A look inside the 2022 football schedule for the Joliet area

Lincoln-Way East running back James Kwiecinski follows a block out of the backfield on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at Bolingbrook High School in Bolingbrook, Ill.

Southwest Prairie East

Joliet Central

Head coach: Thomas Hart

2021 record: 0-9

The Steelmen have had a tough time getting much momentum going in recent seasons and haven’t netted a win since 2019. But the nonconference schedule to start their schedule might be a little more forgiving than the SPC crossovers the program has faced in most recent campaigns. Even so, the Steelmen still will need to make a dramatic step forward to be in the SPC East mix.

August 26@ Argo7 p.m.
September 2Bremen6:30 p.m.
September 8Oswego6:30 p.m.
September 15@ Oswego East6 p.m.
September 23Plainfield East6:30 p.m.
September 30@ Plainfield South7 p.m.
October 7@ Romeoville7 p.m.
October 15Joliet West11 a.m.
October 21@ Plainfield Central6:30 p.m.

Joliet West

Head coach: Dan Tito

2021 record: 3-6

The Tigers would like to find a way back into the postseason mix, but will have to survive an absolutely brutal stretch of games to kick off the season. It includes four playoff teams in their first five scheduled games. COVID-19 issues took a bite out of Joliet West’s schedule last season and made it difficult for the team to regroup in the second half of the season.

August 26@ Lockport6:30 p.m.
September 2@ Minooka7 p.m.
September 9Plainfield North6:30 p.m.
September 16@ West Aurora7 p.m.
September 23Plainfield Central6:30 p.m.
September 30Romeoville6:30 p.m.
October 7Plainfield East6:30 p.m.
October 15@ Joliet Central11 a.m.
October 21@ Plainfield South7 p.m.

Plainfield Central

Head coach: Robert Keane

2021 record: 8-2

Few programs made a larger turnaround in one year than the Wildcats did under then-first-year head coach Keane. For the Wildcats to sustain that level of success, they will have to maneuver what appears to be a much more difficult nonconference slate, which includes a new rivalry matchup with Lincoln-Way West to kick off the season.

August 26Lincoln-Way West7 p.m.
September 2@ Yorkville7 p.m.
September 9Aurora West7 p.m.
September 16@ Minooka7 p.m.
September 23@ Joliet West6:30 p.m.
September 30@ Plainfield East7 p.m.
October 8Plainfield South1 p.m.
October 14@ Romeoville7 p.m.
October 21Joliet Central6:30 p.m.

Plainfield East

Head coach: Brad Kunz

2021 record: 5-5

The Bengals were able to sneak in the backdoor of the playoff field last season, but are hoping that they can hang around a little bit longer this season with a returning roster of some very promising young players. If they do manage to make the field and net a playoff win, it would be the first in program history, as they are 0-4 in their previous four appearances.

August 26Plainfield North7 p.m.
September 2@ Shepard7 p.m.
September 8Oswego East6 p.m.
September 15@ Yorkville7 p.m.
September 23@ Joliet Central6:30 p.m.
September 30Plainfield Central7 p.m.
October 7@ Joliet West6:30 p.m.
October 14Plainfield South7 p.m.
October 21Romeoville7 p.m.

Plainfield South

Head coach: Bill Bicker

2021 record: 3-6

The Cougars had one of their tougher seasons in recent memory, but it is hard to imagine a scenario that wouldn’t have them bouncing back from that to be a factor in the Southwest Prairie East race. The key to making that happen will be surviving the four-game stretch before divisional play.

August 26@ Aurora West7 p.m.
September 2DeKalb7 p.m.
September 9Yorkville7 p.m.
September 16@ Plainfield North7 p.m.
September 23@ Romeoville7 p.m.
September 30Joliet Central7 p.m.
October 8@ Plainfield Central1 p.m.
October 14@ Plainfield East7 p.m.
October 21Joliet West7 p.m.


Head coach: Justin Trovato

2021 record: 1-8

Romeoville’s only win last season came after beating Joliet Central, and the program has netted three of its four wins over the last three contested seasons over the Steelemen. In order to take things up another notch, the Spartans could use a little momentum from the early portion of the season, but a rigorous nonconference schedule doesn’t look very accommodating to that goal.

August 26@ Yorkville7 p.m.
September 2West Aurora7 p.m.
September 9Minooka7 p.m.
September 16@ Oswego7 p.m.
September 23Plainfield South7 p.m.
September 30@ Joliet West6:30 p.m.
October 7Joliet Central7 p.m.
October 14Plainfield Central7 p.m.
October 21@ Plainfield East7 p.m.

Southwest Prairie West


Head coach: Matt Harding

2021 record: 6-5

It was a bit of an uneven season for the Indians last year, but they regrouped nicely at the end of the year to cop an opening-round Class 8A playoff win over York before bowing out with a loss to Lincoln-Way East in Round 2. An intriguing slate starts right from the get-go with a very talented Bolingbrook team lurking in Week 1.

August 26@ Bolingbrook6 p.m.
September 2Joliet West7 p.m.
September 9@ Romeoville7 p.m.
September 16Plainfield Central7 p.m.
September 23Oswego7 p.m.
September 30Oswego East7 p.m.
October 7Plainfield North7 p.m.
October 14@ Yorkville7 p.m.
October 21@ West Aurora7 p.m.

Plainfield North

Head coach: Anthony Imbordino

2021 record: 8-3

Plainfield North hopes to rekindle its amazing defensive effort of a year ago, who it held six of its nine regular-season opponents to nine points or fewer. The team likely will need that as this schedule is absolutely no joke, both in league play and outside of it.

August 26@ Plainfield East7 p.m.
September 2Naperville Central7 p.m.
September 9@ Joliet West6:30 p.m.
September 16Plainfield South7 p.m.
September 23@ Yorkville7 p.m.
September 30Oswego7 p.m.
October 7@ Minooka7 p.m.
October 14West Aurora7 p.m.
October 21Oswego East7 p.m.


Joliet Catholic

Head coach: Jake Jaworski

2021 record: 14-0

The Hilltoppers really had to scramble to fill their nonconference dates as they didn’t get a commitment for Week 1 until very late in the process. Waterford is a solid program, having recorded winning records in Wisconsin all the way back to 2010. The renewal of the series with IC Catholic also became a must when IC Catholic’s Week 2 opponent washed out on it as well.

August 26@ Waterford, Wisconsin7 p.m.
September 2IC Catholic7:30 p.m.
September 9@ De La Salle7:30 p.m.
September 16@ Providence7:30 p.m.
September 23@ Crete-Monee7:30 p.m.
September 30@ St. Laurence7:30 p.m.
October 7Brother Rice7:30 p.m.
October 14Benet7:30 p.m.
October 21Montini7:30 p.m.


Head coach: Tyler Plantz

2021 record: 3-6

New head coach Tyler Plantz inherits a program that missed the playoffs last season and wants nothing more to get into that mix once again. To do so, the Celtics will have to maneuver through a schedule that doesn’t look much different than last year’s slate, which was one of the most rigorous in all of the state.

August 26Lake Central, Indiana6 p.m.
September 2Wheaton North7:30 p.m.
September 9@ Fenwick7:30 p.m.
September 16Joliet Catholic7:30 p.m.
September 23@ Marian Central Catholic7:30 p.m.
September 30@ Montini7:30 p.m.
October 7Loyola7:30 p.m.
October 14St. Rita7:30 p.m.
October 21St. Laurence7:30 p.m.

SouthWest Suburban Blue


Head coach: John Ivlow

2021 record: 7-3

The Raiders look rather formidable entering the season, particularly on offense with the added firepower from Montini transfer Joshua Robinson. But even with some potent additions, this is a rigorous schedule for Bolingbrook to have to navigate.

August 26Minooka6 p.m.
September 3@ Simeon3 p.m.
September 9@ Lincoln-Way West7:30 p.m.
September 16Sandburg6 p.m.
September 23@ Lincoln-Way East7 p.m.
September 30Homewood-Flossmoor6 p.m.
October 7@ Lockport6:30 p.m.
October 14Lincoln-Way Central6 p.m.
October 21Stagg7 p.m.

Lincoln-Way East

Head coach: Rob Zvonar

2021 record: 9-3

The Griffins bowed out earlier than they’d like in their defense of the Class 8A state title from the 2019 season, falling to Loyola in the quarterfinals. But they reached that stage with a relatively young core that looks to be well positioned to make an impression. This schedule will provide ample challenges along the way.

August 26@ Crete-Monee6 p.m.
September 2Batavia7 p.m.
September 9@ Stagg7 p.m.
September 16Andrew7 p.m.
September 23Bolingbrook7 p.m.
September 30@ Sandburg6 p.m.
October 7@ Homewood-Flossmoor7 p.m.
October 14Lockport7 p.m.
October 21@ Bradley-Bourbonnais7:30 p.m.


Head coach: George Czart

2021 record: 13-1

The Class 8A state champions performed exactly as one would expect a senior-laden talented bunch would be expected to, stifling almost every opponent on defense while showing significant firepower on offense. Although almost every core member of that group is now gone, it’s silly to dismiss the possibility that the Porters can’t still be a major player on the 8A scene.

August 26Joliet West6:30 p.m.
September 2Metea Valley7 p.m.
September 9@ Bradley-Bourbonnais7 p.m.
September 16Homewood-Flossmoor6:30 p.m.
September 23Sandburg7 p.m.
September 30@ Lincoln-Way West7:30 p.m.
October 7Bolingbrook6:30 p.m.
October 14@ Lincoln-Way East7 p.m.
October 21@ Andrew7 p.m.

SouthWest Suburban Red

Lincoln-Way Central

Head coach: Jeremy Cordell

2021 record: 2-7

The Knights are trying to get back on the path to playoff qualification, but this schedule doesn’t do them many favors in trying to get there. Nonconference games against St. Charles East and Lake Park almost become must win games for Lincoln-Way Central as the depth of the SouthWest Suburban Conference is almost unfair.

August 26@ St. Charles East7:30 p.m.
September 2@ Lake Park7:30 p.m.
September 9Homewood-Flossmoor7:30 p.m.
September 16Stagg7:30 p.m.
September 23@ Andrew7 p.m.
September 30@ Bradley-Bourbonnais7:30 p.m.
October 7Lincoln-Way West7:30 p.m.
October 14@ Bolingbrook6 p.m.
October 21Sandburg7:30 p.m.

Lincoln-Way West

Head coach: Luke Lokanc

2021 record: 5-5

The Warriors are hoping this year’s schedule doesn’t lead to the hole they dug for themselves last year. Lincoln-Way West played three very strong teams to start the schedule and dropped decisions to all three. Then after a loss to Lockport in Week 6, the Warriors needed to run the table just to earn a spot in the postseason. This schedule looks like it could be rather demanding as well.

August 26@ Plainfield Central7 p.m.
September 2Oswego East7:30 p.m.
September 9Bolingbrook7:30 p.m.
September 16Bradley-Bourbonnais7:30 p.m.
September 23@ Stagg6 p.m.
September 30Lockport7:30 p.m.
October 7@ Lincoln-Way Central7:30 p.m.
October 14@ Andrew7 p.m.
October 21Homewood-Flossmoor7:30 p.m.

South Suburban


Head coach: Bret Kooi

2021 record: 11-1

Lemont rambled its way through its league schedule and always is a dominant force in the league’s hierarchy. It’s hard to believe it won’t be a major force again this year, which leads to more intrigue likely being provided by its nonconference slate to kick off the campaign.

August 26Libertyville7 p.m.
September 2@ Nazareth7:30 p.m.
September 9Oak Forest7 p.m.
September 16@ Bremen6 p.m.
September 23Tinley Park7 p.m.
September 30T.F. North7 p.m.
October 7Richards7 p.m.
October 14@ Hillcrest6 p.m.
October 21@ T.F. South7 p.m.

Kishwaukee River/Interstate Eight White


Head coach: Alan Thorson

2021 record: 10-1

On paper, the Morris schedule looks like it could be a gauntlet. The team managed to run the table last season, though, but when the dust cleared it had vanquished six teams that qualified for the playoffs and another that fell just one win short of making that number seven. The first half of the schedule should give Morris a great chance to see how it stands.

August 26Coal CIty7 p.m.
September 2@ Antioch7 p.m.
September 9Kaneland7 p.m.
September 16Woodstock North7 p.m.
September 23@ LaSalle-Peru7 p.m.
September 30@ Richmond-Burton7 p.m.
October 7@ Woodstock7 p.m.
October 14Ottawa7 p.m.
October 21@ Sycamore7 p.m.

Illinois Central Eight

Coal City

Head coach: Francis Loughran

2021 record: 6-4

The Coalers had some injuries hit at the wrong time last season, but before that the consistent program was what they always are, a factor in the Illinois Central Eight race that is capable of competing with everyone in the league. It’s unlikely that pattern changes this season, but some early nonconference matchups provide some stern tests.

August 26@ Morris7 p.m.
September 2Bishop McNamara7 p.m.
September 9@ Wilmington7 p.m.
September 16Herscher7 p.m.
September 23@ Lisle7 p.m.
September 30Manteno7 p.m.
October 7@ Peotone7 p.m.
October 14Reed-Custer7 p.m.
October 21@ Streator7 p.m.


Head coach: Apostolos Tsiamas

2021 record: 5-5

Peotone rebuilt its nonconference schedule and that became a little bit of a scramble when Sandwich recently announced that it wouldn’t be playing varsity football this season. The Indians were Peotone’s Week 2 opponent, causing them to scramble for a foe at a late date. They found one from across the border in Indiana.

August 26@ Rantoul7 p.m.
September 2@ Elletsville (Edgewood), Indiana8 p.m.
September 9@ Manteno7 p.m.
September 16Wilmington7 p.m.
September 23Reed-Custer7 p.m.
September 30@ Streator7 p.m.
October 7Coal City7 p.m.
October 14@ Herscher7 p.m.
October 21Lisle7 p.m.


Head coach: Gavin Johnston

2021 record: 10-2

It was a breakthrough season for the Comets, who not only advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in program history, but also almost knocked out eventual Class 3A state champion Byron in the quarterfinals. It will be interesting to see if the program can keep the momentum going.

August 26Elmwood Park7 p.m.
September 2@ Arcola7 p.m.
September 9@ Lisle7 p.m.
September 16Manteno7 p.m.
September 23@ Peotone7 p.m.
September 30Wilmington7 p.m.
October 7Streator7 p.m.
October 14@ Coal City7 p.m.
October 21Herscher7 p.m.


Head coach: Jeff Reents

2021 record: 14-0

The Wildcats had some serious trouble filling their schedule, securing a Week 2 game only a few weeks ago. Even that came with an oddity as they will play Lisle twice because of an unexpected vacancy on their slate. The first meeting of the two schools will count as the conference game.

August 26Marengo7 p.m.
September 2Lisle7 p.m.
September 9Coal CIty7 p.m.
September 16@ Peotone7 p.m.
September 23Herscher7 p.m.
September 30@ Reed-Custer7 p.m.
October 7@ Lisle7 p.m.
October 14@ Streator7 p.m.
October 21Manteno7 p.m.

Vermilion Valley North


Head coach: Luke Standiford

2021 record: 1-8

Dwight’s season was a bumpy one in 2021, as the team lost two games to COVID-19 forfeits, while recording its lone win via a forfeit from a program (Watseka) that ended its season short. At least scheduling isn’t a concern due to the VVC alignment that has teams playing five divisional games to close the season, preceded by four crossover games against the South division squads.

August 27@ Salt Forknoon
September 2@ Bismarck-Henning7 p.m.
September 9Westville7 p.m.
September 16@ Oakwood7 p.m.
September 23Momence7 p.m.
September 30Clifton Central7 p.m.
October 7@ Watseka7 p.m.
October 14Iroquois West7 p.m.
October 21@ Seneca7 p.m.


Head coach: Terry Maxwell

2021 record: 4-5

Seneca is a football-only member of the Vermilion Valley, and while the travel situation isn’t perfect for the Fighting Irish, the fact the league makes for easy scheduling certainly eases that pain. Seneca will try to avoid the 0-3 start of a year ago as it was playing very solid football down the stretch in just missing the postseason.

August 27@ Westville5 p.m.
September 2Hoopeston7 p.m.
September 10@ Salt Fork1 p.m.
September 16Georgetown-Ridge Farm7 p.m.
September 23@ Iroquois West7 p.m.
September 30Watseka7 p.m.
October 7Momence7 p.m.
October 14@ Clifton Central7 p.m.
October 21Dwight7 p.m.