Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Suburban Life football preview capsules for Week 3

DuKane Conference

Batavia (1-1) at Wheaton North (2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Batavia 23, Wheaton North 20 (2021)

About the Bulldogs: Coming off a rare loss, the Bulldogs are going to look for a rebound. The offense struggled with turnovers and scoring last week, so those adjustments will be under the magnifying glass. Senior wideout Alec Crum has perhaps quietly emerged as a home run option in the vertical passing game, but Charlie Whelpley, at running back, still leads in catches. Defensively, no surprise, Jack Sadowsky, Brodey Osborne and Tyler Jansey lead in tackles and will be all over the field. Batavia is ranked No. 3 in the latest Class 7A Associated Press poll.

About the Falcons: Any questions about Wheaton North after graduating so many key players from last year’s state championship team have so far been answered in the affirmative, the Falcons outscoring non-conference opponents Downers Grove South and Providence by a combined margin of 56-7. Similar to Batavia, Wheaton North’s strength defensively starts at linebacker with Holy Cross recruit Ross Dansdill. Max Howser runs the show at QB with Walker Owens and Luke Beedle in the backfield. Batavia handed Wheaton North its only loss last season in overtime, a fact certainly not lost on the Falcons. In a league that should have two or three dynamite games every Friday, this has the potential to be one of the games of the year. Wheaton North is ranked No. 7 in the latest Class 7A Associated Press poll.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Batavia

Wheaton Warrenville South (1-1) at St. Charles North (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton Warrenville South 12, St. Charles North 10 (2021)

About the Tigers: WW South had an impressive bounce-back in Week 2, particularly at the defensive end. After getting shredded by Simeon’s run game in a 41-23 season-opening loss, the Tigers held Neuqua Valley to just 115 yards rushing in a 10-7 overtime win. Senior safeties Colin Moore and Charlie Butt and defensive tackle Andrew Moore combined for 25 tackles. Sophomore QB Luca Carbonaro, who came off the bench to throw two TDs in the season opener, got his first start and threw a 44-yard TD pass to junior Daijion Riley. This will be the Tigers’ third straight road game to start the season. WW South is ranked No. 8 in the latest Class 7A Associated Press poll.

About the North Stars: After making a switch at quarterback to Will Vaske, the North Stars – alongside a great defensive effort – emerged with a nice win over Lake Zurich last week. Vaske figures to get another chance to solidify himself at the position. Meanwhile, look for wideout Jake Mettetal to continue to emerge in the passing game, while Drew Surges does his usual strong two-way effort. Angelo Bradley and Aidan Zocher should have chances to get to the quarterback.

FND Pick: WW South

West Suburban Silver

Hinsdale Central (1-1) at Lyons (2-0)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 35, Lyons 16 (2021)

About the Red Devils: Hinsdale Central got the get-well game it needed last Friday. After its offense struggled in a 24-9 Week 1 loss to Naperville Central, the Red Devils got rolling with a 51-0 win over Proviso East. Hinsdale Central, two-time defending Silver champs, has won 12 straight games in the Silver heading into Friday’s divisional opener. It’s one of two streaks Hinsdale Central takes into this one. The Red Devils have also won eight straight meetings with the Lions. Oddly enough, Hinsdale Central is the only Silver team with a loss through two weeks.

About the Lions: Lyons is 2-0 for the first time since 2017. The Lions followed up an impressive season-opening win at Buffalo Grove by rolling past Addison Trail 45-0. An offense led by junior QB Ryan Jackson and junior running back Jack Cheney has put up 83 points in two games. The Lions are one of a handful of teams in the Silver trying to break into the division penthouse occupied by Glenbard West and Hinsdale Central the last decade. Beating their close rivals for the first time since 2013 would go a long way toward the Lions establishing themselves as contenders in that upper echelon.

FND Pick: Hinsdale Central

Oak Park-River Forest (2-0) at Glenbard West (2-0)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 60, Oak Park-River Forest 20 (2021)

About the Huskies: The Huskies have done well in taking care of business in the non-conference, following up its big win over neighborhood rival Fenwick by beating Hinsdale South 42-7 last week. The next three weeks – games with Glenbard West, Lyons and Hinsdale Central – will certainly provide a good barometer for the Huskies. Senior QB Jack Gooch hooked up with his favorite target Ryan Martin for four TD passes against Hinsdale South, and was 16-for-23 for 191 yards while Martin had seven catches for 118 yards. The two have connected for six TDs in two games. Eric Evans ran for 89 yards on five carries.

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West’s offense is humming heading into its Duchon Field home opener, with 75 points in two games after beating Downers Grove South 42-7 last week. Julius Ellens and Ben Cesario each scored two TDs in Week 2, including a 56-yarder from Cesario. Jack Oberhofer had a TD run and a pick-six for another score. It will be interesting to see how the young Hilltoppers’ defense responds against a capable OPRF offense with a veteran QB. Glenbard West remains No. 3 in the latest Class 8A Associated Press poll.

FND Pick: Glenbard West

Proviso West (2-0) at York (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: York 56, Proviso West 0 (2021)

About the Panthers: Among the West Suburban Silver’s six unbeatens, Proviso West is undoubtedly the biggest surprise. The program has just a combined two wins over the last four seasons, and has not won more than two games since 2012, but followed up a Week 1 blowout of Steinmetz with a 39-26 WSC crossover win over Leyden. QB DJ Jones threw for 375 yards and five TDs in the win against Leyden. The schedule, clearly, stiffens considerably in the Silver, but the Panthers at least have some success to build on.

About the Dukes: York hasn’t been touched over the first two weeks, wins over Schaumburg and Morton by a combined margin of 100-7, and that very well could continue this week despite Proviso West’s early-season success. The Dukes scored on every offensive possession against Morton, rolling up 326 yards rushing with QB Matt Vezza 5-for-9 passing for 85 yards and a TD. Jake Melion, Kelly Watson and Adam Fennell each ran for two TDs. Defensively, Cole Ostendorf had six tackles and a QB hurry.

FND Pick: York

West Suburban Gold

Willowbrook (0-2) at Proviso East (0-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Willowbrook 40, Proviso East 14 (2021)

About the Warriors: It’s been a bit of a jarring start to the season for Willowbrook – losses to Notre Dame and Downers Grove North by a combined margin of 58-0. But it’s not an entirely unfamiliar position. Willowbrook also started 0-2 last season, then ripped off five straight wins, won the West Suburban Gold and made its fifth straight quarterfinal appearance. Willowbrook has won 28 consecutive games in the Gold with five straight divisional championships. Top priority is getting the offense on track, after managing just four first downs against Downers North. AJ Palicki completed 12-of-21 passes for 80 yards with Joe Tumilty bringing in five receptions last week.

About the Pirates: A rough start to the season for Proviso East, particularly defensively, with 98 points allowed in two games. It would seem to be just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Willowbrook offense to gets its feet on the ground.

FND Pick: Willowbrook

Addison Trail (1-1) at Morton (0-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Morton 41, Addison Trail 14 (2021)

About the Blazers: Addison Trail, after an encouraging Week 1 win over Maine East coming off an 0-9 season, was brought back to earth with a 45-0 loss to Lyons. Junior QB Gio Long has thrown for 268 yards and three TDs in two games and Damarius Allen has rushed for 161 yards and a TD. Eddie Franczak is Long’s favorite target with seven catches for 149 yards and a TD.

About the Mustangs: A tough Week 2 game for Morton, losing 58-7 to Silver heavyweight York and allowing over 400 yards of offense. But the Mustangs won three games in Gold play last season so there is legitimate reason for optimism that they can get back on track as they enter intra-divisional play.

FND Pick: Morton

Leyden (0-2) at Hinsdale South (0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale South 21, Leyden 0 (2021)

About the Eagles: Leyden’s late rally from 21 points down came up short in a 39-26 loss to Proviso West last week. Scoring has not appeared to be an issue for the Eagles, who are averaging 25.5 points in two games. QB Ethan Corral was 14-for-21 passing for 251 yards and two TDs and Mario Reyes had an 83-yard kickoff return for a TD.

About the Hornets: The Hornets dropped to 0-2 last week with their 42-7 loss to Oak Park-River Forest. Robbie Spang threw a TD pass to Matt Rudolph for the Hornets’ only score. A game with district rival Hinsdale Central awaits in Week 4, so Hinsdale South could certainly use a win here and positive energy heading into what is surely a tough matchup. The Hornets have struggled to score in their first two games, while Leyden has struggled defensively so something has to give.

FND Pick: Hinsdale South

South Suburban Blue

Oak Forest (1-1) at Lemont (2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 56, Oak Forest 21 (2021)

About the Bengals: Oak Forest is hoping to get back to the level the program has had in the past, but that process won’t be easy. Sycamore ran right through Oak Forest in Week 2, and the only positive on the Bengals ledger thus far is a win over a middling Chicago Public League squad. Oak Forest will need a big effort from lead RB Joe Casteneda to keep this game remotely competitive.

About Lemont: Lemont survived a difficult nonconference schedule and now enters play in the South Suburban Blue Conference, a league it has absolutely dominated in recent seasons. It looks poised to do it again. Already developing what appears to be a three-headed offensive monster featuring RB Nathan Wrublik, QB Payton Salomon and WR Luke Wallace, when coupled with what always seems to be a very staunch defense, Lemont looks well positioned moving forward.

FND Pick: Lemont

-- Steve Soucie

CCL/ESCC Orange

Providence (1-1) at Fenwick (1-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 21, Fenwick 20 (2021 fall)

About the Celtics: The Providence season was highlighted last year by a one-point win over eventual Class 5A state champion Fenwick. They’d very much like to run that win streak to two against the Friars, but the biggest question right now for the Celtics is establishing an offensive foothold. Providence was shut out by yet another defending state champion, Wheaton North (Class 7A), in Week 2, and despite winning over Lake Central (Ind.) in Week 1, the offense wasn’t exactly robust in that contest either.

About the Friars: The core of the Fenwick state championship squad has graduated, and the Friars are still trying to figure out exactly what their identity is with this year’s version of the squad. Fenwick bounced back nicely in an easy win over an outmanned Thornwood squad in Week 2, but a lopsided loss to Oak Park-River Forest in Week 1 shows that this squad still has some patchwork to do. QB EJ Holst will try to move the Friars forward as quickly as possible.

FND Pick: Fenwick

-- Steve Soucie

Nonconference games

Marist (1-1) at Nazareth (1-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marist 28, Nazareth 14 (2021)

About the RedHawks: After a Week 1 shootout with Glenbard West, Marist got back on track in a big way last week with its 49-6 win over Richards. Converted wide receiver Chris Lofgren ran for 146 yards and four of the RedHawks’ seven rushing TDs. Marist has a couple high-profile recruits on the defensive side of the football with cornerback John Nestor, committed to Iowa, and 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive lineman Jamel Howard, headed to Wisconsin. Wide receiver Ryan Sims is a Miami (Ohio) recruit. Marist won both meetings with Nazareth in 2021, in the spring and fall. Marist is No. 8 in the latest Associated Press Class 8A poll.

About the Roadrunners: Nazareth is 1-1, so no time to panic, but needs to clean things up offensively with Marist coming to town. Dropped passes and other mistakes stalled the Roadrunners’ offense for much of their game in a 24-17 loss to Lemont last week, after Nazareth’s offense was shut out in a 2-0 win over Kankakee Week 1. Sophomore QB Logan Malachuk threw for 238 yards and two TDs, and Zach Hayes had four catches for 52 yards and two scored in the loss. Despite the loss Nazareth remains No. 1 in the latest Class 5A poll.

FND Pick: Marist

Montini (1-1) at Marmion (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marmion 27, Montini 10 (2021)

About the Broncos: Considering the gauntlet of a schedule ahead, Montini got a win last week that it had to have, beating Hillcrest 31-6. The progress defensively, in particular, was no doubt a welcome sight. Senior QB Cole Teschner is 37-for-61 passing for 435 yards and two TDs through two games. Mingo Nixon is his top target with 10 catches for 131 yards and a TD while Santino Florio has 11 catches for 73 yards. The ringleader defensively is Jonathan Goff, who had 14 tackles and two sacks against Hillcrest.

About the Cadets: The Cadets are coming in red hot and have plenty of playmakers to account for. Start with the simple fact they’re winning the scoring margin by an eye-popping 97-0 and they’ve been able to rest and cycle in different players. Ryan Prell had three total touchdowns last week and Josh Lim had 128 all purpose yards. Jack Lesher has been all around the football defensively and will be a matchup problem.

FND Pick: Marmion

Brother Rice (1-1) at Benet (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Brother Rice 42, Benet 6 (2021)

About the Crusaders: The Brother Rice offense was slowed down last week in a 17-12 loss to St. Rita. QB Ryan Hartz threw for 203 yards and a TD to Ryan Gorman but the Crusaders’ offense was turned away twice in the latter stages of the game on fourth down. The Crusaders are a young team under new coach Casey Quedenfeld, who came to Brother Rice after spending time as a coach in two top football programs in the nation — Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, and Loyola High School in Los Angeles. Hartz this season has had huge shoes to fill with the graduation of QB Jack Lausch, now at Northwestern. Roderick Pierce, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman committed to Wisconsin, is a player to watch on the Brother Rice defense.

About the Redwings: Benet last week hung on for a huge 24-21 win over Moline, much-needed with a brutal schedule ahead starting with this week’s matchup with Brother Rice. Pat Pitello caught a 9-yard TD pass, and also had a huge catch that set up a Daniel Flores field goal as Benet scored 17 consecutive points. Michael Lawler ran for two TDs, including a long one for the go-ahead score.

FND Pick: Brother Rice

Downers Grove South (0-2) at Downers Grove North (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Downers Grove North 7, Downers Grove South 0 (2021)

About the Mustangs: Not many teams have faced a tougher first two opponents than Downers Grove South, losses to Wheaton North and Glenbard West, the latter 42-7 last Friday in a game the Mustangs hung in there for a half. The Mustangs, with just one touchdown in each of their first two games, must generate more offense – easier said than done against what looks to be a very stingy Trojans’ defense. Two-way standout Mack O’Halloran was a bright spot against Glenbard West with a 63-yard TD run, close to 75 yards receiving and a blocked extra point. Top priority likely is to get Deon Davis going on the ground to open things up for Ryan Dawson and the Mustangs’ passing game.

About the Trojans: The Trojans are 2-0 for a second consecutive season, but with six third-year varsity players who started as sophomores, there seems to be a sense that Downers Grove North could be on the verge of something more this year. It starts with a defense that allowed just four first downs last week in an eye-opening 30-0 win at Willowbrook. Ben Bielawski is a ringleader of that group with four sacks in Week 1 and two more last week. Ethan Thulin, with six catches for 71 yards last week, is Downers Grove North’s top playmaker offensively. Noah Battle, who went over 100 yards in Week 1 and scored a TD last week, has been steady on the ground. Downers Grove North has won seven consecutive meetings with its crosstown rivals.

FND Pick: Downers Grove North

Westmont (2-0) at Plano (1-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plano 34, Westmont 8 (2017)

About the Sentinels: The Sentinels are looking to go 3-0, but face a tough test on the road in Plano. “As stated every week, we are a very undersized squad with limited bodies,” Westmont coach Taj Jackson Sr. said. “All I ask of my guys is to compete, which is another core value. And of course, we want to burn the clock out.” In last week’s win Brock Conlon rushed for 36 yards, including a 30-yard scamper for his first-ever touchdown. Jackson Sr. also lauded the team’s freshmen players. “Kudos to all the freshmen,” he said. “They all were able to see some field time. Gaining experience will definitely help our future.”

About the Reapers: Plano righted the ship after a frustrating Week 1 loss to Ottawa, racking up 466 yards in a 45-22 win over Manteno. Waleed Johnson, who ran for 245 yards and two TDs, is an electric talent in the open field with the ball in his hands. Now the Reapers meet up with an old Interstate 8 Conference rival before resuming play in the new Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 with three consecutive home games. Samuel Sifuentes, slowed by a bruised foot last week, is hopeful to return although the extent is unclear. In his absence junior QB Armando Martinez was 5-for-7 passing for 124 yards and a TD against Manteno. Plano will almost certainly be without senior linebacker/running back Carnell Walls, who separated his shoulder last week.

FND Pick: Plano

Upstate Eight Conference

West Chicago (0-2, 0-2) at Glenbard East (1-1, 1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard East 49, West Chicago 0 (2021)

About the Wildcats: “Glenbard East will be a formidable foe,” West Chicago coach Adam Chavez said. “They are very well-coached and play physical football. We have to play error-free football, sustain our blocks and made proper reads.” Chavez noted last week against Bartlett (42-0 loss) “did not go very well for us,” he said. “We made mistakes in all three phases. We have to clean up our fundamentals and techniques.”

About the Rams: So far, Glenbard East defeated Larkin (28-0) in its season opener and then dropped a 22-6 decision to South Elgin last week.

FND Pick: Glenbard East

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group

Larkin (1-1, 1-1) at Glenbard South (2-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard South 34, Larkin 7 (2021)

About the Royals: Larkin took strides forward on the offensive side last week against Streamwood. “We executed our offense,” Royals coach Grant Dietz said. “Our offensive line made holes for our backs that got our run game going. Our offensive line is comprised of juniors, and they are working hard in the trenches.” Delay of game penalties have been a cause for concern, though. “We need to eliminate delay of game penalties by moving faster in and out of the huddle and make better decisions and don’t waste opportunities to keep drives going. We must make plays,” Dietz added. Erick Myrick has made his presence known for the Royals. “Erick is being patient for a big game,” Dietz said.

About the Raiders: South has conference wins over East Aurora and Fenton thus far (combined 1-3 mark between them). “Glenbard South is a very good football team,” Dietz said. “They are well-coached and play had. We have to execute our offense and play physical, continue to play well on defense, and eliminate costly penalties that stall drives and set us back.”

FND Pick: Glenbard South

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group

Metro Suburban Blue

Elmwood Park (1-1) at IC Catholic Prep (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: IC Catholic 68, Elmwood Park 0 (2021)

About the Tigers: A 180-degree turn for the Tigers in two weeks, a 67-0 loss to Class 3A No. 2 Reed-Custer followed up by last week’s 41-0 win over Walther Christian. A game at IC Catholic would seem to fit the mold of that Week 1 game. Elmwood Park had four losses by at least 50 points last season, a trend the Tigers would certainly like to prevent repeating.

About the Knights: The Knights remain No. 1 in the latest Class 3A poll, and it should not surprise after they gave at the time Class 4A No. 1 Joliet Catholic all it wanted in an eventual 23-22 that was decided in the last minute. That kind of result against that opponent, even in defeat, should reinforce the notion that the Knights will be a bear for opponents the rest of the season and into the playoffs. Junior QB Dennis Mandala continued to impress, 16-for-23 passing for 382 yards and three long TD passes. Two of those long scores went to fellow junior KJ Parker, who has already caught four TD passes in two games. IC Catholic’s schedule seems to lighten up considerably over the next three weeks, allowing the Knights to iron out any deficiencies.

FND Pick: IC Catholic

Aurora Central Catholic (0-2) at Wheaton Academy (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton Academy 51, ACC 7 (2021)

About the Chargers: The Metro Suburban Blue opener for both teams. “It was six years ago Aurora Central Catholic knocked us out of the first round of playoffs,” Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik said. “A lot has transpired in our program since that time, and we’re heading into this week against them in a completely different place. Success this week is building upon the strong start to the season by implementing more offensive looks and making small adjustments defensively.”

About the Warriors: Johanik talked about the fact remaining disciplined and maintaining a consistent, high level of output in practice can be challenging week to week in high school football. “I tell our guys all the time the season is a marathon and not a sprint. It requires a punch-the-time-card, hardhat-and-lunch pail mentality. You have to show up to work every day because others depend on you. After last week against an upstart opponent, we’ve bought into this mentality and have practiced well regardless of who we played. I look for this mindset to continue in the coming weeks.” After the 63-0 win over Christ the King, the Warriors found out their Marian Central, their Week 1 opponent, put up 54 points against Johnsburg “and we really only gave up seven against them, so our defense was encouraged,” Johanik said. Two-way lineman Jaret Jawor (6-3, 245) continues to excel. “Jaret is a big man who can be often found downfield blocking for wide receivers and running backs,” Johanik said. “He’s a big lacrosse player who has speed for a big guy.”

FND Pick: Wheaton Academy

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group

Metro Suburban Red

St. Francis (2-0) vs. St. Edward (2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Francis 50, St. Edward 8 (2013)

About the Spartans: St. Francis, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, did some impressive work in the non-conference portion of its schedule. The Spartans followed up a 17-6 win over Class 8A school Lake Forest with a 35-27 win over Sterling last Friday. If junior running back Amari Head isn’t a household name yet, he may be soon, after 163 yards of offense and three TDs against Sterling. Junior QB Alessio Milivojevic was 15-for-22 passing for 179 yards with a TD. Leading the charge defensively was Dom Beres with 11.5 tackles and Illinois recruit TJ McMillen up front with six tackles, two tackles for losses and a blocked extra point.

About the Green Wave: Not the start to the season St. Edward wanted, losses to Platteville (Wisc.) 49-14 and Taylorville 24-21 heading into an extremely difficult matchup with St. Francis. It is the two teams’ first meeting since they were members of the Suburban Christian Blue. St. Edward has eight returning starters from last year’s 4-5 team, but depth is a concern with eight starters playing both ways.

FND Pick: St. Francis

Chicago Christian (1-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Riverside-Brookfield 42, Chicago Christian 6 (2021)

About the Knights: Chicago Christian followed up a 19-0 win over Chicago Sullivan in Week 1 with a 41-0 loss at Ottawa Marquette. The Knights managed just 59 yards of total offense, and five yards rushing, and fell behind 21-0 after a quarter in the loss to Marquette. Chicago Christian has three starters back on offense and four on defense from last year’s 4-5 team.

About the Bulldogs: R-B comes in off a 35-21 loss at Wauconda last Friday. Ryan Novak, who ran for 115 yards and three TDs in Week 1′s win over Morton, started at linebacker last week but saw limited time on offense. QB Diego Gutierrez ran for two TDs and threw one to Ignace Bielobradek. Home opener for the Bulldogs after back-to-back road games to start the season.

FND Pick: Riverside-Brookfield