Kane County Chronicle football preview capsules for Week 8

Batavia's Ryan Whitwell (3) is raised in the air by Batavia’s Macquire Moss (63) after Whitewell scores against Geneva during a varsity football game at Geneva High School in Geneva on Friday, Oct 8, 2021.

DuKane Conference

St. Charles East (2-5, 1-4) at Batavia (7-0, 5-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Batavia 53, St. Charles East 7 (Spring 2021)

About the Bulldogs: Batavia is on relative cruise control at this point, having already locked up a postseason berth and is in prime position for the conference title. Quarterback Ryan Boe continues to establish himself as one of the premier quarterbacks of the conference and Jalen Buckley has dominated every week. The Batavia defense is led by a number of standouts including Jack Sadowsky, Tyler Jansey and Tyler Sapit. The Bulldogs have missed running back Josh Dornink for multiple weeks and his availability remains uncertain until he sees the field.

About the Saints: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year for the Saints, again evidenced by last week’s big shutout loss to St. Charles North last week. It certainly gets even tougher with another top-notch Batavia squad. Nathan Hayes had four interceptions last week.

Friday Night Drive pick: Batavia

— Jake Bartelson

Glenbard North (5-2, 3-2) at St. Charles North (4-3, 2-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Glenbard North 33, St. Charles North 14 (2019)

About the North Stars: St. Charles North really cannot afford a loss here. The stakes are already high this week, but Batavia looms in Week 9 to close out the regular season. Running back Drew Surges has proved his immense value over the last several weeks and he should be getting the ball plenty. The North Stars are also coming off of a positive week in the defensive turnover category, which they’ll need to force some against a tough Glenbard North rushing attack. The good news for them is standout linebacker George Litgen returned last week and figures to be a ‘go’ here again.

About the Panthers: Quarterback Justin Bland is a candidate for a big play at anytime and running back Sam Palmer has the luxury running behind one of the better offensive lines in the conference. The Panthers handled Lake Park last week after gut-wrenching losses decided at the goal line the previous two.

FND pick: St. Charles North

— Jake Bartelson

Geneva (4-3, 2-3) at Wheaton North (6-1, 4-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton North 34, Geneva 0 (Spring 2021)

About the Vikings: Geneva, a great success story this season after going winless as recently as 2019, nonetheless has had a rough two weeks – a surprise loss to St. Charles East followed by a 35-0 shutout at the hands of rival Batavia. A first playoff bid since 2015 is still very much in play, but a trip to Wheaton isn’t an ideal recipe to turn things around. Reestablishing Carter Powelson, who had just 58 yards against Batavia, on the ground is a good place to start getting the offense moving again.

About the Falcons: Wheaton North got all it could handle against rival Wheaton Warrenville South, Seth Kortenhoeven’s 39-yard field goal on the last play of the game giving the Falcons a thrilling 10-8 win at Red Grange Field. Kortenhoeven had a huge hand in that win with 11 catches for 105 yards and a 6-yard TD, with four of his catches coming on the final drive. Quarterback Mark Forcucci completed 6 of his 9 passes on the final drive and was 16-for-26 for 135 yards for the game. The Falcons have won four in a row since their only loss, the last two wins by a combined three points. A share of the DuKane Conference title is still in play, should Batavia stub its toe the last two weeks.

FND pick: Wheaton North

— Joshua Welge

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central (2-5, 2-5) at Cary-Grove (7-0, 7-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Cary-Grove 28, Burlington Central 20 (Spring 2021)

About the Rockets: Burlington lost to Crystal Lake Central last week, 28-16. … The Rockets are led in rushing by RB Gavin Sarvis (516 yards) and QB Shawn Adkerson (486). … Burlington does not throw a lot, Adkerson has 426 yards passing for the season.

About the Trojans: C-G defeated Jacobs, 36-22, in its first close game of the season. … The Trojans led by one touchdown in the fourth quarter and drove for FB Nick Hissong’s 33-yard TD run with 5:03 remaining to seal the game. … Hissong’s 882 yards lead the Trojans in rushing, with RBs Drew Magel (541) and Wade Abrams (479) and QB Jameson Sheehan (416) also making big contributions. Their rushing averages per carry are Hissong (9.2), Magel (16.9), Abrams (16.0) and Sheehan (11.9). … C-G’s defense has allowed an FVC-low 100 points. … The Trojans are No. 2 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll.

FND pick: Cary-Grove

— Joe Stevenson

Interstate Eight Conference

Kaneland (3-4, 2-2) at Ottawa (2-5, 1-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland 61, Ottawa 7 (2019)

About the Knights: Kaneland is one loss away from missing the playoffs for the first time in coach Patrick Ryan’s five years and for the first time since 2016.

“We just have to come out and practice hard and try to stay positive all week and worry about being 1-0 and not anything beyond that,” Ryan said. “We need to take care of what we need to take care of. We’re focused on beating Ottawa. Based on [Monday’s] practice, we feel like our kids are ready to do that.”

The Knights have lost two straight, to Morris and Rochelle. The four teams Kaneland has lost to this year are a combined 23-7.

“We’re coming off two tough losses, and we have to get back on the winning side,” Ryan said. “Kids are feeling positive coming into the game despite our losses. We feel like we match up well against Ottawa.”

Ryan said the team still needs to improve in run blocking. Although the line has given quarterback Troyer Carlson plenty of time to throw the ball – he’s approaching 2,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions – running back Corey Phillips is averaging only 4.2 yards per carry.

“It’s almost like an old Kaneland throwback to being a pass-happy team,” Ryan said. “But you’ve got to be able to do both parts well: run block and pass protection.”

About the Pirates: Aside from losses at two of the KR/I8′s best (Week 3 at La Salle-Peru and last week at Morris), moving the football has not been an issue for an Ottawa offense led by a 1,000-yard passer (Braiden Miller, 83-for-148 passing, 1,030 yards, 6 TDs), his top target (Levi Sheehan, 33 receptions, 536 yards, 6 TDs) and a likely 1,000-yard rusher (Javarius Whitfield, 140 carries for 835 yards and 10 TDs). Finishing drives with points, however, has.

Kaneland’s defense is surrendering 32.9 points a game, so the opportunities should be there if the Pirates can cash in and – just as important to their upset hopes – get stops when the Knights have the ball. Sophomore LB Ryder Miller continues to shine for the Pirates’ defense, coming off another in a string of double-digit tackle performances.

FND pick: Kaneland

— Eddie Carifio


Marmion (4-3, 0-2) at Leo (2-5, 1-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Marmion 40, Leo 14 (2019)

About the Cadets: Another week went by and Marmion exerted its will on the offensive line and the running game last week. The Cadets rushed for 262 rushing yards to only giving up 17 in a 49-14 win over Carmel. They won the turnover battle 3-0 and had 42 points by the half. The Cadets should be in prime position to pick up a needed win for playoff points.

About the Lions: Leo enters on a three-game losing streak. During that stretch, the Lions have been out scored 110-38.

FND pick: Marmion

— Jake Bartelson

Metro Suburban Conference

Riverside-Brookfield (5-2, 4-0) at St. Francis (5-2, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Francis 58, Riverside-Brookfield 7 (Spring 2021)

About the Bulldogs: R-B ran into a buzzsaw last Friday, a 55-14 loss to IC Catholic Prep. A visit to a St. Francis team coming off a loss sounds like a case of getting out of the frying pan and into the fire.

About the Spartans: St. Francis ran into its own hornets’ nest last Friday, playing Bishop McNamara in head coach Rich Zinanni’s last home game, and was victimized by three turnovers in a 36-15 loss. It snapped a five-game winning streak and was the fewest points the Spartans have scored this season. They’ll look for a reset before a huge Week 9 game against IC Catholic Prep. Adam Criter had a 9-yard TD run and Dom Beres had a 6-yard TD catch from Alessio Milivojevic in the loss to McNamara.

FND pick: St. Francis

— Joshua Welge