Southwest Prairie Conference West
Oswego (4-0, 0-0) at Plainfield North (1-3, 0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Plainfield North 31, Oswego 3 (2022)
About the Panthers: Oswego usually is at the top or at least near the top of the heap in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Faith wavered outside of the Oswego camp if that was still the case after a 3-6 season in 2022, but the Panthers clearly want to restore the roar to previous levels, as they have been dominant through four games, outscoring opponents by a combined 147-17. Oswego has playmakers on both sides of the ball with Taiden Thomas, Carson Cooney and Mikey Claycombe on defense and Jeremiah Cain, Dylan King and Noah Vera offensively.
About Plainfield North: Plainfield North has gotten the defensive it counts on having for the first four weeks of the season. The Tigers are allowing fewer than 10 points per game, a number almost any team would be fine with. The problem is whatever they’ve tried on offense simply has not clicked. The Tigers have had three of its four games with 10 points including a Week 4 loss to Joliet West, where its lone touchdown was scored by WR Omar Coleman, a player the Tigers would clearly like to get the ball more often.
FND Pick: Oswego
Minooka (3-1, 0-0) at Oswego East (2-2, 0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Minooka 16, Oswego East 13 (2022)
About the Indians: A six-point showing in Week 2 by Minooka is starting to look like a hiccup. The Indians have scored 163 points in their other three games and have won those comfortably. RB Joey Partridge scored three of Minooka’s six rushing touchdowns in a Week 4 win over Romeoville where the Indians had 400-plus yards of offense. Although the SPC West will provide more stern challenges, the Indians are rightfully confident on both sides of the ball. Even in its loss, Minooka only allowed 10 points, and the experienced and talented group of defenders can keep opponents in check.
About the Wolves: The last two weeks of crossover games have breathed new life into Oswego East, as it has climbed back to the .500 mark after back-to-back losses to start the season. Sophomore QB Niko Villacci has made steady progress, throwing for 147 yards and three touchdowns with a rushing TD in last week’s 41-3 win over Plainfield South. Armon Holmes also threw a TD to Andre Cobige Jr. and Christian Martyn ran in a score.
FND Pick: Minooka
Yorkville (2-2, 0-0) at West Aurora (4-0, 0-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Yorkville 10, West Aurora 0 (2022)
About the Foxes: After back-to-back losses, Yorkville got back on track with a 28-0 win over Plainfield Central last week. Michael Dopart threw two TD passes to Dom Coronado. Ryan Wulff ran for 93 yards and Josh Gettemy 87 to lead the Foxes’ 208-yard output on the ground. The Foxes have had some close calls with West Aurora since the two schools joined the Southwest Prairie Conference. Luke Zook’s pick six highlighted last year’s 10-0 Foxes’ win.
About the Blackhawks: West Aurora’s last winning season came in 2018, the year before the program joined the SPC. The Blackhawks are headed back to the Upstate Eight next season – and in the meantime are off to a fast start in nonconference play, 4-0 for the first time since 2017. West Aurora’s schedule up to this point is a little suspect – teams with a combined record of 3-13. The Blackhawks will find out more about themselves in the SPC West, a league in which they have posted a 0-20 record in since joining the league. Two-sport star Terrence Smith, a 6-foot-4 junior receiver, is the man to watch.
FND Pick: Yorkville
Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue
Johnsburg (2-2, 0-2) at Sandwich (3-1, 1-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Johnsburg 35, Sandwich 0 (2021)
About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg lost to Marengo 25-18 last week. RB Brett Centnarowicz had 79 yards and a touchdown last week. QB A.J. Bravieri rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The Skyhawks started 2-0 with wins over Woodstock North and Reed-Custer, but have scored only 18 points in their last two games.
About the Indians: After a 3-0 start, Sandwich ran into a buzzsaw of a 49-7 loss to Richmond-Burton last week. RB Simeion Harris leads the Indians with 617 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He had 10 carries for 99 yards against R-B. RBs Nick Michalek (350) and Parker Anderson (207) are the other top runners. Sandwich did not have a team because of low numbers last year, but is off to a strong start and trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. This could be a bellwether game.
FND pick: Sandwich
Richmond-Burton (4-0, 2-0) at Plano (2-2, 0-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last matchup: Richmond-Burton 49, Plano 6 (2022)
About the Rockets: R-B beat Sandwich 49-7 last week for its 27th consecutive KRC or KRC/I-8 Blue victory. … R-B is No. 4 in the Class 4A poll. … FB Braxtin Nellessen leads the team in rushing with 493 yards and has eight touchdowns. … The Rockets get their big plays from RB Jack Martens (218 yards, 16.8-yard average, four TDs) and WR Max Loveall (10 catches, 20 yards, three TDs). … The Rockets are 58-5 under Mike Noll, who is in his sixth season at R-B.
About the Reapers: Plano is coming off a tough 20-15 loss at La Salle-Peru in a game decided on a long TD pass in the final minute. RB Waleed Johnson leads the Reapers with 587 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He also has a team-best seven receptions for 137 yards and two TDs. RB Andrew Cox is next with 239 rushing yards. Both Johnson and Cox had tremendous games defensively last week against L-P. Cox had 10 tackles, two for loss, and two sacks, and also ran for 108 yards. Johnson had 15 tackles, three for loss, and forced a fumble.
FND Pick: Richmond-Burton
Steve Soucie and Joe Stevenson contributed to these previews