Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Kane County Chronicle preview capsules for Week 5

Geneva’s Talyn Taylor (1) runs for.a touchdown during a game at Wheaton Warrenville South on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

DuKane Conference

Batavia (2-2, 1-1) at Glenbard North (2-2, 1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Batavia 21, Glenbard North 20 (2021)

About the Bulldogs: Batavia rolled in last week’s 42-0 victory over Lake Park. There are plenty of standout performances to choose from, whether it was Ryan Whitwell’s 173 yards rushing, linebacker Tyler Jansey’s 13 tackles or Ben Fiegel’s 10. Both of these teams feature power running games and physical front sevens defensively, but that brand of football tends to favor the Bulldogs more often than not.

About the Panthers: Glenbard North scored 20 unanswered points in the second half of last week’s 41-34 victory over St. Charles East. Damarion Elliston rushed for a game-high 183 yards and will likely be a point of interest for the Panthers to sustain this week. Defensively, the Panthers did give up a number of chunk yardage plays, but clearly limited the damage after halftime.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Batavia

St. Charles East (2-2, 0-2) at Wheaton Warrenville South (1-3, 0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Wheaton South 24, St. Charles East 7 (2021)

About the Saints: St. Charles East will likely want to make up for a second half last week in which it blew a 13-point halftime lead and ultimately was outscored 20-0 after halftime. The Saints were able to break off some big-yardage plays between Mason Tousignant, Charles Bolsoni, Blake Schuette and more, but had a tough time limiting the running game, an area the Tigers have struggled a little bit to get going offensively for themselves in recent weeks.

About the Tigers: Wheaton South’s defense has sputtered a bit in recent weeks, giving up 35 points in consecutive games. Couple that with a limited running game impact, the Tigers are looking to get back to the basic identity of what they typically do best: Running the football and limiting mistakes defensively. Charlie Butt had a blocked punt last week as well.

FND Pick: St. Charles East

St. Charles North (3-1, 2-0) at Geneva (4-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Geneva 29, St. Charles North 26 (2021)

About the North Stars: St. Charles North is coming off the best overall win in the DuKane Conference last week, upsetting Wheaton North 22-21. The North Stars did lose starting quarterback Will Vaske to a shoulder injury, but experienced starter Ethan Plumb is back installed for this week and did throw for 256 yards. The North Stars’ collective defense continues to impress and limited the Falcons’ rushing attack.

About the Vikings: Geneva’s offensive identity is pretty clear at this point: Big play potential anywhere on the field. The Vikings, also aided with defensive scores, have scored over 30 points three out of the four games. The connection between quarterback Nate Stempowski and wideout Talyn Taylor is about as dynamic as it gets and Troy Velez is physical out of the backfield.

FND Pick: Geneva


Marmion (2-2, 0-1) at Marist (2-2, 0-1)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marist 38, Marmion 13 (2021)

About the Cadets: The Cadets have taken a little slide in consecutive weeks, getting outscored 61-3 in two losses to Montini and St. Ignatius. One area the Cadets need to clean up is in the rushing game, as the Wolfpack ran for 461 rushing yards to Marmion’s 63.

About the RedHawks: Marist’s two losses came against Glenbard West and Class 7A AP No. 1-ranked Mount Carmel, but otherwise have looked strong in wins over Nazareth and Richards by a combined 80-9. Mt. Carmel only punted once last week, so look for the Marist defense to step it up against the Cadets. Plenty of standouts to choose from, but keep an eye on junior linebacker Duke White, who averages eight tackles per game.

FND Pick: Marist

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central (1-3, 1-3) at Crystal Lake South (3-1, 3-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Crystal Lake South 44, Burlington Central 26 (2021)

About the Rockets: Central lost to Huntley 16-7 last week. Rockets QB Jackson Alcorn has thrown the ball well with 579 passing yards and five touchdowns. WR Michael Person leads Central with 14 receptions. WR LJ Kerr averages 26.8 yards per catch and has eight grabs, WR Caden West has nine receptions. Central has lost three in a row after winning its opener.

About the Gators: South held off Dundee-Crown 39-32 last week. RB Nate Van Witzenburg had another big game with five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in last week’s victory. He is fifth on the area rushing list with 614 yards and 11 touchdowns. QB Caden Casimino is second in the area with 1,107 passing yards. WR Michael Prokos is second in the area with 28 receptions. WRs Colton Hess (12) and Brady Schroeder (10) are the other top targets, along with Van Witzenburg (11). The Gators received nine points in the Class 6A poll and are two spots out of the top 10.

FND pick: Crystal Lake South

-- Joe Stevenson

Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8

Kaneland (2-2, 1-1) at Ottawa (3-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland 52, Ottawa 26 (2021)

About the Knights: Kaneland snapped a two-game losing streak (both against teams that are still undefeated) with a 49-7 win against Woodstock, getting big contributions from all three of its running backs.

Coach Pat Ryan said Chris Ruchah, Tyler Bradshaw and Josh Mauthe give a lot of variety to the backfield and are all finding their rythym.

“I thought the offensive line in general played pretty well,” Ryan said. “They’ve really improved in as the year has gone on. We have three backs that can effectively run the ball and each has their own little things about them. Our run game just continues to get better.”

Ryan said his team is ready to face a much improved Ottawa team, even off a big loss to Sycamore last week. The Knights face the Spartans next week.

“I think they’re a much more sound football team,” Ryan said. “They play better fundamentals than they’ve played in the past. They did have some big plays against Sycamore last week. Historically Ottawa has always been able to get big plays on us. If we can eliminate of limit their big plays we’ll be OK.

About the Pirates: At 3-0 through three weeks, Ottawa expects things to get tougher as it dove into Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 White divisional play. Things did with a 54-20 loss at Sycamore in Week 4. Still, the Pirates saw some positives in that loss and will look to build on those in another KR/I8 White matchup, with a win putting Ottawa in excellent position for the program’s first playoff berth since 2012. Ottawa is outgaining opponents 337.0-256.3 in yards from scrimmage, led by strong line play clearing the way for RBs Julian Alexander (264 yards, 1 TD) and Ryder Miller (233 yards, 4 TDs), QB Colby Mortenson (490 yards and five TDs passing; 113 yards and four TDs rushing) and WR/Wildcat QB Levi Sheehan (10 receptions, 144 yards, two TDs).

Friday Night Drive pick: Kaneland

-- Eddie Carifio


St. Francis (4-0) at Champaign Central (1-3)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: First known meeting.

About the Maroons: St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said a quick Central team awaits in this Week 5 non-conference contest. “Champaign Central looks very athletic and fast on film,” he said. “We will need to be able to have a balanced attack on offense. Amari and Brady have been a great 1-2 punch at running back and we have had great quarterback-wide receiver play the last few games. We will need to stop the run.” The Maroons lost 42-0 to Normal West to open Big Twelve Conference play, lost 50-14 to Normal Community in league action, defeated Granite City 18-13 in non-conference play and lost 45-20 to city rival Champaign Centennial last week.

About the Spartans: McMillen said his undefeated squad is communicating more often on both sides of the ball. “The boys are talking more, seeing the checks faster and identifying their blocking schemes,” he explained. Defensive improvements have revolved around tackling. “We are tackling much better and swarming to the football,” he said. Last week, TJ McMillen had seven pancakes, two tackles, recovered a fumble and ran it in for touchdown and had a 40-yard run. Quarterback Alessio Milivojevic was 14-for-16 for 198 yards and three touchdown passes. He also ran a score in.

FND pick: St. Francis

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group