Northwest Herald preview capsules for Week 1

(Spring record in parentheses)

Fox Valley Conference

Crystal Lake Central (3-3) at Huntley (5-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Huntley defeated Central, 38-7, in Week 6 of the 2019 season.

About the Tigers: Central defeated Prairie Ridge, 14-13, in overtime, its first win over the Wolves since 2012, to start the spring season 3-0. But the Tigers did not win another game. … Colton Madura was fourth among area quarterbacks with 1,007 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. He also is a threat running the ball. RB Brent Blitek ran for 304 yards and returns, along with most of the offensive line. … The Tigers are trying to reach the playoffs for the third time in four seasons (excluding 2020, which had no playoffs because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

About the Red Raiders: Huntley won its FVC division in the spring season but could not play against Cary-Grove in the FVC Super Bowl because of a COVID-19 quarantine. … The Red Raiders shared the 2019 FVC title with Prairie Ridge, pulling off a rare feat by beating Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove in consecutive weeks. … QB Sam Deligio, a transfer from Jacobs, takes over leading the offense. RB Ryder Hunkins ran for 280 yards and averaged 10.8 yards a carry. … Chris Medina, a standout at defensive back the past two seasons, will move to linebacker and also will play some running back. Medina is one of Huntley’s fastest athletes, so it will give the Raiders another offensive threat.

Friday Night Drive pick: Huntley

Prairie Ridge (3-3) at McHenry (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Prairie Ridge beat McHenry, 42-16, in the 2021 spring season opener.

About the Wolves: Prairie Ridge starts its first season since 2009 without one of the Evans brothers on the team. Shane (2010-13), Samson (2014-17) and Carter (2017-2020) all played four years on the varsity, all have Class 6A state championship rings and all reached the NCAA Division I level. … QB Tyler Vasey was lost indefinitely with an elbow injury suffered last week in practice. Vasey, one of Prairie Ridge’s fastest players, ran for 261 yards at running back in two spring games before suffering a broken collarbone. … RBs Zach Bentsen and Drake Tomasiewicz and FB Nathan Greetham will get a lot of carries in the backfield. … Prairie Ridge has played in three of the past four Class 6A state title games.

About the Warriors: McHenry defeated Crystal Lake Central and Crystal Lake South in Weeks 4 and 5 of the spring season before being quarantined and missing its Week 6 game against Burlington Central. … The Warriors have a lot of returning players from an offense that put up 76 points in their last two games. QB Andrew Hoffman and RB Brody Hallin (374 yards) were two of the integral parts, while three offensive linemen also return. … Kyle Kaempf had four interceptions on defense and will get more time at wide receiver this fall.

FND pick: McHenry

Dundee-Crown (1-4) at Cary-Grove (4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Cary-Grove defeated Dundee-Crown, 40-0, in Week 5 of the 2019 season.

About the Chargers: D-C is looking at a young team to build for the future in a rugged conference. … TE-DL Hunter Guyon is one of the Chargers’ best returning players, along with WR-DB Drew Randl. … LB Porter Leith will be one of D-C’s defensive leaders.

About the Trojans: C-G is ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Class 6A poll to start the season. The Trojans are trying to reach the playoffs for a 20th consecutive season, which would equal the record for local teams set by McHenry (1988-2007). … C-G returns most of its offensive backfield with FB Nick Hissong (479 yards rushing), QB Jameson Sheehan and RB Wade Abrams. … The Trojans also return about half of their starting defense. … After two weeks off with a COVID-19 quarantine, C-G came back in the spring and won its last three games.

FND pick: Cary-Grove

Hampshire (4-1) at Burlington Central (1-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hampshire beat Burlington Central, 34-6, in Week 3 of the 2021 spring season.

About the Whip-Purs: Hampshire stopped a 24-game losing streak with two wins to end the 2019 season, then stretched its winning streak to five with three victories to start the 2021 spring season. … There is plenty coming back for the Whips, starting with junior QB Tyler Fikis, who threw for 871 yards and ran for 317 in five spring games. … Three offensive linemen are back, and LB Devin Yeats (a former safety) is back as a defensive leader. Yeats also will be used in the passing game at WR or TE.

About the Rockets: Burlington has several third-year starters back as they start their third season in the FVC, led by RB-LB Gavin Sarvis (521 yards). WR-SS Nate Majewski and QB-DB Shawn Adkerson are two other three-year starters. … The Rockets have competed respectably for a school coming into a tough league with, by far, the lowest enrollment.

FND pick: Hampshire

Crystal Lake South (1-5) at Jacobs (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: South defeated Jacobs, 28-21, in Week 8 of the 2019 season.

About the Gators: QB Justin Kowalak led the area in the spring with 1,608 passing yards and threw for 12 touchdowns. … RB Nate Van Witzenburg carried 100 times for 450 yards. … Nate Compere, a third-year starter as a junior, is back to lead the offensive line. … The Gators are trying to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs won back-to-back spring games, then was hit with a COVID-19 quarantine and missed its final two games. … The Eagles have a lot back on offense, led by RBs Ben Ludlum (549 yards) and Nasir Canty (247). … Max Benner steps in to start at quarterback after spring starter Sam Deligio transferred to Huntley. WR Nick True (6-4) and TE Grant Stec (6-6) give Benner big targets to throw to.

FND pick: Jacobs


Marian Central (2-2) at Johnsburg (1-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marian Central defeated Johnsburg, 3-0, in the 2019 season opener.

About the Hurricanes: Marian is led by third-year starters QB Brendan Hernon and OT Luke Dalton. Dalton committed to Cincinnati this summer; Hernon ran for 530 yards and threw for 815 in the spring season. … WR Christian Bentancur, a 6-3 sophomore, led the area with 36 receptions in the spring, eight of which went for touchdowns.

About the Skyhawks: Johnsburg picked up its win in the spring against Harvard. … The Skyhawks have Jacob Welch, Wyatt Brock, Jack Kelly and Jake Gebis back on their offensive line. … Luke Conroy will take over as starting quarterback.

FND pick: Marian Central

Wilmington (5-0) at Marengo (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marengo defeated Wilmington, 21-14, in the Class 3A playoff quarterfinals in 1996.

About the Wildcats: Wilmington is ranked No. 3 in the Class 3A poll and has been to the playoffs for 24 consecutive seasons. The Wildcats lost to Byron, 32-0, in the 2019 Class 3A quarterfinals. … Marengo will see a heavy ground-oriented attack from the Wildcats.

About the Indians: Marengo’s only two losses in the spring came against Richmond-Burton, which has handed the Indians four of their past five losses. … QB Josh Holst threw for 1,011 yards with 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions in the spring season. He ran for 322. … TE-LB Jack Heinberg and OL-DL Michael Macias are All-Kishwaukee River Conference players who are coming back. … RB Dylan Stolz ran for 295 yards in the spring games.

FND pick: Wilmington

Lisle (3-2) at Harvard (1-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lisle defeated Harvard, 22-8, in the 2019 season opener.

About the Lions: Lisle’s losses in the spring season came against Wilmington, 35-24, and Coal City, 34-6.

About the Hornets: Harvard had 19 juniors on its spring roster, which bodes well for the fall season. Unfortunately, QB Jacob Stanley, the Hornets’ big-play man the past two seasons, graduated. Stanley’s 568 rushing yards was second among area players. … Will Harter, Nathan Rosas and Luis Gomez return on the offensive line.

FND pick: Lisle

Woodstock North (2-3) at Westosha Central, Wis. (1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: North defeated Central, 21-13, in the 2019 season opener.

About the Thunder: North has good experience back with QB Jay Zinnen and RB Henry Goetz in the backfield, along with TE Justin VanAcker. … Tyler Long, Sam Zalas and Riley Young also are back on the offensive line.

About the Falcons: Central won its opener, 64-36, over Park of Racine, Wisconsin, last week. … The Falcons were 3-4 in the 2020 fall season.

FND pick: Woodstock North

Rochelle (2-4) at Woodstock (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The two teams have not played each other before.

About the Hubs: Rochelle’s two spring victories each came by one point, 13-12 over Sandwich and 39-38 over Ottawa. … Rochelle did not make the playoffs in 2019 after qualifying the three previous years. … QB Josh Lloyd is back after starting in the spring season. … RB Ben Harvey rushed for 442 yards in the spring.

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock’s spring losses came against Richmond-Burton and Marengo. … QB Liam Mickle returns after throwing for 1,387 yards and 12 touchdowns, although most of his favorite targets have graduated. … Gavin Loiselle is back to lead the offensive line.

FND pick: Woodstock

Urban Prep/Bronzeville (3-2) at Richmond-Burton (6-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Richmond-Burton defeated Bronzeville, 56-6, in the first round of the 2019 Class 4A playoffs.

About the Lions: Bronzeville was 3-2 in the spring season with three shutouts and only 18 points allowed.

About the Rockets: R-B joins Williamsville and Lincoln-Way East as the three football teams with the current longest winning streaks in the state at 20 consecutive games. R-B won the 2019 Class 4A state championship, Williamsville won 3A and Lincoln-Way East won 8A. … FB Brock Wood carried for 561 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the offense in the spring. … OL-DL Enzo Martinez starts his fourth season on varsity and will see action on both lines. … FB Steven Siegel and RBs Landon Jacoby, Nick Falasca and Jack Martens also will get carries in the backfield.

FND pick: Richmond-Burton