Friday Night Drive

Steve Soucie: Fall 2021 season Week 3 games to watch

Week 3 is a turning point for many teams. Eight-team leagues start their conference schedules, and while most of those conferences tend to keep their marquee matchups toward the end of the season, some waste no time getting to the big showdowns.

Smaller conferences, in some cases, still find themselves in crossover contests, while others still have dates filled with elite out-of-state opponents.

Here’s some key matchups to look for in Week 3:

Sacred Heart-Griffin (2-0) at Rochester (1-1); 7 p.m., Friday: The Leonard Bowl is always an intriguing one, with Sacred Heart-Griffin reversing a recent trend of Rochester dominance with a comfortable victory during the spring season. After Rochester elected to pick up Loyola to replace a forfeited contest in Week 2, a oss would put the Rockets in a very strange position, below the .500 mark.

St. Rita (1-1) at Loyola (2-0); 1:30 p.m., Saturday: St. Rita will travel to Wilmette likely without the services of injured running back and Ohio State commit Kaleb Brown. St. Rita proved it can still win a big game without him beating one of Kentucky’s best teams, Trinity, on the road in Week 2. Still, no matter how well armed, teams are going to have a real problem doing much against Loyola’s stacked defense.

East St. Louis (2-0) at St. John Bosco (Calif.) (3-0) 9 p.m., Friday: No one seeks out an elite schedule as much as East St. Louis does, but the out-of-state schedule the Flyers put together this season could be biting off a little more than even they can chew. St. John Bosco is one of California’s top teams and a frequent visitor to the national rankings, currently ranking third in the nation, according to MaxPreps, behind Mater Dei (Calif.) and IMG Academy (Fla.), which East St. Louis will play in Week 9.

Huntley (1-1) at Prairie Ridge (2-0); 7 p.m.,Friday: These two long time rivals did not get a chance to play in a modified Fox Valley Conference schedule last season. Odds are they are itching to get back to locking horns with one another. Along with Cary-Grove, these two programs always seem to find themselves right in the thick of the FVC race, with this outcome often playing a heavy hand in who ultimately wears the crown.

Moweaqua Central A&M (2-0) at Decatur St. Teresa (2-0); 7 p.m.: You’ll be hard pressed to find a better small-school rivalry matchup during the regular season than this one. Both programs have had loads of postseason success as of late and have recently made the Central Illinois Conference something of a two-horse race after separating themselves a bit from stalwart Tuscola.

Other games of note: Wheaton North at Batavia; Naperville Central at Detroit Central Catholic; Kaneland at Sycamore; Nazareth at Marist; Wilmington at Coal City; Crystal Lake Central at Cary-Grove; Neuqua Valley at St. Mary’s (Mo.); St. Charles North at Wheaton Warrenville South.