach Jeff Schroeder, the former Woodstock North head coach, spent last season on Prairie Ridge’s staff as the Wolves were Class 6A state runners-up.

FND pick: Prairie Ridge

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


Marian Central (4-4, 4-2) at Wheaton Academy (7-1, 5-1)

When: 7:30 p.m Friday

Last matchup: Marian Central 63, Wheaton Academy 20 (2013, Week 9)

About the Hurricanes: Marian beat St. Edward 41-0 last week. … The Hurricanes need a win to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Marian would be among the top few 4-5 teams in playoff points, but need a lot of teams to lose for that to happen. … QB Cale McThenia (Northern Iowa) leads the area with 2,691 yards and is completing 69.6% of his passes with 35 touchdowns. … WR Christian Bentancur (Clemson) has 210 career receptions and is tied for eighth with former Crete-Monee receiver Laquon Treadwell. Bentancur’s 71 receptions, 1,162 yards and 18 touchdowns all lead the area.

About the Warriors: Wheaton Academy beat Aurora Christian 30-7 last week. … The Warriors, No. 7 in Class 4A, have allowed only 13 points combined in the last four games. … QB Brett Kasper leads the team with 419 rushing yards and six touchdowns and has thrown for 1,037 yards and 16 touchdowns. … The Warriors are headed to the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.

FND pick: Wheaton Academy


Rochelle (6-2, 5-0) at Richmond-Burton (7-1, 5-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Richmond-Burton 41, Rochelle 20 (2022, Week 9)

About the Hubs: Rochelle beat Plano 16-0 last week. … The Reapers are going to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. … Rochelle’s losses came to Morton (27-26) and Sycamore (21-6). … RB Grant Gensler is averaging 8.0 yards a carry and 118.2 yards per game.

About the Rockets: R-B defeated Harvard 48-13 last week. … The Rockets are No. 5 in Class 4A and are 61-5 since 2018 under coach Mike Noll. … FB Braxtin Nellessen leads the Rockets with 930 rushing yards. RB Jack Martens has 440 yards and averages 15.2 per carry. … QB JT Groh has 33 completions and 11 have gone for touchdowns. … R-B will have its fifth consecutive conference title if it wins.

FND pick: Richmond-Burton

Johnsburg (2-6, 0-5) at Harvard (0-8, 0-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Johnsburg 48, Harvard 12 (2022, Week 9)

About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg lost to Woodstock 21-0 last week. … The Skyhawks have scored only six points since Week 5 and been shut out in three consecutive games. … RB Brett Centnarowicz leads the Skyhawks with 403 rushing yards, but has been nagged by an injury.

About the Hornets: Harvard lost to Richmond-Burton 48-13 last week. … QB Adam Cooke ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to R-B. … WR Danny Rosas had three catches for 80 yards against R-B.

FND pick: Johnsburg

Marengo's Isaac Anthony runs for yardage against Kishwaukee River Conference rival Sandwich on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 in Marengo.

Marengo (4-4, 3-2) at Plano (4-4, 2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marengo 32, Plano 7 (2022, Week 9)

About the Indians: Marengo beat Sandwich 38-31 last week. … The Indians can make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year if they win. … RB Isaac Anthony leads the Indians with 716 rushing yards. … QB David Lopez had a big game last week with a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. … WR Alten Bergbreiter returned from a neck injury that kept him out three weeks to catch nine passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.

About the Reapers: Plano lost to Rochelle 16-0 last week. … The Reapers are led by RB Waleed Johnson, who has passed 1,000 yards rushing and averages 7.5 per carry. … The Reapers are trying to make the playoffs for the fourth time in the last seven years.

FND pick: Plano


Ottawa (3-5, 1-4) at Woodstock (2-6, 1-4)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Ottawa 34, Woodstock 9 (2022, Week 9)

About the Pirates: Ottawa lost to Morris 54-17 last week. … The Pirates ended a 10-year playoff drought last year, but last week’s loss knocked them out of repeating as a playoff team.

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock beat Johnsburg 21-0 last week. … The Blue Streaks have won two of their last three games. … Woodstock was shut out in three of its first rour games, all against playoff teams (Rochelle, Sycamore and Kaneland). … RBs Max Miller (514) and Landen Stoltz (446) lead the Streaks’ offense.

FND pick: Woodstock


Sandwich (5-3) at Woodstock North (2-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

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

About the Indians: Sandwich lost to Marengo 38-31 last week. … RB Simeion Harris leads the team with 838 rushing yards and RB Nick Michalek has 558 yards. … Sandwich did not have a team last year because of low numbers, but is headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

About the Thunder: North lost to Kaneland 28-7 last week. … FB Kaden Combs was bothered by an injury earlier and had two strong running games since returning. He leads the Thunder with 356 yards. … WR Max Dennison has a team-high 16 receptions, with five touchdown grabs.

FND pick: Woodstock North


River Ridge (4-4) at Alden-Hebron (3-5)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: River Ridge 50, AH 44 (2022, Week 6)

About the Wildcats: River Ridge lost to West Prairie co-op 26-20 last week. … The Wildcats are still trying to get into the 16-team playoff field for the I8FA. … RB Sean Nicholas leads the team with 537 rushing yards and QB Damon Dittmar has run for 339 and nine touchdowns.

About the Giants: A-H beat Peoria Heights 27-26 last week. … Peoria Heights scored with 3:00 remaining to take the lead, but A-H came back and QB Ben Vole hit WR Jason Weber for a 35-yard touchdown. Fabian Carreno’s extra point gave the Giants the victory. … Vole has run for 483 yards and has thrown for 1,222 yards and 19 touchdowns.

FND pick: River Ridge