Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Record Newspapers Football Preview Capsules for Week 5

Southwest Prairie West

Oswego (2-2, 0-0) at Minooka (3-1, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego 41, Minooka 28 (2021)

About the Panthers: Oswego, after an 0-2 start, took care of business the last two weeks in conference crossover play, handling Romeoville and Joliet Central by a combined 98-7 margin. The Panthers should be fresh, as starters did not play more than a half in either game. Michigan recruit Deakon Tonielli returned from a minor injury to score two touchdowns last week. Jordan Katzenbach, with 12 catches for 245 yards and two TDs, is a big-play target for Cruz Ibarra when teams key on Tonielli. In the absence of Nick Scott with a Week 1 injury Oswego has employed a backfield by committee approach as four players have at least 14 carries, led by juniors Alex Magana and Noah Vera. Junior LB Gaven Brown is the leading tackler for a young Oswego defense.

About the Indians: After a humbling loss to Bolingbrook in Week 1, Minooka has regrouped rather nicely. An opportunistic defensive unit has been offering extra possessions to the offense and they’ve managed to cash in quite a few of those chances. QB Gavin Dooley has been solid and the Indians seem to be forming a cache of productive offensive players in RB’s Joey Patridge and Braeden Anderson and WR D.J. McIntosh.

FND Pick: Minooka

West Aurora (1-3, 0-0) at Oswego East (3-1, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego East 27, West Aurora 7 (2021)

About the Blackhawks: West Aurora was the lone SPC West team to lose a conference crossover game, three of them in fact after last week’s 36-31 loss to Joliet West. The Blackhawks’ defense has struggled in their three losses, giving up an average of 34 points per game. Senior QB Gino Martino has completed 52% of his passes on the year for 740 yards with eight TDs and two interceptions. His top target is 6-foot-4 senior Andrew Kolich, who has 23 catches for 351 yards and five TDs. Terrence Smith, a 6-4 sophomore and also a standout basketball player, has 12 catches for 300 yards and two TDs. West Aurora is 0-15 in SPC West play since joining the league.

About the Wolves: Oswego East has picked up back-to-back blowout wins in crossover games after its only loss. A third straight win seems probable against a Blackhawks’ team that has struggled in divisional play, but Oswego East must guard against overlooking them on Homecoming week and with the schedule ahead. The Wolves have been effective running the ball behind an improved offensive line with 200.5 yards per game; it could get even better with the possible return of starting RB Oshobi Odior from an ankle injury. QB Tre Jones is a steady and at times spectacular dual threat with 307 yards rushing and four TDs, and has also completed 61% of his passes for 304 yards.

FND Pick: Oswego East

Plainfield North (4-0, 0-0) at Yorkville (4-0, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield North 31, Yorkville 3 (2021)

About the Tigers: Plainfield North seems to be firing on all cylinders right now. Offensively, the Tigers have opened up the playbook a bit and with good reason as QB Demir Ashiru has more than demonstrated that it is a viable route for them. RB John St. Clair can also help Plainfield North move the ball on the ground should it choose to take the more traditional route for them. Defensively, mistakes have been an isolated few with the very few points the unit has allowed coming well after the Tigers have managed to build substantial leads.

About the Foxes: Yorkville’s front seven, as good as any in the league, has lived up to its advanced billing. The Foxes allowed just six total yards and three first downs over the first three quarters and had five sacks in last week’s 40-20 win over Plainfield East. Senior defensive linemen Jake Davies (21 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) and Andrew Laurich (20 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) are ringleaders of a group that will certainly face its stiffest test to date against a multi-dimensional Tigers’ attack. Yorkville leading rusher Gio Zeman missed last week’s game with what was believed to be a sprained foot; his status for this week is uncertain, but junior Josh Gettemy did fill in to run for 145 yards last week. Blake Kersting, with four TD catches already, is one of several defensive stalwarts also getting snaps on offense; the Foxes will need all hands on deck to generate offense against a Tigers’ defense that has allowed just 35 points.

FND Pick: Plainfield North

Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue

Plano (2-2, 0-0) at Richmond-Burton (4-0, 1-0)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Richmond-Burton 21, Plano 14 (2021)

About the Reapers: Plano is looking to put in the rearview mirror its 47-14 loss to La Salle-Peru last week, a game in which the Reapers were simply overpowered by the bigger and more physical Cavaliers. A visit to Richmond-Burton doesn’t seem like an ideal scenario to get back on track, but Plano can take a measure of confidence from its close 21-14 loss last season to the Rockets. A few big plays from junior Waleed Johnson, like the 80-yard TD he broke off last week, will be necessary to compete. But Plano needs to show it can throw it, and throw it deep, to keep defenses honest against Johnson, who has rushed for 680 yards and eight TDs through four games.

About the Rockets: R-B defeated Normal West, which was ranked No. 9 in Class 6A, 33-26 last week. The Rockets got a big boost from their passing game in the second half last week as QB Joe Miller completed 11 of 16 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. RB Steven Siegel has rushed for 698 yards and RB Toby Quentrall-Quezada has 263 yards. The Rockets are No. 3 in the Class 4A poll. R-B has won 36 of its past 37 games.

FND Pick: Richmond-Burton