Suburban Life football preview capsules for Week 4

NOTE: The Glenbard South-Fenton game has been canceled because of a COVID situation at Fenton. Glenbard South gets a win by forfeit.

West Suburban Conference

York (3-0, 1-0) at Downers Grove North (3-0, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: York 28, Downers Grove North 26 (2019)

About the Dukes: York has taken full advantage of what appears to be the softer part of its schedule, outscoring its first three opponents 147-7 and topping 50 points the last two weeks against Morton and Proviso West. The Dukes, coming off their first winning season in a decade, seem well on their way to the program’s first playoff appearance since 2011. York is 3-0 for the first time since 2010. This game shapes up as a matchup of two teams looking to break into the West Suburban Silver’s upper crust.

About the Trojans: Downers Grove North comes in off an impressive defensive performance, a 7-0 shutout of Downers Grove South. Thomas Williams had a sack and key interception and defensive back Joe Chiarelli had six tackles and an interception. Downers Grove North is 3-0 for the first time since 2013. Juniors Sam Reichert and Ethan Tulin, who connected for the Trojans’ only TD last week, are part of a group of eight players who cut their teeth on the varsity as sophomores during the spring season. While York has won all three of its games by double digits, Downers Grove North appears to be more battle-tested at this point, which may or may not be a factor in a close game.

FND Pick: Downers Grove North

Proviso West (0-3, 0-1) at Glenbard West (3-0, 1-0)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 59, Proviso West 0 (2019)

About the Panthers: Proviso West has been outscored 154-0 in three games. It doesn’t figure to get any easier this week at Duchon Field.

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West is tied for No. 6 in the latest Class 8A Associated Press poll. If last week’s 60-20 win over Oak Park-River Forest is any indication, the Hilltoppers look ready to reassert themselves as the beasts of the West Suburban Silver. Joey Pope continued his spectacular start to the season with 214 rushing yards and three TDs and sophomore Julius Ellens caught TD passes of 39 and 52 yards against OPRF. Not to be outdone, Pat Shadid and the Glenbard West defense scored two TDs.

FND Pick: Glenbard West

Hinsdale Central (2-1) at Hinsdale South (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 27, Hinsdale South 7 (2019)

About the Red Devils: Hinsdale Central took care of business against one rival last week, beating Lyons 35-16. Now the Red Devils set their sights on district rival Hinsdale South. Hinsdale Central has dominated the rivalry this century, winning the last 18 meetings with Hinsdale South’s last win coming in 2001. Thomas Skokna has returned kickoffs for TDs the last two weeks. Defensive back Finn Little keyed the Red Devils’ defensive effort last week with seven tackles, a tackle for loss, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and four pass breakups.

About the Hornets: Hinsdale South notched its first win last week, a tidy 21-0 defeat of Leyden. The Hornets hope to carry that momentum into a matchup with clearly a tougher opponent. Ryan Kohlsaat ran for a TD last week and threw one to Nate Fundator. Logan Bryant recovered a fumble for a TD and had an interception, as did Cassidy Whitaker.

FND Pick: Hinsdale Central

Oak Park-River Forest (1-2, 0-1) at Lyons (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oak Park-River Forest 18, Lyons 15 (spring 2021)

About the Huskies: Oak Park-River Forest is no doubt licking its wounds after a 60-20 loss to Glenbard West last week. The Huskies’ two losses have both come to quality opponents, the Hilltoppers and Wheaton Warrenville South.

About the Lions: Lyons, likewise, looks to get back on track after its loss at Hinsdale Central last week. Senior quarterback Joey Antonietti is off to a strong start to his season with eight TD passes. He also showed his wheels with a 62-yard run to set up his own 2-yard TD run. The Lions need to clean up the turnovers that plagued them in the loss to Hinsdale.

FND Pick: Lyons

Leyden (1-2, 0-1) at Morton (1-2, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Leyden 22, Morton 0 (2019)

About the Eagles: Leyden comes in off a 21-0 loss to Hinsdale South. The Eagles have scored a total of three points in their two losses, although they’re facing a defense this week that has allowed just over 30 points per game so opportunities could be there.

About the Mustangs: Morton brings a good dose of positive energy into this one, its 41-13 win over Addison Trail the Mustangs’ first non-forfeit win since Week 8 of the 2018 season. Senior running back David Arana ran for 191 yards and two TDs, including a 77-yard score. Morton’s defense tallied two interceptions and the special teams blocked a punt for a touchdown. Leyden has won the last four meetings between these two teams, Morton’s last win in the series coming in 2015.

FND Pick: Leyden

Downers Grove South (0-3, 0-0) at Willowbrook (1-2, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Willowbrook 32, Downers Grove South 15 (2019)

About the Mustangs: A rough start to say the least for Downers Grove South, outscored 106-0 in three games, although the defense more than did its part in a 7-0 loss last week to Downers Grove North with Jacob Diamantos and Mack O’Halloran both registering sacks. Establishing a semblance of offensive consistency is obviously a top priority. The Mustangs had just seven first downs in last week’s loss. NIU recruit Eli Reed lined up in the backfield last week, something to watch if that was a one-week look or a permanent wrinkle. Despite the tough first few weeks, Downers Grove South can wipe the slate clean, as its first Gold title since 2013 and a playoff berth are still attainable goals.

About the Warriors: The start of West Suburban Gold play was a welcome tonic for Willowbrook, which beat Proviso East 40-14 last Friday after an 0-2 start to the season. Josh Brown, the Warriors’ centerpiece offensively, got going with three TD runs. Nick Mabutas also scored a TD. It’s early in the season, but this could be Willowbrook’s biggest hurdle to another Gold division title.

FND Pick: Willowbrook

DuKane Conference

St. Charles North (2-1, 0-1) at Wheaton North (2-1, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Charles North 14, Wheaton North 12 (spring 2021)

About the North Stars: St. Charles North’s defense, unscored upon the first two weeks, finally showed a little give – but not much, a 12-10 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South on a late field goal still a yeoman effort by that side of the ball. Drew Surges ran for 99 yards and a TD and also caught a pass for 18 yards. Freshman quarterback Ethan Plumb threw for 107 yards and an interception; the North Stars will want to prioritize protecting him better, as he was sacked six times. Linebacker George Litgen is the leader of the fierce St. Charles North defense. The North Stars have won all three DuKane meetings with Wheaton North, allowing a total of 32 points. St. Charles North is ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Class 7A poll.

About the Falcons: Wheaton North is surely anxious to get back on the field to erase the bad taste of last week, a 23-20 overtime loss at Batavia in a game the Falcons led by 10 in the second half. Neither Wheaton North or St. Charles North will want to fall too far behind in what should be quite a DuKane Conference race. Mark Forcucci threw for 117 yards and Brayton Maske ran for 79 yards and two TDs at Batavia. The experienced, talented Falcons’ skill-position players against a nasty North Stars’ defense is a matchup to watch. St. Charles North has won the last two meetings with Wheaton North by a total of five points, and another close call seems likely. Wheaton North is ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Class 7A poll.

FND Pick: Wheaton North

Wheaton Warrenville South (2-1, 1-0) at Geneva (2-1, 0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton Warrenville South 45, Geneva 3 (2019)

About the Tigers: WW South bounced back from a Week 2 loss to Neuqua Valley with an inspired effort capped off by Ben Berkley’s 29-yard field goal in the final seconds. Defensive tackle Kael Poulsen had a dominant effort in leading the Tigers’ defense with 10 tackles and two sacks and Emmett Johnson had an interception. Matt Sommerdyke threw for 157 yards with a clutch 40-yard throw to Danny Healy on the game-winning drive. There is no let-up in the DuKane Conference, though, especially on the road against a much-improved Geneva club. WW South is ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Class 7A poll.

About the Vikings: Geneva’s early-season turnaround under first-year head coach Boone Thorgesen has been a feel-good story, and the Vikings still should be feeling encouraged even after a 21-7 loss at Glenbard North last week. The Vikings allowed just 73 yards rushing to go with tallying three sacks, recovering a fumble in the red zone and stopping the Panthers early in the fourth quarter on downs. A late pick-six hurt Geneva last week. Running back Carter Powelson, a converted defensive end, has had quite the start at his new position with 356 yards rushing in Geneva’s first two games.

FND Pick: Wheaton Warrenville South

CCL/ESCC Green

Nazareth (0-3, 0-0) at Notre Dame (0-3, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Notre Dame 10, Nazareth 0 (spring 2021)

About the Roadrunners: Nazareth, 0-3 for the first time since 2004, has its back to the wall as it looks to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Roadrunners did hold their own last week in a 28-14 loss at Marist, although Nazareth isn’t exactly a program that prides itself on moral victories. Senior quarterback Aidan Pieper returned after missing Week 2 with an injury. One more glimmer of hope? Five of Nazareth’s last six opponents have losing records through three weeks, although there are some heavy hitters in that group.

About the Dons: Notre Dame, like Nazareth, is in an unfamiliar position, the program’s first 0-3 start since 2011. The last two weeks have been particularly rough, 35-point losses to Fenwick and Mount Carmel. The Dons are just three years removed from reaching the Class 6A state semifinals. This is head coach Mike Hennessey’s 35th season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. Vincenzo Ricciardi, thrown into the fire last season as a sophomore, is in his second year as starting QB.

FND Pick: Notre Dame

Benet (1-2, 0-0) at St. Rita (1-2, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Rita 34, Benet 20 (spring 2021)

About the Redwings: Benet comes in smarting from a 42-6 loss at Brother Rice last Friday. A visit to St. Rita is the Redwings’ third straight road game, but Benet will be at home the next three weeks. Pierce Walsh, who scored Benet’s lone TD against Brother Rice on a pass from Anthony Picciolini, is a player to watch on both sides of the ball for the Redwings.

About the Mustangs: St. Rita comes off a 37-7 loss to Loyola, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 7A. The Mustangs are still ranked No. 7 in Class 7A despite losses to Mount Carmel and Loyola. Ohio State recruit Kaleb Brown, the state’s No. 2-ranked senior, is still out with a leg injury suffered in Week 1.

FND Pick: St. Rita

CCL/ESCC Orange

St. Laurence (1-2, 0-0) at Montini (1-2, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About the Vikings: St. Laurence comes in off a 21-0 loss to St. Ignatius, and has just seven points combined in its two losses. Linebacker Ryan Chambers and defensive back Ardell Chambers, all-Orange selections in the spring, lead the Vikings’ defense.

About the Broncos: Montini, coming off a 27-10 loss to Marmion, needs to start stacking a few wins if it wants to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 1992. That’s because the schedule is a bear, with games remaining against Providence, Marist, Nazareth and Joliet Catholic. Cole Teschner has thrown for 401 yards and four TDs in three games, Mario Florio (10 catches, 86 yards, one TD) his top target. Josh Robinson has rushed for 254 yards and could get more touches with Alex Marre hurt late in the loss to Marmion. Jackson McWhinney, with 39 tackles, leads the Montini defense.

FND Pick: Montini

CCL/ESCC White

Fenwick (2-1, 0-0) at DeLaSalle (2-1, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: DeLaSalle 34, Fenwick 7 (2018)

About the Friars: Fenwick comes in off a hard-fought 21-20 loss to Providence. Kaden Cobb’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Elin Pugh pulled the Friars within one but the extra point was unsuccessful. Pugh, an Illinois recruit, and Cobb, committed to Ball State, are two of the state’s top 20 seniors.

About the Meteors: The Meteors got a bit of a reality check last week in a step up in class, losing to Joliet Catholic 48-14 after winning their first two games by a combined 87-6 margin against Chicago Public League opponents. DJ Montgomery, an all-conference pick in the spring, anchors an experienced offensive line.

FND Pick: Fenwick

Metro Suburban Conference

Chicago Christian (1-2, 0-1) at St. Francis (2-1, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Francis 49, Chicago Christian 0 (2013)

About the Knights: Chicago Christian comes in off a 42-6 loss to Riverside-Brookfield, and has dropped its last two games by a combined 89-14. A trip to St. Francis doesn’t seem to promise an immediate turnaround.

About the Spartans: St. Francis posted an impressive 34-27 win at Prospect last Friday in a game scheduled when both teams’ opponents couldn’t play because of a COVID situation. Sophomore QB Alessio Milivojevic, in particular, opened eyes, completing 24 of 32 passes with one interception and a touchdown for 290 yards in his best game to date. Adam Criter had a combined 218 yards and three TDs rushing and receiving, Blake Lawson 185 yards and two TDs rushing and receiving and Sammy Atkins led the Spartans’ defense with 10 tackles. Given the Spartans’ non-conference schedule, they should be more than prepared for whatever the Metro Suburban Conference throws at them. St. Francis is ranked fourth in the latest Class 4A Associated Press poll.

FND Pick: St. Francis

Ridgewood (1-2, 0-1) at IC Catholic Prep (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Rebels: It’s been a rough two weeks for the Rebels, outscored by a combined 109-0 in losses to DePaul Prep and Bishop McNamara. They only scored 12 points in their only win, over Schurz in Week 1. A visit to Plunkett Park doesn’t sound like a cure for what ails the Rebels.

About the Knights: IC Catholic is ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 2A Associated Press poll, behind only St. Theresa. The Knights come in off a 68-0 win over Elmwood Park. Sophomore QB Dennis Mandala has thrown for 400 yards and five TDs, with Antonio Richardson (nine catches, 129 yards, one TD) his top target. Malik Gray has rushed for 236 yards and three TDs. Junior Jesse Smith has a team-high 25 tackles.

FND Pick: IC Catholic Prep

Bishop McNamara (1-2, 1-0) at Wheaton Academy (2-1, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton Academy 49, Bishop McNamara 23 (spring 2021)

About the Irish: McNamara comes in off a 60-0 win over Ridgewood. Tony Phillips ran for 144 yards and two TDs on six carries, Jaydon Wright had 73 yards and two TDs on two carries and Brady Bertrand threw for 84 yards and a TD. The Irish non-conference schedule featured two losses by a combined 13 points to quality programs in Marmion and Coal City. Head coach Rich Zinanni is retiring after this season, his 47th as head coach.

About the Warriors: Wheaton Academy had little trouble dispatching of Aurora Central Catholic last week with a 51-7 win. Stas Nickolau and sophomore wide receiver Liam White both scored two TDs in the first half, the Warriors jumping out to a 45-7 halftime lead. The spring meeting between these two teams will surely still be on their minds Friday. In that spring game Wheaton Academy scored the game’s final 49 points, all in the second half, for a 49-23 win and the program’s first over Bishop McNamara since 2010.

FND Pick: Bishop McNamara

Riverside-Brookfield (2-1, 1-0) at Aurora Christian (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Riverside-Brookfield 25, Aurora Christian 23 (2019)

About the Bulldogs: R-B got over its tough Week 2 loss to Wauconda in a big way, beating Chicago Christian 42-6. Cordell Rainey Jr. and Ryan Novak each ran for two TDs. The Bulldogs and Aurora Christian split their last two meetings, in 2018 and 2019, by a combined six points.

About the Eagles: The Eagles haven’t met much resistance yet, winning their first three games by a combined margin of 167-34 against three winless opponents. At least that kind of margin would figure to change this week. RB Cam Ajazi and WR-S Trey Beebe are among the players to watch.

FND Pick: Aurora Christian

St. Edward (1-2, 0-0) at Westmont (0-3, 0-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Edward 49, Westmont 8 (spring 2021)

About the Green Wave: St. Edward had to forfeit its Week 3 game with St. Francis due to a positive COVID case within the program. The Green Wave enjoyed a successful spring season, but they entered the fall with an unproven roster after graduating 14 seniors, including nine three-years starters.

About the Sentinels: Westmont has had a tough last two weeks, losses to Lisle and Aurora Christian by a combined margin of 99-6. Facing a team coming off a COVID quarantine and a week away from competition adds a layer of uncertainty, but the spring margin suggests it could be tough sledding for the Sentinels.

FND Pick: St. Edward

South Suburban Conference

Lemont (3-0) at Hillcrest (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hillcrest 30, Lemont 24 (2021 - spring)

About Lemont: It took a while for Lemont to get going in Week 3, getting a lift from its defense with a pick six that finally allowed it to gain separation from a pesky Shepard team. Odds are it won’t take much effort motivating Lemont against Hillcrest, a team it hasn’t been able to solve over the past few years to claim South Suburban dominance.

About the Hawks: Hillcrest has been one of the powers of the south suburbs over the past few seasons, but graduations hit the Hawks hard. Hillcrest managed to grind out its first win in Week 3 over Oak Forest, 22-12, but it might still be licking its wounds from nonconference losses to Brother Rice and Kenwood to start the season.

FND pick: Lemont

-- Steve Soucie

Upstate Eight Conference

East Aurora (2-1, 2-1) at Glenbard East (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard East 48, East Aurora 14 (spring 2021)

About the Tomcats: East Aurora comes off a 20-0 win over Fenton, its second of the young season, and that’s a story in itself after a winless spring. The program did seem to be turning the corner under head coach and former North Central College star Nick Kukuc during a 4-5 2019 season. A road game at Glenbard East will surely provide a gauge on just how improved the Tomcats are.

About the Rams: Glenbard East avenged its spring loss to Streamwood in a big way with a 39-7 win last Friday. Glenbard East has won its first three games by a combined margin of 100-20. Senior QB Connor Cerkas has thrown for 419 yards and eight TDs, Tyrese Buffkin (12 catches, 175 yards, four TDs) his top target. Junior defensive tackle Demontay Mack has 18 tackles, six tackles for loss, and three sacks.

FND Pick: Glenbard East


Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.