Analysis | Friday Night Drive

Kane County Chronicle football preview capsules for Week 9 of the 2022 season

Batavia’s Ryan Boe (21) sits in the pocket and looks downfield against Geneva during a football game at Batavia High School on Friday, Oct 7, 2022.

DuKane Conference

St. Charles North (7-1, 6-0) at Batavia (6-2, 5-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Batavia 36, St. Charles North 29 in 2OT (2021)

About the Bulldogs: It’s pretty simple. If Batavia wins, it ensures at least a share of the DuKane Conference with the North Stars. A loss, and SCN wins outright. This is a matchup that has been by decided by one possession the past several meetings and there is no reason to expect anything different. The Bulldogs have won five straight games since dropping back-to-back games in Weeks 2 and 3.

About the North Stars: The North Stars enter riding a seven-game winning streak and with a ton of momentum. It’s well-established by now Drew Surges will be getting the ball early and often. Win, and the North Stars will be DuKane Conference champions outright. St. Charles North has not beaten Batavia since the 2017 Upstate Eight River finale. Until the North Stars do, respectfully, Batavia earns the benefit of the doubt at home.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Batavia

Geneva (5-3, 3-3) at Lake Park (1-7, 1-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Geneva 14, Lake Park 6 (2021)

About the Vikings: Despite another hiccup last week in a tough 20-13 loss to Wheaton North, the Vikings still appear in great shape to clinch their sixth win. Geneva has had a bit of trouble running the football in recent weeks, but conversely, the defense has stopped it quite well. As long as Geneva limits bigger spark plays down field, it should get a sixth win.

About the Lancers: The Lancers re-tooling season will be drawing to a close regardless of the outcome of Friday’s game. Lake Park is looking to end a five-game losing streak on a high note and celebrate its first conference win since defeating St. Charles East on Sept. 9.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Geneva

St. Charles East (2-6, 0-6) at Wheaton North (7-1, 5-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last Matchup: Wheaton North 43-21 (2021)

About the Saints: Another re-tooling season will draw to a close on Friday and it’s a rather tough test to close with a rolling Falcons squad. St. Charles East will be playing for pride, hoping to secure a conference win and send its seniors out on a high note. There’s also extra motivation for a win to negate Wheaton North a possible share of the conference title in the event St. Charles North loses.

About the Falcons: Wheaton North escaped Geneva with a 20-13 win last week in large part due to its defense and large pass plays downfield. A win ensures them at least position for a share of the conference title, depending what St. Charles North does.

FND Pick: Wheaton 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

Marmion (3-5, 0-2) at De La Salle (1-7, 0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marmion 34, De La Salle 15 (2021)

About the Cadets: The Cadets are effectively still on the outside looking in at a postseason berth, but certainly helped themselves with a shutout win over Leo last week.

About the Meteors: Defensively, it’s been very tough sledding for De La Salle this season, surrendering at least 40 points four times this season. De La Salle’s lone win was a 49-2 victory to open September.

FND Pick: Marmion

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central (4-4, 4-4) at McHenry (3-5, 3-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Burlington Central 30, McHenry 13 (2021)

About the Rockets: Central beat Cary-Grove 10-7 in overtime last week on Griffin Kohlhoff’s 37-yard walk-off field goal. That win kept the Rockets within reach of making the playoffs for the first time since 2014. If they beat McHenry, they will be in the Class 5A playoffs. QB Jackson Alcorn has thrown for 973 yards and eight touchdowns. WRs Michael Person (27 receptions), LJ Kerr (21) and Caden West (18) are Alcorn’s top targets. RB Michael Ganziano leads the Rockets with 555 rushing yards.

About the Warriors: McHenry defeated Crystal Lake Central 27-21 last week. QB Dom Caruso has thrown for 1,709 yards, with WRs Jacob Zarek (40 catches, 751 yards, four TDs) and Zack Maness (38, 633, five) as his leading receivers. Only one of McHenry’s five losses was by more than 18 points.

FND pick: Burlington Central

-- Joe Stevenson

Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8

La Salle-Peru (5-3, 5-3) at Kaneland (5-3, 3-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kaneland 55, La Salle-Peru 13 (2021)

About the Knights: They are surging toward the postseason, having won four of their past five, the lone blemish a 28-7 loss to undefeated Sycamore. Last week was their second dominant victory in a row, knocking off Woodstock North, 45-6 a week after beating Marengo, 44-3.

The defense has given up 136 points this year, the third-fewest in the conference. With most of the same players last year, Kaneland gave up 319 points in 10 games.

“I think as a coaching staff we’re happy with the progress we’ve made on that side of the ball,” Kaneland coach Patrick Ryan said. “We expected we’d be better, I don’t think we thought we’d be this good. At times we’ve looked really, really tremendous on defense. There’s always room for improvement, so we’ll continue to work on things and get better. But compared to last season we weren’t just very good. We were so young and inexperienced. Most of the kids are back and they look like a different group. They’ve grown physically and mentally and it’s showing.”

About the Cavaliers: L-P is looking to win more than five games in a regular season for the first time since 2009 when it was 7-2. The Cavaliers went 5-4 in 2019, 5-0 in the spring of 2021 and 5-4 last fall. The Cavs lost 28-0 to Sycamore last week. It was L-P’s third consecutive shutout loss to the Spartans. L-P struggled offensively against Sycamore, gaining just 53 rushing yards and not completing a pass. Defensively, the Cavs held the Spartans to seven points in the first half and allowed 139 rushing yards and 195 passing yards for the game. L-P has scored a touchdown or less in three games this season, while holding five opponents to 16 points or fewer. L-P has four rushers with 250 or more yards – Maalik Madrigal (341 yards, 2 TDs), Brendan Boudreau (319 yards, 5 TDs), Peyton Ellermeyer (301 yards, 2 TDs) and Mason Lynch (272 yards, 2 TDs).

FND pick: Kaneland

-- Eddie Carifio

Metro Suburban Conference

St. Francis (8-0) at IC Catholic Prep (7-1)

When: 7:15 p.m. Friday (Plunkett Athletic Complex, Elmhurst)

Last matchup: St. Francis 19, IC Catholic Prep 7 (2021)

About the Spartans: How about this for a Week 9 matchup? This is a showdown of the two Metro Suburban Conference divisional champions with St. Francis winning the Red title this year and the Knights once again winning the Blue title. “IC Catholic Prep is one of the best teams in the state who year in and year out is competing for a championship,” St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said. McMillen likes how wide receiver-defensive back Corin Greenwell has played. “Corin is coming back from an injury and has given us a boost on both sides of the ball,” he said. Offensive lineman Antonio Gutierrez also has made big strides this season. “Antonio is probably playing the best I have seen him play in three years,” McMillen noted. Linebacker Dom Beres “is all over the field making plays,” McMillen added. “He should be in consideration for defensive player of the year in the conference.” McMillen noted defensive end Antonio Suriano is an unsung player “who does a lot of dirty work,” he said. “He plays extremely hard and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.”

About the Knights: Since losing by a point to Joliet Catholic in Week 2, the Knights have put up point totals of 53, 55, 75, 42, 48 and 47. Quarterback Dennis Mandala threw for 172 yards and four touchdowns last week against Bishop McNamara, and the Knights’ rushing attack ran for 107 yards on just 10 carries with Denzell Gibson and Malik Gray each running for a score. KJ Parker caught two touchdown passes, while JP Schmidt and Dominik Hulak each had one touchdown. Nathan Schmidt and Gerald Harris each had a sack on defense, while Eric Karner recovered a fumble. Mandala has thrown for 1,562 yards and 21 touchdowns. Gibson has run for 449 yards and seven touchdowns, while Gray is at 354 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The Knights are averaging 10.6 yards per carry through 8 games, an impressive body of work. Parker has 725 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

FND Pick: St. Francis

-- Mike Miazga, Daily Herald Media Group