Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Kane County Chronicle preview capsules for Week 6

St. Charles North’s Brody Geary (2) runs the ball during a game at Geneva on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.

DuKane Conference

Wheaton Warrenville South (2-3, 1-2) at Batavia (3-2, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Batavia 41 Wheaton South 20 (2021)

About the Bulldogs: Batavia is back on track with consecutive victories in as many weeks. The Bulldogs handled Glenbard North and are now getting Drew Gerke going offensively as a receiver. Gerke had three touchdowns last week. With the offense humming along, so is the defense. Now, they’re at home, a good situation to be in.

About the Tigers: Wheaton South blanked St. Charles East last week, a sign the Tigers are rounding into form with crucial weeks ahead. Colin Moore might be the best defensive back in the DuKane Conference, keeping in mind that his collective defensive unit held the Saints to less than 100 total yards last week.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Batavia

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: SCE 28, Geneva 20 (2021)

About the Vikings: Geneva hit its first speed bump of the season in the Vikings’ loss against St. Charles North last week. A slowly developing run game in the first half was also compounded by Nate Stempowski not finding much time dropping back. After perhaps a humbling loss at home, the Vikings likely want to start fast and often this week.

About the Saints: It’s been tough sledding for St. Charles East in conference play, the Saints still searching for their first win. Last week, the Saints struggled mightily in Wheaton, but now return home in hopes of keeping postseason dreams more realistic.

FND Pick: Geneva

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: St. Charles North 42, Lake Park 0 (2021)

About the North Stars: St. Charles North has a chance to become eligible for the postseason for the first time since 2018 with a win. Of course, the North Stars have a top five player in the conference, in Drew Surges, who ran for 200 yards and made a plethora of defensive stops last week against Geneva. Ethan Plumb has stabilized the quarterback position for the second consecutive week and is playing perhaps his best football to date.

About the Lancers: Lake Park hasn’t generated many points in the last two weeks, just seven. Though, it did play Wheaton North and Batavia. It doesn’t get any easier against a North Stars defense that features playmakers at all levels.

FND Pick: St. Charles North

St. Charles East players take the field before their season opener against Lincoln-Way Central at home on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

CCL/ESCC Orange

Marmion (2-3, 0-1) at Fenwick

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Fenwick 31, Marmion 26 (2021)

About the Cadets: Marmion is enduring the tough stretch of its schedule. Marist blanked the Cadets 42-0 last week. The Cadets have talent in Ryan Prell, Jack Lesher and others capable of turning their offense around, which has scored three combined points over the last two weeks.

About the Friars: Fenwick is coming off a 41-7 loss to Loyola, leaving the Friars little margin for error if the defending Class 5A champs are to return to the postseason. It is anything but an easy road with games remaining against Marmion, St. Patrick and St. Ignatius. Senior QB E.J. Hosty guides a Fenwick offense that has had its share of ups and downs through the course of the season.

FND Pick: Fenwick

Fox Valley Conference

Jacobs (4-1, 4-1) at Burlington Central (2-3, 2-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Jacobs 54, Burlington Central 14 (2021)

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs lost to Huntley 37-20 last week. RB Antonio Brown has rushed for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns. He scored all three of the Eagles’ touchdowns in last week’s game. RB Joey Scrivani has 476 yards rushing and FB Paulie Rudolph has 251. Jacobs is No. 9 in The Associated Press Class 7A poll.

About the Rockets: Central defeated Crystal Lake South 24-20 last week. The Rockets came up with a big defensive stop at the end of the game as South’s pass was incomplete in the end zone as time expired. RB Michael Ganziano has 375 yards rushing. WRs Michael Person (17 receptions), LJ Kerr and Caden West (12 each) are the top receivers for QB Jackson Alcorn.

FND Pick: Jacobs.

-- Joe Stevenson

Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8

Sycamore (5-0, 2-0) at Kaneland (3-2, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sycamore 56, Kaneland 28 (2021)

About the Spartans: The Spartans knocked off an unbeaten team for the second week in a row, toppling Rochelle 34-0 on the road for the team’s second shutout. Eli Meier led the team in rushing last week with 69 yards on five carries plus through for 147, 139 going to Burke Gautcher on seven catches.

About the Knights: Kaneland picked up its second straight win last week, 41-14 against Ottawa after a 49-7 win against Woodstock. The Knights have scored at least 41 points in all three wins and 24 or less in their losses. Tyler Bradshaw rushed for four touchdowns in the win.

FND Pick: Sycamore

-- Eddie Carifio

Metro Suburban Red

Aurora Christian (3-2, 1-1) at St. Francis (5-0, 2-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Francis 49, Aurora Christian 27 (2021)

About the Eagles: St. Francis coach Bob McMillen knows his team will have to be on its toes against Aurora Christian. “Aurora Christian is a well-coached, championship team,” he said. “Coach (David) Beebe and his staff will have these kids ready to play. We have to match the intensity and not make mistakes. They have a big offensive line that can move people. We need to be able to disrupt the quarterback and make some plays behind the line of scrimmage. On offense, we need to be efficient and not turn the ball over.”

About the Spartans: Quarterback Alessio Milivojevic went 8-for-9 passing last week for 170 yards and threw five touchdowns with no interceptions. Jack Reilly, the backup quarterback, was 3-for-3 for 79 yards and threw 3 TDs in the 69-14 win over Champaign Central. Amari Head ran four times for 118 yards and a touchdown. Milivojevic has thrown for 732 yards with 11 touchdowns and no picks while completing 75% of his passes. Head has run for 381 yards (8.5 yards per carry) and five touchdowns, while Cooper Winslow is 24-for-25 on point-after attempts (his only miss was a block). “I am pleasantly surprised by the play of our younger kids,” McMillen said. “We have five kids who are either freshmen or sophomores starting on our varsity. I love the way they come to practice and prepare each week. It’s been showing since the start of the season and they are getting better. I am looking forward to seeing their development the next few weeks.” Junior two-way lineman Dan Theiss continues to impress. “Since his move to guard, he has been playing at a much higher level,” McMillen said. “On defense, we are able to plug him in anywhere on the line and we don’t skip a beat.” Sophomore wide receiver-safety Liam Kolinski has been starting at strong safety all year. “He’s one of the kids who punches in every day to get better,” McMillen noted. “The last few weeks he has started for us at split end due to injuries and has started to build a good relationship with our quarterbacks.” Junior center Jack Donovan also has responded. “Jack is a kid who had some big shoes to fill because we moved TJ (McMillen) to left tackle. Jack has been a solid anchor in the middle of the offensive line, making checks and moving people around. He’s a huge part of why we have a good amount of success on offense.”

FND Pick: St. Francis

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group