Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue
Sandwich (3-0, 1-0) at Richmond-Burton (3-0, 1-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Richmond-Burton 55, Sandwich 6 (2021)
About the Indians: The rousing return of Sandwich varsity football reached another high note last Friday with the Indians’ 27-7 win over rival Plano. Sandwich is 3-0 for the first time since 2018. The Indians have relied on a tried and true formula of a dominant running game spread out to multiple backs out of the wing-T. Junior wingback Simeion Harris, who had 153 yards and a touchdown against Plano, is the big-play guy. But Nick Michalek, who rushed for 107 yards and a TD last week, and fullback Parker Anderson can also be counted on to get plenty of touches. Sandwich would be well-served to control clock against a high-powered Richmond-Burton attack. As exciting of a start to the season as the Indians have provided, a matchup with a stalwart program like Richmond-Burton, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A as of last year, will provide by far their toughest test to date.
About the Rockets: Richmond-Burton comes off a near flawless 42-0 win over Marengo last Thursday. R-B scored on every possession except the last one of the game, while the defense held Marengo to 140 total yards. Fullback Braxtin Nellessen rushed for 134 yards and three second-quarter touchdowns. JT Groh only threw five passes, but maximized it with 112 yards and two TDs. Richmond-Burton has won 26 consecutive games in the KRC dating back to 2018.
FND Pick: Richmond-Burton
Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 crossover
Plano (2-1) at La Salle-Peru (2-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: La Salle-Peru 47, Plano 14 (2022)
About the Reapers: After two good wins to start the year, Plano dropped a 27-7 loss to Sandwich last week. Plano managed just 197 yards of total offense while giving up 429. Waleed Johnson rushed for 77 yards, a quiet night after the huge numbers the senior running back put up the first two games. Andrew Cox ran for 60 yards and Plano’s lone TD and Armando Martinez threw for 65 yards. The Reapers cannot waste any time licking their wounds with a road game looming at a La Salle-Peru team that pushed Plano around last year with superior size. The next three weeks – games with L-P, Richmond-Burton and Johnsburg – present the teeth of Plano’s schedule.
About the Cavaliers: La Salle-Peru bounced back from a Week 2 loss to Metamora to beat Woodstock North 35-24 last Friday. Quarterback Brendan Boudreau finished 12-of-15 passing for 143 yards and two TDs while rushing for 48 yards and two scores, while Brady Romagnoli ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. Head coach Jose Medina took over as L-P’s offensive coordinator this season and installed a gap-scheme offense that runs out of the shotgun in an effort to be more balanced after running the triple option for the past six seasons. The Cavaliers ran for 307 yards and threw for 159 in a Week 1 win over United Township.
FND Pick: La Salle-Peru
Southwest Prairie Conference crossover
Oswego (3-0) at Joliet Central (0-3)
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Oswego 42, Joliet Central 0 (2022)
About the Panthers: Oswego continues to look more and more like the dominant team opponents in these parts are accustomed to seeing, as the Panthers rolled up a 41-0 halftime lead on Plainfield Central last week en route to a 48-3 win. Taiden Thomas, Mikey Claycombe and the Panthers’ defense isn’t budging much, with just one score allowed over three games by the first-team unit. Offensively, Oswego has found success spreading the wealth among running backs Noah Vera, Dylan King and Co. as the Panthers reestablish their blue-color identity. That said, Jeremiah Cain is a playmaker on the outside with TD catches each of the last two weeks, last Friday’s the spectacular one-handed variety. A matchup with defending SPC West champ Plainfield North looms a week from now.
About the Steelmen: Joliet Central had made some progress in the first two weeks of the season, particularly on offense. But Week 3 wasn’t nearly as kind as the Steelmen were overwhelmed by Minooka. This isn’t an ideal matchup for Joliet Central, but hopefully it can survive it without too much damage before entering SPC East Conference play where the level of competition might be a touch more conductive to the Steelmen doing a few more positive things.
FND Pick: Oswego
Oswego East (1-2) at Plainfield South (0-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Oswego East 28, Plainfield South 0 (2019)
About the Wolves: Oswego East broke out of its early season offensive funk in a big way in Week 3, posting 41 points in a shutout victory over Plainfield East. In its prior two games the Wolves had posted just 25 points. If that’s sustainable the Wolves could get back to the .500 mark which is an absolute must heading into SPC divisional play.
About the Cougars: New coach Jake Brosman seems to have built a similar foundation to the previous Plainfield South regime as the Cougars have played very strong defense through the first third of the year. But the offense has not been up to the standard required as Plainfield South has put up just 13 points over that stretch. That’s going to put any defense, no matter how good, up against the eight ball in every situation. Plainfield South quarterback Cody Hogan showed some flashes late in the Week 3 loss, but the Cougars need to see that more often and more consistently.
FND Pick: Oswego East
Yorkville (1-2) at Plainfield Central (1-2)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Yorkville 27, Plainfield Central (2022)
About the Foxes: Yorkville was surprised in Week 3 by Joliet West 20-17 on a last-second field goal, leaving them needing a win just to get back to the .500 mark before heading into a rigorous SPC West Conference schedule. The Foxes led into the fourth quarter of that game, but were hurt by 10 penalties for 83 yards. Despite its 1-2 record on the season the Foxes have still been fairly strong on defense. It is a middling offense that might be able to get on track against a Plainfield Central defense that has already surrendered over 100 points in three games. Michael Dopart threw for 147 yards and a TD and Luke Zook ran for a team-high 71 yards and a TD against Joliet West.
About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central ran into a buzzsaw in Week 3 against Oswego failing to figure out how to get points on the board until the last play of the game. The Wildcats are an extremely young bunch and are still trying to find their way at several positions. The Wildcats have posted just 25 points through three games and its win over Metea Valley marked the only time Plainfield Central has posted more than seven points in a game.
FND Pick: Yorkville