The Herald-News Football Capsules for Week 5

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Andrew (1-2) at Lockport (2-2)

When: 6:30 p.m. Monday

Last matchup: Lockport 24, Andrew 7 (2019)

About the T-Bolts: Andrew missed its Week 4 game because of COVID, but will be able to return in Week 5 with the game being pushed to Monday. Overall, it has been a rougher than usual go of things for the T-Bolts this season. Other than an easy win over Stagg in Week 2, the T-Bolts have struggled mightily to keep opponents out of the end zone.

About the Porters: Veteran coach George Czart isn’t likely a big fan of moral victories but his team certainly had one in its Week 4 scrap with Lincoln-Way East. The Porters eventually fell by three scores, but led late in the first half and put forth a much better effort against the powerful Griffins than they had in years. Lockport’s strong running game led by RB Andrew LoPresti should have plenty of opportunities to stack up some yards here.

Pick: Lockport

Bradley-Bourbonnais (2-2) at Lincoln-Way West (4-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way West 27, Bradley-Bourbonnais 10 (2019)

About the Boilermakers: The Boilermakers have been up and down this season, but certainly had one of their better games against Stagg in Week 4. A young core makes up the majority of the players at the key skill positions, but they will face a much sterner defensive challenge from Lincoln-Way West than they did against Stagg.

About the Warriors: It was a big win for the Lincoln-Way West program as it toppled Homewood-Flossmoor for the first time in school history. But it’s critical that the Warriors don’t get caught peeking ahead to Week 6′s showdown with district rival and fellow undefeated squad Lincoln-Way East. First-year head coach Luke Lokanc has found a healthy offensive balance between running and throwing the football, a combination that will likely be quite difficult for the Boilermakers to slow down.

Pick: Lincoln-Way West

Lincoln-Way Central (2-2) at Stagg (0-4)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way Central 36, Stagg 0 (2019)

About the Knights: Lincoln-Way Central picked up a solid win over Plainfield North in an abruptly scheduled nonconference matchup when its original opponent, Andrew, was sidelined by COVID restrictions. The Knights played particularly well on defense, which can’t be a good sign for this week’s opponent. Stagg has managed to score just 22 points in four games.

About the Chargers: Stagg’s problems aren’t limited to one side of the football, but the Chargers are having particular challenges on defense. Stagg has given up at least 41 points in all four of its games to date and really scuffled in Week 4, surrendering 59 points to Bradley-Bourbonnais. Although Lincoln-Way Central’s offense hasn’t been particularly prolific, it should be well equipped to work against a defense that has scuffled at this rate.

Pick: Lincoln-Way Central

Lincoln-Way East (4-0) at Sandburg (1-3)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 40, Sandburg 0 (2019)

About the Griffins: For the first time this season, Lincoln-Way East’s dominance was in a bit of doubt in its Week 4 matchup with Lockport. Had the Griffins not scored just before halftime, they would have been trailing heading into the second half for the first time since 2018. But they scored with just seconds to play in the second quarter and then reestablished control with a dominant second half.

About the Eagles: Sandburg is below .500 but it has done a pretty nice job of stifling quality opponents. But the bigger problem remains that while the defense is doing good things to keep people in check, the offense simply hasn’t matched up with that having scored just 21 points in its three losses.

Pick: Lincoln-Way East

Southwest Prairie Conference

Joliet Central (0-4) at Plainfield Central (1-3)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Central 10, Plainfield Central 7 (2019)

About the Steelmen: Joliet Central is playing hard but it honestly lacks the soldiers in the army to match up with schools on the opposite side of the field. The Steelmen had a roster in the mid-20s in its Week 4 loss to Joliet West and several left with injuries over the course of the game. There’s no quit in Joliet Central, but the fact remains that fatigue really sets in with so many players asked to perform double duty with regularity.

About the Wildcats: There has been marked improvement in Plainfield Central already as it collected its first win in Week 4 over Romeoville and now has an opportunity to do something the Wildcats haven’t done since 2017: collect consecutive victories. Prior to the win, the Wildcats were playing more competitively with some of the better teams in the Southwest Prairie East as well.

Pick: Plainfield Central

Minooka (3-1) at West Aurora (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Minooka 27, West Aurora 13 (2019)

About the Indians: After taking the program’s first regular season loss since 2018 in Week 3, the Indians spent no time feeling sorry for themselves and went immediately to work against Yorkville. The end result was an easy victory full of points and yardage against the previously undefeated Foxes. Minooka will try to keep that momentum going and put itself in position to still earn a share of the division title, which now has three teams with one divisional loss.

About the Blackhawks: West Aurora lost its Week 4 contest due to COVID-19 protocols. The Blackhawks have given up 81 points in two divisional games and it isn’t ideal to be running into a Minooka offense that appears to have found its groove once again.

Pick: Minooka

Oswego East (2-2) at Plainfield North (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield North 14, Oswego East 9 (2019)

About the Wolves: After dropping their first two divisional games, Oswego East didn’t appear to be in the best position to capture its first ever win against intercity rival Oswego, but that’s exactly what the Wolves managed. QB Michael Ford has been a consistent threat all season, and he’ll have his hands full with a Plainfield North defense that has been extremely stingy.

About the Tigers: Plainfield North’s defense has been very good in Southwest Prairie games, but could certainly use a little more positive movement on the offensive side of the ball. The majority of Plainfield North’s points as of late have come via the special teams units, particularly Carlos Conley, who has been a dynamo in the Tigers return game.

Pick: Plainfield North

CCL/ESCC

DePaul Prep (1-3) at Joliet Catholic (4-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 54, DePaul Prep 0 (2019)

About the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic is steamrolling the opposition and had its way with Carmel in Week 4 to keep that trend going. RB Jordan Anderson continues to rumble through opposing defenses, but QB Aidan Voss showed the Hilltoppers have more going on than just handing off to their junior sensation. Voss provided over 200 yards of total offense himself and added a pair of rushing and passing touchdowns against Carmel.

About the Rams: DePaul Prep has made strides, but a Week 4 loss to Providence once again showed that DePaul isn’t quite ready to meet the level of competition required in CCL/ESCC crossover games. DePaul is still a program that is basically young and inexperienced. Joliet Catholic’s depth and skill will almost certainly be far too much for the Rams to bear.

Pick: Joliet Catholic

Providence (2-2) at St. Laurence (1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Providence 31, St. Laurence 30 (2019)

About the Celtics: Despite being just at the .500 mark, Providence has played very strong football this season especially as of late. The Celtics put the hammer down early in Week 4, cruising to a win over DePaul Prep, They also pushed St. Rita to the hilt in Week 3. QB Kevin Conway is capable of putting up big numbers. If the Celtics need the aerial attack in this one, it should pay dividends.

About the Vikings: The start of the season was a bit of a disappointment to St. Laurence, but the Vikings seem to be rounding into a better form. In Week 4, St. Laurence put forth a very impressive effort before falling to Brother Rice. That result indicates the Vikings might be more ready to go up against the titans of the CCL/ESCC. Offensive success for St. Laurence often comes through QB Darius Wilson, an Army commit.

Pick: Providence

Illinois Central Eight Conference

Coal City (3-1) at Reed-Custer (1-3)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 54, Reed-Custer 6 (2019)

About the Coalers: While the Coalers dropped the rivalry war with Wilmington, it was hard not to marvel at what the Coalers have in RB Asa Cooper. Cooper racked up nearly 300 yards on just 15 carries and had three long breakaway scores in the game. There’s an advantage to having a game breaker of that caliber. Odds are most opponents won’t be able to contain him enough to give them a chance to hit the Coalers with a rare second regular-season loss.

About the Comets: Reed-Custer has been a tenacious bunch during a three-game losing streak, but despite hanging the Comets haven’t been able to pull through with a big play late in games to grab their second win. The defense will be sorely tested by Coal City’s prolific offense, but if this season has taught us anything about Reed-Custer it’s that it won’t give up without a hard fight.

Pick: Coal City

Wilmington (4-0) at Peotone (3-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wilmington 24, Peotone 0 (2019)

About the Wildcats: Wilmington edged out Coal City by simply maintaining its identity. The Wildcats ran the ball effectively and sprinkled in just enough passing when needed to keep the chains moving. Defensively, it was likely a first that an opposing running back rushed for nearly 300 on yards on the Wildcat defense. But while that wasn’t thrilling for the Wildcats, they did shut off virtually every other avenue of attack for Coal City.

About the Blue Devils: The lunch bucket football that worked so effectively for the Blue Devils in the first three weeks of the season lost its handle in Week 4. Peotone was ineffective on both offense and defense in a shutout loss to Lisle. The Blue Devils can still claim a share of the Illinois Central Eight league crown but has to have a win here over Wilmingto, which is definitely riding high after beating Coal City.

Pick: Wilmington

Interstate 8 Conference

LaSalle-Peru (3-0) at Morris (3-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Morris 13, LaSalle-Peru 0 (2019)

About the Cavaliers: LaSalle-Peru is one of the state’s more surprising undefeated teams at this point. While the Cavaliers haven’t exactly been paired with the strongest opponents in their three matchups, they’ve done enough. One more win would secure something the L-P program hasn’t had since 2009: a record above the .500 mark at the conclusion of the season.

About the Redskins: Morris came within a whisper of forcing Interstate Eight Conference top dog Sycamore into overtime in Week 4, but surrendered a touchdown in the final minute of play. It’s a disappointing end for the Redskins for sure, but it also indicates that Morris belongs in the discussion of the Interstate 8′s top tier.

Pick: Morris

Sangamon Valley Conference

Seneca (0-3) at Dwight (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Seneca 28, Dwight 6 (2019)

About the Fighting Irish: Seneca has had some fascinating contests this season. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, none of them have netted victories as of yet. The latest installment was a three overtime loss to Momence in Week 4. Fortunately for Seneca, the front half of its schedule seems to have featured all of the best teams in its league. The sledding should become a bit easier over the final two weeks.

About the Trojans: Dwight is trying to find its way out of a mini slump as it has dropped its last two games after starting 2-0. The Trojans haven’t had a lot of trouble offensively as QB Carson Crouch has been pretty effective, but against better teams the defense has to get better at shutting off the offensive spigot of opponents.

Pick: Seneca

Nonconference

Lemont (2-1) at Bolingbrook (2-2)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About the Indians: Lemont missed Week 4 because of COVID protocols, but will hopefully be able to maintain the momentum it had established. The Indians were expected to be a very solid unit defensively and have been so for the most part. But offensively, Lemont’s attack has been considerably more potent than expected. The Indians seem to have an opportunity to keep that going here.

About the Raiders: Even in their two losses, Bolingbrook has had success through the air as Vincenzo Meschi has put up big yardage totals in the majority of the Raiders contests. He also has a talented group of young receivers to employ against foes. That passing game will be put to the test against a good Lemont defense.

Pick: Bolingbrook

Joliet West (2-2) at Blue Island Eisenhower (3-1)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About the Tigers: Joliet West seems to have found its footing after an 0-2 start. Utilizing a strong running game that includes RBs James Zilinger and Ena Dorcoo along with QB Skylar Crudup, the Tigers are finding a way to move the ball effectively. The defense has played better as well, and while the inability to battle Plainfield South this week is a disappointment, the opportunity remains to finish the final two weeks of the season strong.

About the Cardinals: Eisenhower is in the midst of one of its better seasons in recent memory, bearing witness to that fact is the Cardinals’ Week 4 win over long-time rival Richards, a series that has been dominated by Richards in recent years. David Hemphill leads a bruising and effective ground attack for Eisenhower.

Plainfield East (1-3) at Oak Forest (1-1)

When: TBD Friday

Last matchup: First known meeting

About Plainfield East: Plainfield East has multiple players out at this point, so some of the regulars will be replaced by inexperience players. But simply getting an opportunity for more players to have a chance to play is pretty much the point now.

About Oak Forest: Oak Forest got a late start to the season, sitting the first two weeks of the campaign out. It has gotten into a few defensive scuffles since, scoring just 16 points in the two games played and allowing just 18.




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.