The Herald-News Football Capsules for Week 4

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Andrew (1-2) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-2) - Game was canceled

Bolingbrook (1-2) at Sandburg (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Bolingbrook 34, Sandburg 13 (2019)

About the Raiders: Bolingbrook has obvious weapons on offense, but what the Raiders need more than anything is consistency. At times the Raiders look as if they can score points at will, and at others they struggle to move the ball at all. Defensive play also has been an enigma as the Raiders have surrendered 40-plus points in two of their games and just six in the other.

About the Eagles: Sandburg hung tough in its Week 3 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor, but a problem has emerged for the Eagles. Offensive productivity after an easy win over Stagg in Week 1 has virtually disappeared. QB Kevin Zimmer is a solid player, but he needs some of the supporting cast to step up and give him some help.

Pick: Bolingbrook

Lincoln-Way East (3-0) at Lockport (2-1)

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 45, Lockport 7 (2019)

About the Griffins: The wrecking ball keeps smashing its way through the schedule so far, outscoring opponents 114-14 and somehow actually looking more dominant than that margin reflects. After surrendering two touchdowns in the opening half of the first game of the year, Lincoln-Way East has found the dominant level of play one has come to expect from the Griffins’ defense.

About the Porters: Lockport really has turned it on since a Week 1 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor. Last week’s blowout victory over Bolingbrook was extremely impressive. The Porters are using an effective power run games with just enough passing to keep defenses honest. With that being said, Lockport will face its toughest test thus far against Lincoln-Way East.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way West (3-0) at Homewood-Flossmoor (2-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Homewood-Flossmoor 35, Lincoln-Way West 0 (2019)

About the Warriors: It was smooth sailing for the Warriors in Week 3 as they rolled to a win against Stagg. Offensively, Lincoln-Way West didn’t throw an incompletion, and WR Eric Nowak turned his five receptions into three scores. The defense also delivered in the same fashion that it has all season. West has surrendered only 22 points this season.

About the Vikings: Homewood-Flossmoor hasn’t been its usual self over the first half of the season but showed some signs of figuring it out in its Week 3 win over Sandburg. Talented running back Sean Allen, an Illinois State commit, finally found some room to run, and his success is key to whether or not H-F plays at the level most have become accustomed to.

Pick: Homewood-Flossmoor

Southwest Prairie Conference

Minooka (2-1) at Yorkville (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Minooka 19, Yorkville 10 (2019)

About the Indians: The Indians suffered their first Southwest Prairie Conference loss since 2018 in a game where their offense, which had been potent through two games, was slowed to a crawl by Plainfield North. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them right the ship, but they have a challenge on their hands in Yorkville which seems to capitalize on any opportunity an opponent gives them.

About the Foxes: Yorkville continues to pull rabbits out of its collective hat, winning last week’s game against Oswego East with a last-second field goal. Despite losing the team’s leading rusher Dougie Burson to a broken leg, Yorkville continues to adapt. Minooka will provide a stern test, but at this point it’s hard to put something past attainability from this bunch.

Pick: Minooka

Plainfield Central (0-3) at Romeoville (2-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield Central 16, Romeoville 13 (2019)

About the Wildcats: Plainfield Central has played much more competitive football this spring, but that hasn’t netted the Wildcats any wins yet. Despite the difference in their records this looks like a matchup where if Plainfield Central plays well it could get into the win column. These two teams have struggled in recent years, but most of their recent encounters have come down to the wire.

About the Spartans: Romeoville is riding high after piecing together a two-game winning streak for the first time in several years. The Spartans have a chance to make it three in a row but have to stay as sharp on defense as they have been during their recent run of success. The Spartans surprisingly hold a share of the lead in the Southwest Prairie Conference East Division race and would like nothing more than to remain on track for a showdown with the only other team without a loss in the division, Plainfield South, in Week 6.

Pick: Romeoville

Plainfield South (2-1) at Plainfield East (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 33, Plainfield East 20 (2019)

About the Cougars: It isn’t a surprise to see Plainfield South thriving now that it is back to SPC East Division play. Using a bruising defense and a strong, ground-based offensive attack led by Keith Brunson, East Division opponents have had difficulty matching up.

About the Bengals: The Bengals’ offense is capable of making big plays. QB Brett Winiecki is a viable run/pass threat and he has some solid options in his wide receiving core, including Jordan Knowles. The problem that needs to be rectified is with the defense where the Bengals consistently have been prone to giving up yards and points. They are struggling to stop the run which isn’t a great equation for trying to slow this week’s foe.

Pick: Plainfield South

West Aurora (1-2) at Plainfield North (2-1) - Game was canceled

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield North 30, West Aurora 14 (2019)

About the Blackhawks: West Aurora was taken to task last week by division frontrunner Oswego, which showed what can happen from week to week when a team is heavily reliant on underclassmen on both sides of the football. The Blackhawks will look to regroup against the Tigers and try to establish a little more consistency than they have had to this point.

About the Tigers: A heavy reliance of their special teams allowed the Tigers to emerge with a pivotal win over Minooka in Week 3, but Plainfield North certainly would like to get all phases involved this week. The Tigers have been a little more balanced between the passing attack led by QB Adam Smith and the running game spearheaded by RB Jared Gumila, but are happy to take whatever avenue the opposing defense gives them.

Pick: Plainfield North

Joliet West (1-2) at Joliet Central (0-3)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Joliet West 24, Joliet Central 0 (2019)

About the Tigers: The Tigers might have had a breakthrough in a hard-fought win over Plainfield East in Week 3. Devoting their efforts to running the football, hard-charging James Zilinger stacked up 200 yards rushing, and the Tigers also got an impressive contribution from speedy junior Ena Dorcoo, who posted about 100 yards of his own.

About the Steelmen: Joliet Central keeps grinding, but there’s not much tangible progress. The Steelmen haven’t been able to crack double digits offensively and the defense has had trouble stopping opponents. But if history shows us anything, it doesn’t take much motivation to get these teams best efforts in this rivalry matchup.

Pick: Joliet West

CCL/ESCC

Joliet Catholic (3-0) at Carmel (1-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 42, Carmel 14 (2019)

About the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic survived the slow-down tactics of St. Ignatius for a harder-than-expected win last week, but the fact remains that St. Ignatius had to try those techniques because it didn’t match up with the powerful Hilltoppers. After essentially playing two games in four days because of a scheduling quirk, the additional rest heading into this game is welcome and likely bad news for the Corsairs.

About the Corsairs: Carmel has been a bit more competitive than in past years under first year coach and former Chicago Bears’ fullback Jason McKie, but this mountain might be too high for Carmel to climb.

Pick: Joliet Catholic

DePaul Prep (1-2) at Providence (1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 55, DePaul Prep 7 (2019)

About the Rams: DePaul has made some strides since enduring a rough season in 2019, but might admit that the expectations heading into this crossover are moderate at best. DePaul still is dealing with a limited number of players with varsity experience.

About the Celtics: Although the records are the same between these two opponents, the schedules are no where near equal. Providence has been tested in all three of its games this season and came up just short in a narrow loss to a high-powered and well respected St. Rita team. Providence QB Kevin Conway threw four touchdown passes in the Celtics loss.

Pick: Providence

South Suburban Conference

Bremen (1-2) at Lemont (2-1) - Game was canceled

Illinois Central Eight Conference

Peotone (3-0) at Lisle (1-2)

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Last matchup: Peotone 14, Lisle 12 (2019)

About the Blue Devils: Peotone seems to be clicking on all cylinders right now as the Blue Devils defense recorded its first shutout of the year in a win over long-time rival Manteno in Week 3. Ben Balmer long has been a key cog in the Blue Devils attack and led the team in tackles with 10. He appears to have found a running mate in the backfield in TJ Chenoweth, who stacked up 100-plus yards in the win over Manteno.

About the Lions: After a shutout win against Reed-Custer in Week 1 Lisle has reached the meat of its schedule, and it hasn’t particularly liked the taste. Coal City and Wilmington have added losses to Lisle’s ledger the past two weeks. Unless the Lions figure out how to plug some of the defensive holes exposed in those losses they might have a hard time snapping the losing streak here.

Pick: Peotone

Coal City (3-0) at Wilmington (3-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 29, Wilmington 14 (2019)

About the Coalers: Coal City remains the gold standard in the Illinois Central Eight Conference, and while it is used to being the hunted the focus gets a little clearer when it’s time to square off against its long-time rival. Asa Cooper has had an incredible season in a variety of roles on offense, but the Coalers often go as their defense does, and this year’s unit has been motoring along just fine.

About the Wildcats: It isn’t often that Wilmington enters any contest as a substantial underdog, but that’s the case here. It is almost exactly the same scenario as in 2019 where Coal City and Wilmington both entered with undefeated records. The Wildcats hope history doesn’t repeat itself, as the Coalers dominated the previous matchup.

Pick: Coal City

Reed-Custer (1-2) at Herscher (1-2)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Herscher 33, Reed-Custer 14 (2019)

About the Comets: Although stuck in a two-game losing streak, Reed-Custer hasn’t lost its pluck. After being dominated by Wilmington for much of its Week 3 matchup, the Comets tried to mount a furious rally late in the game, closing to within 26-21 before losing by that same score. It’s the kind of game that may have snowballed on Reed-Custer in the past. It will try to get back to the .500 mark by not digging a similar hole.

About the Tigers: Herscher finally was paid a dividend for its solid play this season with an easy win over Streator in Week 3. Not surprisingly, Herscher’s offensive utility player Camden Berns had more than 200 yards of total offense in the win. If the Tigers even their record, Berns likely will have a lot to do with it.

Pick: Herscher

Interstate 8 Conference

Sycamore (3-0) at Morris (3-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sycamore 35, Morris 6 (2019)

About the Spartans: Sycamore has evolved into the program that everyone in the Interstate Eight strives to be. The Spartans have been quite precise this season, making few mistakes on offense and holding opponents to a total of only 13 points through three games. After surviving a bit of a scare against a solid Kaneland team in Week 1 is anyone else capable of pushing them in this short season? It’s hard to say, but if anyone is going to this week’s opponent seems most likely to do it.

About the Redskins: So far so good for Morris as about everything has gone to plan thus far. The offense has been balanced with running and passing and when Morris goes to the air it’s been impossible to key on any one receiver as QB Zach Romak has used eight different wideouts. But Sycamore, as always, provides a much bigger challenge than most of the foes on the I-8 schedule.

Pick: Sycamore

Sangamon Valley Conference

Dwight (2-1) at Paxton (1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Paxton 41, Dwight 21 (2019)

About the Trojans: Dwight’s positive vibes in the early going came to a sudden halt with a loss to conference favorite Clifton Central in Week 3. Paxton likely won’t provide as tough an obstacle as Central did, but it won’t be a breeze getting back on track either. Dwight’s offense will go as QB Carson Crouch does, and the Trojans are hoping he’ll be able to rebound after a tough day against Central.

About the Panthers: Paxton’s season got a late start with a Week 1 COVID-19 cancellation, but after a comfortable win over Iroquois West in Week 3, the Panthers hope things are starting to round into form. This likely will be the last meeting between these two schools as Paxton is departing for the Illini Prairie Conference next season and the remaining Sangamon Valley Conference schools will merge with those in the Vermilion Valley for football.

Pick: Paxton

Momence (2-1) at Seneca (0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Seneca 54, Momence 17 (2019)

About the Redskins: Momence has made some progress with two wins after consecutive seasons where they only had one win. Momence is a young team with more than half of its roster coming from the freshman and sophomore classes. With that comes flashes of brilliance and at other times signs of growing pains.

About the Fighting Irish: Despite its winless record, Seneca has shown flashes of dominance on both sides of the football. Unfortunately for Seneca, they haven’t been able to do both in the same game. In its season opener in Week 2, the Fighting Irish put up some big offensive numbers but gave up even more yardage and points to Clifton Central. Last week, Seneca put the clamps down on defense but were thwarted by a lack of offense in an overtime loss.

Non-Conference

Plainfield North (2-1) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Tigers: A heavy reliance of their special teams allowed the Tigers to emerge with a pivotal win over Minooka in Week 3, but Plainfield North certainly would like to get all phases involved this week. The Tigers have been a little more balanced between the passing attack led by QB Adam Smith and the running game spearheaded by RB Jared Gumila, but are happy to take whatever avenue the opposing defense gives them.

About the Knights: Lincoln-Way Central will be looking to put last week behind them after they suffered the same fate that many do when challenging Lincoln-Way East. Outside of that contest, the Knights defense has been pretty sturdy as has the defensive front of Lincoln-Way Central’s new Week 4 opponent. It might come down to who can break a few big plays in this one.

Pick: Plainfield North

Steve Soucie

Steve Soucie

Steve Soucie has been the Sports Editor at the Joliet Herald News since August of 2018. Prior to that, Soucie worked at the Kankakee Daily Journal and for Pro Football Weekly.