The Herald-News Football Capsules for Week 4

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Bolingbrook (3-0) at Sandburg (1-2)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Bolingbrook 27, Sandburg 14 (Spring 2021)

About the Raiders: An electric offense combined with a defense determined to make opponents work extra hard has been a good formula for Bolingbrook thus far. I’Marion Stewart and Kyan Berry-Johnson have to be one of the more dynamic receiving tandems in the state, and RB Jaquan Howard posted another 100-yard-plus effort against Lincoln-Way West in Week 3. Defensively, throw at your own peril against the Bolingbrook secondary as Damon Walters seems to delight in pounding opponents every chance he gets, and Anthony Harris also has shown a prowess for making plays.

About the Eagles: Sandburg made one of the more notables moves of the offseason luring highly successful head coach Troy McCallister away from Chicago Public League powerhouse Phillips. It already appears to be paying dividends because the Eagles have shown rapid progress early in the season. Although they dropped their first two games against solid nonconference opponents, the Eagles might already be turning the corner as they tossed a shutout against Andrew in Week 3.

Friday Night Drive pick: Bolingbrook

Lincoln-Way Central (1-2) at Stagg (0-3)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way Central 42, Stagg 0 (Spring 2021)

About the Knights: It was a rough go for the Knights in Week 3. They were only able to net a safety in a lopsided 44-2 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor. There have been problems on both sides of the football. The defense has given up a significant amount of points in the Knights’ two losses, and the offense has only produced 19 points through three games. Both sides need to improve significantly considering the rigors of the remaining schedule, but Stagg should provide an opportunity to get back on track.

About the Chargers: Stagg continues to be the team lagging behind the others in the SouthWest Suburban. The problems have been particularly prevalent on defense, where they have surrendered more than 40 points in each of its first three games. That’s somewhat understandable in a loss to Lincoln-Way East in Week 3, but doing so against their first two opponents (Zion-Benton and Oak Lawn Community) is a little harder to explain away.

FND pick: Lincoln-Way Central

Lincoln-Way East (2-1) at Andrew (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way East 42, Andrew 0 (2018)

About the Griffins: After taking their first regular season loss since 2016 in Week 2, Lincoln-Way East wasted no time getting back on track, scoring six first-half touchdowns and then coasting for a shutout victory over Stagg, 42-0, in Week 3. The Griffins seem to be developing a nice 1-2 punch in the backfield with James Kwiecinski and Petey Olaleye.

About the T-Bolts: Andrew’s schedule appears to be fairly front loaded with this game marking one of the more challenging remaining. But last week’s 12-0 loss to Sandburg gives one pause in wondering if Andrew is up to the task of dealing with the Griffins. One thing is for certain, Lincoln-Way East’s defense is likely licking its chops to face an offense that was held scoreless last week.

FND pick: Lincoln-Way East

Lincoln-Way West (0-3) at Bradley-Bourbonnais (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lincoln-Way West 24, Bradley-Bourbonnais 23 (Spring 2021)

About the Warriors: Not that Lincoln-Way West is looking for solace, but its first three opponents have combined to go 9-0 to begin the season. The Warriors were in each of those games pretty much the whole way, but they haven’t been in position to finish with wins yet. Lincoln-Way West had some difficulties in the secondary in the Week 3 loss to Bolingbrook, 23-17.

About the Boilermakers: Bradley-Bourbonnais is a bit difficult to read right now, as it jumped out of the box with a 2-0 record before getting demolished by Lockport, 43-7, in Week 3. The 2-0 is a bit misleading, however, as one win came via forfeit and the other came courtesy of Proviso East, a program that has really struggled for some time. Lockport took Bradley apart rather quickly in Week 3, but the Porters are looking a little bit like a buzzsaw right now and Bradley’s ability level probably falls somewhere between its performance in Week 1 and Week 3.

FND pick: Lincoln-Way West

Lockport (3-0) at Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Homewood-Flossmoor 41, Lockport 14 (Spring 2021)

About the Porters: Lockport has been an absolute wrecking ball, dominating all three of its opponents. Not that the Porters needed it, but the offense got another boost with the return of RB Ty Schultz, whose ACL injury sidelined him for the spring season. Schultz appeared to pick up right where he left off from a stellar sophomore season, scoring two touchdowns in the win over Bradley-Bourbonnais. Lockport’s defense continues to be menace. Bradley’s third quarter touchdown in Week 3, well after the outcome had been decided, was the first points the Porters have allowed all season.

About the Vikings: Any concerns that Homewood-Flossmoor might not be able to bounce back from a down season in the spring have been addressed. The defense has been particularly good. The Vikings have allowed only one touchdown on the season.

FND pick: Lockport

Southwest Prairie Conference

Minooka (2-1) at Plainfield Central (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Minooka 45, Plainfield Central 7 (2018)

About the Indians: Minooka got its offense going in a Week 3 win over Romeoville with Northern Illinois recruit Malik Armstrong doing quite a bit of damage. It also got a strong performance from QB Gavin Dooley. Week by week Minooka is tightening up the defense, with a number of quality opponents yet to come.

About the Wildcats: Even with a 28-21 loss to West Aurora in Week 3, Plainfield Central has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season. Central took West Aurora down to the wire as it was denied a 3-0 start, but that alone shows that the Wildcats are starting to bridge the gap between themselves and some of the better teams in the conference. This game will provide another substantial test. RB Aaron Larkins is a threat that Minooka will be forced to deal with.

FND pick: Minooka

Oswego (1-2) at Romeoville (0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oswego 56, Romeoville 6 (2018)

About the Panthers: Oswego picked up its first win of the season in Week 3 by forfeit. The Panthers are likely itching to earn a win on the field after a rigorous nonconference slate did not go their way. Odds favor Oswego getting back to .500 heading into the division schedule, which is almost a must for the Panthers as they don’t appear to be a clear favorite to dominate divisional play as they have in the past.

About the Spartans: Romeoville was just happy to get back on the field for Week 3 after losing its Week 2 opportunity to forfeiture. There should be more opportunities for Romeoville to be in the mix when divisional games begin next week, but this one might be a little too much of a haul for Romeoville at this point.

FND pick: Oswego

Oswego East (4-0) at Joliet Central (0-4)

Joliet Central has forfeited this game to Oswego East.

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Plainfield South 17, Plainfield North 14 (2018)

About the Tigers: Plainfield North was hoping to get some momentum after a disappointing loss to Crete-Monee in Week 2, but it wasn’t able to get on the field in Week 3 after receiving a forfeit win over Joliet West. The Tigers will try utilizing an experienced offensive line to grind out yardage with a rushing attack led by Jared Gumila.

About the Cougars: The ups and downs of a young roster have shown frequently with Plainfield South. The Cougars earned a nice feather in their cap with a nonconference road win over DeKalb in Week 2 but had some regression with a five-turnover performance in a 28-12 loss to Yorkville in Week 3. Consistency is obviously a big want for the Cougars right now. RB Brian Stanton, who rushed for 200 plus yards against Yorkville, certainly will do his part to help provide that.

FND pick: Plainfield North

West Aurora (3-1) at Joliet West (0-4)

Joliet West has forfeited this game to West Aurora.

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Foxes: Yorkville’s defense proved to be very opportunistic in a Week 3 win over Plainfield South. The five turnovers it created gave the offense some much needed extra chances to break through. The Foxes cashed in three of those for scores. There was some bend-but-don’t-break in the defensive philosophy as they surrendered about 300 rushing yards to the Cougars.

About the Bengals: For the second time this season, Plainfield East’s young roster was a little shellshocked by an opponent’s fast start. Oswego East came out firing in Week 3 and before the Bengals could recover they found themselves in much too large a hole. A youth movement may also be underway with the Bengals as freshman QB Brandon Parades has worked his way into the rotation. He had two touchdown tosses against Oswego East, while Quinn Morris had four receptions and an interception.

FND pick: Yorkville

CCL/ESCC

Providence (2-1) at Joliet Catholic (3-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 35, Providence 13 (2015)

About the Celtics: With a largely inexperienced roster, Providence is showing an ability to grind out wins. Junior QB Daniel Proudfoot stepped up in a big way as Providence was able to edge out Fenwick, a team with several Division I-caliber players, in Week 3. The Celtics will need a big effort, particularly on defense, to be in the game against Joliet Catholic, but it seems foolish to discount the possibility.

About the Hilltoppers: Joliet Catholic hasn’t been pushed in any of its first three games. It has been managing that, at least recently, at less than full strength. But the Hilltoppers didn’t skip a beat without star RB Jordan Anderson for the second consecutive week, largely because of the running and passing skills of Aidan Voss, who had two touchdowns in Week 3. Almost lost in the shuffle has been the stellar effort of the defense, which has allowed next to nothing when the first string is on the field.

FND pick: Joliet Catholic

South Suburban Conference

Lemont (3-0) at Hillcrest (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hillcrest 30, Lemont 24 (2021 - spring)

About Lemont: It took awhile for Lemont to get going in Week 3, getting a lift from its defense with a pick six that finally allowed it to gain separation from a pesky Shepard team. Odds are it won’t take much effort motivating Lemont against Hillcrest, a team it hasn’t been able to solve over the past few years to claim South Suburban dominance.

About the Hawks: Hillcrest has been one of the powers of the south suburbs over the past few seasons, but graduations hit the Hawks hard. Hillcrest managed to grind out its first win in Week 3 over Oak Forest, 22-12, but it might still be licking its wounds from nonconference losses to Brother Rice and Kenwood to start the season.

FND pick: Lemont

Illinois Central Eight Conference

Coal City (1-2) at Herscher (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Coal City 42, Herscher 0 (2019)

About the Coalers: Coal City might be one of the more capable sub-.500 teams in the state right now, and there’s no question that its defense is not to be trifled with. The Coalers fenced in Wilmington’s vaunted ground game for much of their 10-7 loss in Week 3. It’s hard to imagine any other Illinois Central Eight team bringing a more capable offense to line up against this unit. The Coalers could use more offense moving forward, but based on this defense they probably won’t need it in droves to start stacking wins.

About the Tigers: Herscher is dressing less than 20 players and finally ran out of gas in the late minutes of a wild 45-40 loss to Streator in Week 3. The numbers situation isn’t likely to correct itself before this game, which doesn’t bode well for the Tigers, who also played without Cody Lunsford, the team’s leading RB.

FND pick: Coal City

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

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wilmington 24, Peotone 0 (2021 - spring)

About the Blue Devils: Peotone almost appears to be trying to steal the Wilmington blueprint. It leans heavily on the run game and tries to dominate field position and time of possession. It’s worked pretty well so far for Peotone, but even with multiple running backs capable of shouldering the load it’s tough to beat the master.

About the Wildcats: Wilmington survived its rivalry game with Coal City and awaits a contest that has emerged as just as fierce of a challenge. The two teams are very similar to one another with both only rarely putting the ball in the air. Wilmington has been so pass averse that it has only attempted two passes this season and zero against Coal City last week.

FND pick: Wilmington

Reed-Custer (3-0) at Manteno (0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Reed-Custer 33, Manteno 8 (2021 - spring)

About the Comets: Reed-Custer is 3-0 for the first time since 1986 and for only the third time in program history. The Comets are getting the job done with an experienced group and a running game that has not been slowed down. Led by Elliot Cassem, Reed-Custer stacked up about 400 rushing yards in a win over long-time nemesis Lisle in Week 3.

About the Panthers: The scuffles continued for Manteno in Week 3 with a loss to Peotone. On the positive side, the Panthers finally got some points on the board. This matchup does look ominous for Manteno, as it surrendered more than 300 rushing yards in the loss to Peotone, which appears to be exactly the same way this week’s opponent plans to attack.

FND pick: Reed-Custer

Interstate 8 Conference

Woodstock (2-1) at Morris (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock has a pair of wins in its pocket, but those two teams are a combined 2-7 this season. As such, there’s a pretty substantial step up for Woodstock to have to make in order to be in this game with Morris, particularly on defense.

About Morris: Morris is really finding its groove with its new conference foes, absolutely steamrolling Woodstock North in Week 3 and scoring about 60 points in the process. QB Zach Romak had a highly efficient and productive day engineering the offense, and he has a solid arsenal of receivers to keep him on that path.

FND pick: Morris

Vermilion Valley Conference

Oakwood (0-3) at Dwight (0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Comets: Oakwood has been up and down this season, but it does have the benefit of having three games under its belt and has had at least a little bit of offensive success, despite the winless mark.

About the Trojans: Dwight has missed the past two weeks of the season because of COVID-19 concerns and it is up in the air if it will be cleared to play in Week 4. It was a rough go for the Trojans the one week they did play as Salt Fork scored 60 on them.

FND pick: Oakwood

Seneca (0-3) at Georgetown-Ridge Farm (0-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First Meeting

About the Fighting Irish: Seneca has made some strides offensively the past few weeks, but defensive woes are keeping that progress from netting any wins. That slide probably will end here against a Georgetown team that really has struggled to compete.

About the Buffaloes: Things aren’t great in the Georgetown camp right now as numbers issues have plagued the program from the start. There are less than 20 players on the varsity roster currently. To date the Buffaloes forfeited their opener and dropped their past two games by allowing 99 combined points while scoring none.

FND pick: Seneca

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.