WESTERN BIG 6
Rock Island (3-0) at Sterling (3-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: Sterling 49-26 (2019)
About the Golden Warriors: In each of the last two games, the Sterling defense has not allowed a first down until the Sterling offense has put multiple scores on the board. In the win over Quincy, the Blue Devils first moved the chains after Sterling took a 21-0 lead. In the win over Geneseo, the Leafs didn’t gain a first down until the final play of the first half, by which time Sterling led 34-0. … After Noel Aponte led the Warriors in rushing each of the first two weeks, David Tessman was the leading rusher against Quincy with 103 yards. Jahshawn Howard tacked on 97. … Week 3 pits the most prolific scoring offense in the Western Big 6 (Rock Island has scored 129 points through three games) against the toughest defense in the league (Sterling has allowed 13 points through three games).
About the Rocks: The home loss to Sterling in 2019 was the prelude to a four-game winning streak for Rock Island, with three of those wins coming on the road. That streak ended with a playoff loss to East St. Louis. … Rock Island went unbeaten away from home in 2019, and won its first road game of the 2021 spring season against United Township. The Rocks’ last road loss was in the 2018 playoffs against Oak Lawn Richards. … In the Week 3 win over Galesburg, Eli Reese was 21-for-29 passing for 332 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown pass to Jakobe Bea. He has 706 passing yards through three games.
FND pick: Sterling
Dixon (0-1) at Rockford Lutheran (0-1)
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Last meeting: Dixon 48-8 (2019)
About the Dukes: In the first half of their season opener against Winnebago, the Dukes put up 267 yards of offense, dropped Winnebago ball carriers for a loss five times, and built a 14-0 lead. In the second half, Winnebago rallied, took advantage of a short field thanks to an interception, and beat the Dukes 19-14. … In his first game as a quarterback since junior high, Jacob Gaither had 157 rushing yards and 121 passing yards against Winnebago. … Dixon will be more aggressive on fourth down with a run/punt option installed. Gaither serves as both the punter and quarterback.
About the Crusaders: Lutheran’s scheduled first game against Oregon was wiped out by COVID issues, so the Crusaders opened their season Week 3 with a 15-6 loss to Stillman Valley. … Lutheran led Stillman Valley 6-0 at halftime before allowing 15 second-half points.
FND pick: Dixon
North Boone (2-0) at Oregon (1-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: North Boone 35-19 (2019)
About the Vikings: In the win over Rock Falls, two Viking quarterbacks combined to complete 17 of 25 passes for 339 yards. Logan Emanuel put up 269 of those yards, but Chandler Alderman also completed all three of his attempts for 70 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown. … Three of North Boone’s scoring drives against Rock Falls took exactly seven plays, covering 85, 80 and 71 yards. … Emanuel was the Vikings’ leading rusher against Rock Falls, gaining 57 yards on 12 carries. He also scored on a quarterback sneak late in the second quarter from 1 yard out after completing a 39-yard pass on the previous play.
About the Hawks: A key play in Oregon’s 30-26 win over Mendota Week 3 was a blocked field goal. Adam Glendenning blocked what would have been a chip-shot field goal, and Issac Reber scooped it up and took it 95 yards the other way for the score. … Oregon gained 296 rushing yards as a team against Mendota, with Wylee Rice leading the way with 129 yards. Breccan Berns added 103 rushing yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. … This will be Oregon’s first game of the season away from Mendota. The Hawks faced Byron on Mendota’s turf to open the season, and played the Trojans there Week 3. … Oregon quarterback Breccan Berns recently committed to play football at North Central.
FND pick: North Boone
Rock Falls (0-2) at Mendota (0-2)
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: Mendota 26-21 (2019)
About the Rockets: Rock Falls has lost its two games by a combined score of 75-7. … The Rockets allowed North Boone QB Logan Emanuel to throw for 269 yards and three TDs in last week’s 35-0 loss. … The Rocket defense intercepted Emanuel twice – once in the end zone. … Booker Cross ran for 101 yards against North Boone. … Dillon Schueler scored the Rockets’ lone TD in their 40-7 loss to Genoa-Kingston. … Rock Falls has lost nine games in a row.
About the Trojans: Mendota’s win against Rock Falls in 2019 was the Trojans’ lone win of the season, and snapped a 20-game losing streak. … Mendota lost 49-7 to North Boone in the opener, but was competitive in a 30-26 loss to Oregon last week. … QB Ted Landgraf threw for two touchdowns, ran for a TD and caught a TD pass last week. … Emilio Perez caught six passes for 103 yards last week, while Andres Castaneda grabbed a pair of TD passes against Oregon.
FND pick: Mendota
St. Bede (3-0) at Newman (2-0)
When: Noon Saturday
Last matchup: Newman 49-20 (2016 Class 3A playoffs)
About the Bruins: St. Bede enters without its full roster after several key injuries. LB/RB Ethan Sramek and WR/DB Tim Croissant are out for the season, RT Rylan Heersink will miss Saturday’s game, and Nolan May and Logan Link also have injuries. … QB Braden Damerell has been a dual threat, throwing for 449 yards and four TD and running for 146 yards – 102 in last week’s 24-21 win at Erie-Prophetstown – and a pair of scores. … Tyreke Fortney has shown big-play ability, scoring his four TDs on plays of 19, 20, 51 and 70 yards. … The Bruins have not beaten Newman in 10 years, losing four games to the Comets in that span. St. Bede last beat Newman 20-18 on Sept. 17, 2011.
About the Comets: After rolling to a 43-0 opening win, the Comets grinded out a 14-7 victory over Morrison last week. … Newman controlled possession against the Mustangs, allowing Morrison only three second-half possessions. … LB Brett Newman had two sacks and an interception last week. … RB Andrew Velasquez ran for 92 yards on 18 carries, and scored on runs of 14 and 4 yards. He has six TDs in two games.
FND pick: Newman
Fulton (2-0) at Morrison (1-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: Morrison 24-0 (2019)
About the Mustangs: Morrison was able to capture the Wooden Shoe in 2019 after Fulton had won five straight games in the rivalry. This could be the final football game for the Shoe, with Fulton headed to the NUIC in the fall. … In the Week 3 loss to Newman, the Mustangs had a pair of second-half drives which could have turned the tide in what ended up a 14-7 Comets win. A drive which reached the Newman 7 ended in a sack on fourth down. Brett Newman then intercepted a pass near midfield with 1:54 left to stop Morrison’s final drive. … Morrison has led in all three games this season, cruising to a season-opening 42-0 win over Riverdale, leading Rockridge 16-14 at halftime before the Rockets rallied to win, and scoring first in the loss to Newman.
About the Steamers: Fulton’s defense has allowed a total of 20 points this season, and came away with four interceptions in a win over Orion while allowing a pair of Chargers quarterbacks to complete just four passes between them. … Though Fulton typically features a powerful rushing attack, Connor Barnett has thrown touchdown passes in both games this season. … Fulton has been able to get some big plays in its offense this year. Ethan Rash had a 41-yard score against Orion. Kyler Pessman had a 53-yard score in the win over Riverdale.
FND pick: Morrison
Erie-Prophetstown (0-2) at Bureau Valley (0-2)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Last meeting: Erie-Prophetstown 33-14 (2019)
About the Panthers: E-P has been close in both games so far, losing 21-14 to Kewanee and 24-21 to St. Bede. … Against the Bruins, QB Kolby Franks threw for 130 yards and a TD, and ran for 54 yards and a TD. … Trevor Cobo caught three passes for 102 yards, and hauled in a 40-yard TD with 3.5 seconds left before halftime against St. Bede, while Connor Sibley ran for 60 yards and a TD.
About the Storm: Bureau Valley is looking to snap an 11-game losing streak. … The Storm scored their first points of the season last week when Adam Johnson connected with Layton Britt for a 57-yard TD in BV’s 26-7 loss to Hall. The Storm lost 42-0 to Newman in the opener. … BV lost two fumbles and threw an interception last week. … Evan Eckberg has a team-best 69 rushing yards this season.
FND pick: Erie-Prophetstown
Milledgeville (2-1) at Eastland-Pearl City (2-1) (at Lanark)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: EPC 20-12 (2019)
About the Missiles: Milledgeville has scored exactly 14 points in every game this year, beating Stockton 14-8 and Forreston 14-12 in overtime before falling 40-14 to Aquin. … Nick Smith has thrown four touchdown passes this season. The Missiles’ other scores have come on a Ryan Kendall run and a halfback pass from Daniel Lohnes to Kendall. … With Milledgeville moving to 8-man football in the fall, this could be the last time these two teams meet – but it will not be the last time many of the athletes will see each other, since Eastland and Milledgeville co-op in track.
About the Wildcatz: This is EPC’s first game in Lanark this spring after previous games were played at the Pretzel Bowl in Freeport. … Logan Krell had a 75-yard kick return TD and three total touchdowns in the win over West Carroll. … In the past two games, wins over Amboy and West Carroll, the EPC defense has allowed 198 rushing yards on 63 carries. … First-year quarterback Kellen Henze is 7-for-17 passing for 153 yards in the last two games.
FND pick: EPC
West Carroll (0-2) at Amboy (0-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: West Carroll 36-7 (2019)
About the Thunder: West Carroll has been outscored 97-0 in two games. … The Thunder managed 82 yards in a 44-0 loss to Eastland-Pearl City, and 34 yards in a 53-0 loss to Galena. … Against EPC, freshmen A.J. Boardman and Aaron Becker connected for a 22-yard pass, while Devin Davis ran for 45 yards on 10 carries, including a 31-yard run.
About the Clippers: One of the two head coaches will get his first win. Teo Clark is in his first season with West Carroll, while Scott Payne is in his first season with the Clippers. … While West Carroll lost 44-0 to EPC, the Clippers held a 13-6 halftime lead against EPC before losing 30-13. … A-L lost 38-6 to Forreston last week. … RB Sean Fitzpatrick has 199 yards and a TD on 49 ruches, while QB Lane Boehle ran for a score last week.
FND pick: Amboy-LaMoille.
Polo (2-1) at Hiawatha (1-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
About the Marcos: Polo suffered its first loss since joining the 8-man ranks in Week 3, falling to West Central 42-6. … Parker Wolber had a touchdown catch in the first half for the Marcos’ lone score in Week 3. He also had two rushing scores in a Week 2 win over Alden-Hebron, and three rushing scores in the season-opening win over South Beloit. … So far this season, Polo has had 10 scoring plays of 30 yards or more, including a 78-yard kick return against South Beloit, a 69-yard touchdown run by Wolber on an option in that game, and a 68-yard Cole Faivre run against Alden-Hebron. … In each of Polo’s wins, quarterback Tyler Merdian had more rushing yards than passing yards. He ran twice for 54 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown, against South Beloit while completing 1 of 3 passes for 2 yards. In the win over Alden-Hebron, he had one carry for 37 yards and completed the only pass he attempted for 30 yards.
About the Hawks: Hiawatha fell 42-8 to the River Ridge Wildcats, the second in time in three weeks the teams played each other. Coach Jason Keneway said the team is looking to bounce back: “That one kind of stung,” he said. “We thought we had stuff figured out and had stuff ready, and we came out and, I don’t know. We just didn’t play well Thursday.”
FND pick: Polo