Southwest Prairie Conference
Oswego (3-0, 2-0) vs. Oswego East (1-2, 0-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday, at West Aurora
Last matchup: Oswego 14, Oswego East 3 (2019)
About the Panthers: It’s hard to argue with the success of Oswego’s defense, which has been downright nasty in allowing just one touchdown through three weeks with two shutouts. Matt Egly and Anthony Cikauskas, who have combined for eight tackles for loss, set the tone up front and linebacker Evan Brown and his team-best 31 tackles seems to be all over the field. A backfield by committee, with Mark Melton leading five guys with at least 10 carries, has been effective. Quarterback Cole Pradel missed last week’s game against West Aurora with a leg injury he tweaked Week 2, but it didn’t sound serious. Oswego has never lost to its crosstown rival.
About the Wolves: Oswego East likely comes into Friday’s game in an ornery mood, as the Wolves led late in the fourth quarter of losses the last two weeks. Quarterback Michael Ford has thrown for 466 yards this season, but don’t be surprised if he calls his number for runs a little more than last week to keep Oswego honest. The Wolves’ dynamic running back tandem of Darquel Sanders and Oshobi Odior against Oswego’s run defense is a great matchup. Gianni Cammarata and Jared Badie anchor the Oswego East defense. The Wolves need to cut down on penalties that plagued them against Yorkville.
FND Pick: Oswego
Minooka (2-1, 1-1) at Yorkville (3-0, 2-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Minooka 19, Yorkville 10 (2019)
About the Indians: The Indians suffered their first Southwest Prairie Conference loss since 2018 in a game where their offense, which had been potent through two games, was slowed to a crawl by Plainfield North. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them right the ship, but they have a challenge on their hands in Yorkville which seems to capitalize on any opportunity an opponent gives them.
About the Foxes: The Foxes are riding high into this one. Yorkville squandered a 13-point second-half lead to Oswego East last Friday, but Kory Flowers’ big 60-yard catch-and-run set up Matt Maldonado’s 22-yard game-winning field goal on the final play. Maldonado is a weapon in special teams. Deajeion Lewis has done well picking up the slack as Yorkville’s lead back the last two weeks. The road doesn’t get any easier the next two weeks with Minooka and Oswego, but the Foxes seem eager to take on any challenge.
FND Pick: Yorkville
Interstate Eight Conference
Plano (1-2) at Kaneland (2-1)
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Kaneland 49, Plano 0 (2019)
About the Reapers: The Reapers gave LaSalle-Peru all it could handle last week, with an opportunity to win late in a 14-7 loss. Kaneland, of course, presents a huge challenge, the Reapers’ biggest to date this season. Plano needs to establish the run with Tony Licea to take the heat off sophomore quarterback Sammy Sifuentes against Kaneland’s stellar defense. Nemo Denton, with 30 tackles and three sacks, anchors the Reapers’ defense.
About the Knights: The Knights head into the game clicking on offense after struggling Week 1 against Sycamore, a 12-6 overtime loss.
Freshman Troyer Carlson has taken over at quarterback, and junior Corey Phillips has taken more and more carries as the season has gone on.
“I think offensively we have to continue to move the ball,” coach Pat Ryan said. “I think the strength of their team is their defense. We have to be able to effectively both run and pass the ball well. Last week we couldn’t really throw that well because of the wind. So we’re hoping to be more balanced this week.”
It will also be the final home game of the season for the Knights.
“We’re hoping for a good night for those kids,” Ryan said. “We a senior-heavy football program, and we’re hoping for a good outcome. For a lot of them, there are no playoffs, so it’s the last time they’re going to be able to play at home so we’re hoping for a good outcome.”
FND Pick: Kaneland
Sandwich (0-3) at Rochelle (0-3)
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Rochelle 42, Sandwich 28 (2019)
About the Indians: Sandwich comes into this Week 4 battle coming off a 55-0 loss to Sycamore in which the Indians’ ground game could get nothing going. While Rochelle has held opponents under 30 points in two of its three losses, the Indians should see more opportunity than last week, when featured runners Seven Tornga (13 carries for 21 yards) and James Coleman (7 for 10 yards) were limited and the team on 36 carries had a long run of 8 yards.
About the Hubs: After an encouraging if losing season debut against powerhouse Morris, Rochelle has found the past two weeks — a 29-0 shutout at the hands of La Salle-Peru and a 41-6 defeat last week to Kaneland — to be tough sledding. One bright spot last week was the running of senior Ben Harvey (117 yards, TD). This looks to be the opportunity Rochelle has been waiting for to get things back on track ... although the team on the other side of the field is almost certainly thinking the exact same thing.
FND Pick: Rochelle.
Eddie Carifio, JT Pedelty and Steve Soucie contributed to these previews.