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NewsTribune Week 7 previews: St. Bede-Princeton meet in battle of 5-1 teams; L-P looks for fifth win

La Salle-Peru (4-2, 2-1) at Woodstock (3-3, 1-2)

Game time: 7 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

About the Cavaliers: La Salle-Peru rolled to a 49-7 homecoming victory over Woodstock North last week. Senior quarterback Sean Whitfield led the way with 158 yards rushing and a trio of TDs while passing for two more scores, one each to Oswaldo Hernandez and Tre’von Hunter. Whitfield has run for 449 yards and seven TDs, while running back Matt Carrico leads the team on the ground with 498 yards and four TDs. L-P had strong performances from both its offensive and defensive lines. The Cavs defense, which is allowing 10.8 points a game, gave up only a late score last week and will look to have another strong outing against Woodstock, which is scoring 22.8 points a contest.

About the Blue Streaks: Woodstock has defeated Ottawa, Harvard and Limestone, but has fallen to Kaneland, Rochelle and Morris. In last week’s 24-20 win at Ottawa, QB Liam Mickle went 18 of 26 for 184 yards and a TD and ran for 69 yards and a score. For the season, Mickle is 86 of 141 (61%) for 1,146 yards and 11 TDs. Blue Streaks head coach Michael Brasile said, “To move the ball on offense we have to neutralize the strong DL of L-P and get to their fast-moving linebackers. On defense, we have to stop their running attack and come downhill on defense to match their physicality. Keys to [a win for us] will be don’t turn the ball over, avoid giving them a short field and have a bend-but-don’t-break defensive mindset. This game will go a long way to determine who will be playing on Halloween weekend and who won’t.”

Friday Night Drive pick: La Salle-Peru

– Bian Hoxsey

Princeton (5-1, 3-1) at St. Bede (5-1, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: Princeton 49, St. Bede 7 (2019)

About the Tigers: The Tigers were embarrassed by their 49-21 loss at Kewanee in Week 5, but they rebounded in a big way by routing Newman, 41-0, last week, matching the most points scored against the Comets in nine years. The winner of Friday’s game will clinch a playoff berth and take over second place in the Three Rivers East behind Kewanee. “It doesn’t get any easier. St. Bede is going to be coming 5-1, same as us,” PHS coach Ryan Pearson said. “We’re going to have to go on the road. I know they’ve got some good athletes out on the edge. [Tyreke] Fortney is a heck of a football player. We certainly have our hands full.” Junior QB Teegan Davis led the Tiger assault against Newman, completing 14 of 19 passes for 200 yards and three TDs. The Tigers racked up 374 yards while holding Newman to 127. On the season, Davis has thrown for an area-best 1,004 yards and 11 TDs. The Tigers’ second shutout over the Comets was their second in six years. Princeton leads the all-time series with St. Bede, 4-3.

About the Bruins: The Bruins became playoff eligible last week for the first time in five years with a 13-7 win at Bureau Valley, their fifth win of the season. They also went 5-1 in the abbreviated spring season, winning 10 of their last 12 games since going 1-8 in 2019, the last full season. St. Bede coach Jim Eustice knows the Bruins will be in for a battle this week with conference placement and playoff implications on the line. “Two 5-1 teams. Should be exciting. They are big, mean and talented, and this is a great test for us,” he said. St. Bede QB John Brady threw for 149 yards and two TDs and rushed for 107 yards in last week’s 13-7 win at BV. On the season, he has thrown for 753 yards and eight TDs. Fortney leads the BCR area with 23 receptions, 623 yards and seven TDs. A dual threat, he has also run for six TDs and 268 yards on 21 carries.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Princeton

– Kevin Hieronymus

Mendota (5-1, 2-1) at Kewanee (6-0, 4-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

About the Trojans: Mendota has rebounded quite nicely from its only loss, in Week 4 to Princeton, 28-7. Since then, the Trojans have won a shootout with old NCIC Southwest rival Hall, 43-34, in Spring Valley, then put a 60-0 beat down last week on Sherrard at home. In that game, the Trojans rolled up 471 rushing yards behind RB Uzi Angulo (15-139-1), RB Anthony Childs (11-129-3) and QB Ted Landgraf (10-91, TD passing). Meanwhile, MHS surrendered only 70 yards and five first downs to the Tigers. If this game is as close as expected, the kickers may make the difference, with the Trojans’ Emilio Perez and Kewanee’s Brady Clark capable of hitting field goals inside the 25, changing a turnover on downs to points on the scoreboard.

About the Boilermakers: With all due respect to 2-4 Rockridge and 3-3 Newman, this is Kewanee’s last major hurdle to an undefeated season. It’s a big one, with at least a share of the Big Rivers Mississippi Division title on the line. After taking down then-3A No. 2-ranked Princeton in another showdown, the Boilermakers barely stayed in control of the Three Rivers Mississippi with a 24-22 road win against pesky Hall. Against the Red Devils, Keyontiss Patterson turned in TD runs of 47 and 38 yards, and Niko Powe a 5-yarder, while Clark added field goals of 25 and 37 yards. QB Will Bruno is a capable passer, but was picked off twice by Hall.

Friday Night Drive pick: Kewanee

– Charlie Ellerbrock

Erie-Prophetstown (4-2) at Bureau Valley (2-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: Erie-Prophetstown 44, Bureau Valley 0 (spring 2021).

About the Panthers: E-P lost its first two games, but rides a four-game streak into Storm Stadium. The Panthers’ losses came to 5-1 Mendota and St. Bede, while their wins have come over two winless teams (Sherrard and Riverdale) and two .500 teams (Rockridge and Orion) that have a combined 6-18 record. “E-P is big, experienced and has two really good playmakers in the backfield we will have to control to win. Penalties and turnovers that cost us last week have to get cleaned up, because you can’t beat good teams playing that way. We are excited for the challenge, and I’m excited for the kids to get a homecoming this year,” BV coach Mat Pistole said. E-P also beat the Storm, 33-14, in the 2019 season opener in Pistole’s coaching debut at BV. The Panthers lost their last six games of the 2019 season.

About the Storm: Friday’s contest is the 2021 homecoming game for Bureau Valley. The script for the Storm’s season is a flip of E-P’s. BV won its first two games of the season, but has dropped its last four. The Storm gave state-ranked St. Bede all it could handle last week, falling, 13-7. Senior RB Jaden Michlig leads the Storm with 566 yards rushing and six TDs. Senior QB Alex Johnson has completed half of his passes (20-40), good for 323 yards and a pair of TDs. Brock Foster has caught half of those passes for 181 yards and one TD, a 56-yard reception last week for an early 7-0 lead over St. Bede. The Storm must win out the last three weeks to make the playoffs. BV leads the all-time series with Erie-Prophetstown, 19-4, including the games before they co-oped.

Friday Night Drive pick: Bureau Valley

– Kevin Hieronymus

Hall (1-5, 0-3) at Newman (3-3, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: Newman 20, Hall 6 (2019)

About the Red Devils: The Red Devils beat Morrison, 44-20, in Week 4 and have continued their solid play, battling both 5-1 Mendota, 43-34, and state-ranked Kewanee, 14-12, tooth and nail the past two weeks. Those kind of efforts showed Hall that it can play with anyone on its schedule if it brings its A game. Junior RB Mac Resetich has racked up 13 TDs and 80 points scored. He rushed for 65 yards with two TDs last week. Senior LB Dominic Guerrini returned a 66-yard interception return to paydirt just before halftime to give Hall a 14-12 lead over Kewanee.

About the Comets: The Comets take the field on the heels of a 41-0 setback at Princeton last week. They were overmatched from the opening kickoff, held to 112 net yards while surrendering 374. Princeton’s 41 points matched the most scored against Newman in nine years when the Comets lost to Aurora Christian, 41-7, in the state quarterfinals. Newman has won the six meetings over Hall by a combined 192-65 margin (32.0-10.9). Newman has won all six meetings since 2012, when Hall joined the Three Rivers/Big Rivers.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Hall

– Kevin Hieronymus

Amboy-LaMoille 1, Ashton-Franklin Center 0 (forfeit)

About the forfeit: Ashton-Franklin Center, which has dealt with injuries and COVID-19 issues, had to forfeit its Week 4 game because of low numbers and then lost, 56-0, to Hiawatha in Week 5 before canceling the remainder of its varsity season the following week, citing safety concerns. Amboy-LaMoille was coming off a 60-36 win over Hiawatha and will improve to 4-3. Amboy athletic director George Schwamberger said, “We had no luck finding a replacement varsity opponent and will play AFC in a junior varsity game in its place.” Amboy-LaMoille moves to 4-3.

— Brain Hoxsey

Stockton (2-4) at Fieldcrest (0-6)

Game time: 2 p.m. Saturday

Last meeting: First meeting

About the Blackhawks: Stockton plays in the tough Northwest Upstate Illini Conference and has defeated leagues foes Lanark-Eastland/Pearl City and East Dubuque, but fallen to Forreston, Dakota, Galena and, last week, to Fulton, 42-14. Jace Phillips and Dustin Oppold are the Blackhawks’ top two rushers. Phillips has 68 carries for 276 yards, and Oppold has 64 carries for 259 yards. Ian Broshous is not far behind with 27 carries for 220 yards, and Parker Luke has 44 carries for 208 yards. Stockton head coach Matt Leitzen said, “We will need to be physical up front and take what the defense gives us. It will start with stopping the pass. It looks as if they like to air it out, and we will need to limit their big plays through the air. We’ll need to take care of the football and do the little things well. If we do the simple things well, we should put ourselves in good positions, both on offense and defense. A couple big plays wouldn’t hurt either.”

About the Knights: Fieldcrest fell to AP Class No. 3-ranked Tri-Valley, 54-6, last week. QB Koltin Kearfott threw for 75 yards and ran for 45 more and a score, while Landon Modro had four catches for 36 yards. Kearfott has thrown for 1,037 yards and six TDs, while Modro has made 27 catches for 643 yards and six scores. Fieldcrest is averaging 12.0 points a game while giving up 43.7. If the Knights, who have struggled running the ball all season, can produce a few solid rushing plays early, it will open up the passing game even more.

Friday Night Drive pick: Stockton

– Brain Hoxsey