Illinois High School Football News

Sauk Valley Media area football preview capsules for Week 2

Sterling’s Antonio Tablante (left) and AJ Kested celebrate a score against Lakes Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

WESTERN BIG 6

Sterling (1-0) at Wheaton St. Francis (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Golden Warriors: Sterling started its season with a 40-6 win at home over Lake Villa Lakes. … Kael Ryan had 138 yards on five carries, including touchdown runs of 55 and 68 yards. JP Schilling added 55 yards and two TDs on eight rushes, while Antonio Tablante rushed for a score and AJ Kested added a 68-yard punt return TD. … Sterling held Lakes scoreless until the the Eagles scored with just 1:08 left in the game.

About the Spartans: St. Francis defeated Lake Forest 17-6 in Week 1, avenging last season’s 41-24 loss to open the season. … The Spartans are members of the Metro Suburban Red Conference, and went 3-0 in the league last year. … St. Francis has advanced to the second round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, including the 4A quarterfinals in 2019, and has a 26-8 record in that span, after a 1-8 year in coach Bob McMillen’s first season in 2017. … The Spartans have a pair of Division I recruits in senior lineman TJ McMillen (Illinois commit) and junior QB Alessio Milivojevic (offer from Mississippi).

FND pick: St. Francis

BIG NORTHERN

Dixon (1-0, 1-0) at North Boone (0-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Dixon 50, North Boone 7 (2021 Week 2)

About the Dukes: Dixon opened the season with a 34-6 win over Oregon, pulling away by shutting out the Hawks over the final three quarters. … Aiden Wiseman ran for 134 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in place of the injured Rylan Ramsdell. … Tyler Shaner threw for 130 yards and 3 TDs, and also ran for 53 yards and another score. … The Dukes won despite committing 14 penalties for 140 yards and losing a fumble. … The teams have split the six meetings since North Boone joined the Big Northern in 2016, with the Dukes winning two of the last three.

About the Vikings: North Boone lost 20-14 to Rockford Lutheran in Week 1. … Senior QB Chandler Alderman will play Division I baseball at Middle Tennessee State as a left-handed pitcher. He’s in his second year as the Vikings’ starter, and threw for 1,879 yards, 26 TDs and 6 INTs last season. … North Boone lost standout WR Will Doetch to graduation, but his brother Chris is back, as are another set of brothers, Brandon and Blake Becker. That trio provides Alderman with some height and speed down the field.

FND pick: Dixon

Stillman Valley (1-0, 1-0) at Rock Falls (0-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Stillman 48, Rock Falls 0 (2021 Week 2)

About the Cardinals: Stillman started the season with a 15-7 overtime win against defending class 3A state champ Byron. … The Cardinals have won the last 10 meetings against Rock Falls, with 48-0 wins in each of the last two meetings last year and in 2019, and a 55-38 victory in 2018. … Stillman finished 8-3 last year, and took third in the BNC at 7-2 in the league. The Cardinals have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, after a four-year absence.

About the Rockets: Rock Falls opened with a 14-0 loss at Rockford Christian last week. … The Rockets are young this year after losing a strong senior group to graduation, and are relying on juniors and sophomores in their second varsity seasons to carry much of the load this fall. … Kevin Parker is back for his fourth year as head coach.

FND pick: Stillman Valley

Oregon's Jackson Glendenning reaches for Duke runner Jath St. Pier Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

Oregon (0-1, 0-1) at Rockford Christian (1-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oregon 45, Rockford Christian 20 (2021 Week 2)

About the Hawks: Oregon started strong in its opener at home against Dixon, trailing only 7-6 late in the first quarter, but couldn’t keep up in a 34-6 loss. … Both of the Hawks’ wins last season came at home, but they won three of their last five road games in the 2019 and 2021 spring seasons. … Oregon attempted 37 passes last week, more than in the last several seasons combined; sophomore QB Jack Washburn had 23 completions for 182 yards and a touchdown. … The Hawks rushed 23 times for only 28 yards last week.

About the Royal Lions: Rockford Christian picked up its first win since rejoining the BNC last week, topping Rock Falls 14-0. … The Royal Lions left the league after the 2017 season, but returned last year. They made the playoffs in 2017, but did not win a game last fall. They also made the playoffs in 2018 and 2019. … Rockford Christian has made 10 trips to the playoffs since 2003, but hasn’t won a postseason game.

FND pick: Oregon

THREE RIVERS

Rockridge (0-1) at Newman (1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Rockridge 27, Newman 14 (2021 Week 2)

About the Rockets: The Rockets lost to Princeton 41-22 in Week 1. … Last year’s win over Newman snapped a six-game losing skid against the Comets, and was Rockridge’s first win in the series since their first season in the Three Rivers in 2013. … The Rockets have made the playoffs nine of the last 10 seasons, missing in 2019.

About the Comets: Newman defeated rival Morrison 28-6 in the opener, controlling the game with suffocating defense – the Mustangs had minus-1 yard of total offense in the first half – and seizing the momentum with a second-half blocked punt. … Gabe Padilla scored three touchdowns on short runs last week, while Hunter Luyando had Newman’s first-half touchdown run from short yardage. … The Comets outscored Rockridge 170-63 in their six-game win streak in the series prior to last year’s loss.

FND pick: Newman

Sherrard (0-1) at Bureau Valley (0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: BV 50, Sherrard 7 (2021 Week 2)

About the Tigers: Sherrard went 3-1 in the 2021 spring season in Brandon Johnston’s first year as coach, but graduation took a heavy toll and the Tigers were 0-9 last fall. ... Sherrard fell to St. Bede 28-14 in last week’s opener. QB Holland Anderson completed 10-of-16 passes for 217 yards and two TDs, and RB Bailey Nelson rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries. The Sherrard defense allowed 227 yards rushing, 369 net yards overall. … “Sherrard is much improved from last year. Not shocked as I have a lot of respect for Coach Johnston and he will get that program turned around,” BV coach Mat Pistole said. “Their QB and RB are very good players, and they have better athletes on the edge than years past. They seem to be much more fundamentally sound defensively as well.”

About the Storm: Pistole, whose team fell 33-12 in a Week 1 nonconference game at Villa Grove, said most teams make their biggest jump between Weeks 1 and 2, and that is the Storm’s goal. “Week 1 is always hard, as you don’t know what the opponent is going to do, and it made it especially difficult that we played a team we knew nothing about. Week 2 we can at least have a better idea on schematics and personnel,” he said. “Focus this week is we have to be a lot more fundamentally sound on all facets and play with more enthusiasm and emotion.” ... Mason Goossens scored both touchdowns for the Storm at Villa Grove on runs of 2 and 13 yards. The Storm allowed 328 yards passing (4 TDs), 464 total net yards. .... The Storm hold a 3-0 series edge, including last year’s win.

FND pick: Sherrard

Morrison (0-1) at Kewanee (0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kewanee 28, Morrison 6 (2021 Week 2)

About the Mustangs: Morrison lost 28-6 to rival Newman in the season opener at home, and managed only two plays of double-digit yardage. … Donny Reavy led a stout Mustangs defense last week with three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble that set up their only touchdown on a 6-yard TD run from Daeshawn McQueen with 40.9 seconds left in the third quarter. … Morrison has made the playoffs only once in the last eight seasons, advancing to the Class 1A quarterfinals in 2019.

About the Boilermakers: Kewanee dropped its opener 22-16 to Monmouth-Roseville on the road. … The Boilers will debut their new synthetic turf field in the home opener this week. … Kewanee took a heavy hit to graduation, losing 16 starters from last year’s playoff team and returning only six seniors this fall. … The Boilers won their first eight games last season, then defeated Plano in the first round of the playoffs before finishing the year 9-2. They’ve made the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

FND pick: Kewanee

Erie-Prophetstown (1-0) at St. Bede (1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Bede 15, EP 13 (2021 Week 2)

About the Panthers: E-P turned in a dominating rushing performance in a 54-34 win over Mendota in the opener, running for 501 yards. Jase Grunder led the Panther ground game, rushing for 215 yards and six touchdowns on 21 attempts, while Tyler Ballard ran for 195 yards and two scores – of 48 and 70 yards – on 11 carries. … The Panthers built a 40-12 lead through three quarters. … The E-P defense gave up 520 yards to Mendota – 303 rushing and 217 passing. … E-P has won eight regular-season games in a row, with its last regular-season loss coming last season in Week 2 against St. Bede.

About the Bruins: St. Bede has had a knack for pulling out close games against the Panthers over the last five years. The last five meetings between the teams have been decided by three points or less, including three one-point games, with the Bruins winning four of them. Last season, Stephen Shaver booted a late field goal to lift St. Bede to a 15-13 victory. … The Bruins relied heavily on the Brady twins in their 28-14 win over Sherrard in the opener. Quarterback John Brady ran for 231 yards and four touchdowns, and completed 7 of 16 passes for 122 yards, while safety Ryan Brady made nine tackles, intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and broke up two passes, including one in the end zone. … Ben Wallace caught five of Brady’s passes for 88 yards. … St. Bede limited the Tigers to 73 rushing yards.

FND pick: St. Bede

NORTHWEST UPSTATE ILLINI

Stockton (0-1, 0-1) at Eastland-Pearl City (0-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Stockton 18, EPC 13 (2021 Week 2)

About the Blackhawks: Stockton started the season with a 44-14 loss to Forreston. … Parker Luke led the Blackhawks with 49 yards and two touchdowns on nine rushes, while Karl Hubb added 40 yards on six carries. ... Stockton trailed 44-0 before scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns last week. … The Blackhawks made the playoffs nine straight seasons before missing last fall with a 3-6 record.

About the Wildcatz: EPC opened the season with a 60-6 loss to defending Class 1A state champion Lena-Winslow. … The Wildcatz scored late in the first quarter on a Carsen Heeren 55-yard TD pass to Brady Sweitzer to make it a 16-6 game. … Heeren finished 6-for-11 passing for 94 yards. Sweitzer caught three of those passes for 74 yards. … EPC rushed for 111 yards on 34 carries, with eight different ball-carriers. Le-Win ran for 348 yards and 6 TDs on 41 rushes.

FND pick: Stockton

Fulton (1-0, 1-0) at West Carroll (0-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting (Fulton def. Savanna 56-0 in 1998)

About the Steamers: Fulton opened the season with a 31-12 win at home over Galena, rushing for 299 yards on 42 carries (7.1 yards per carry). … Lukas Schroeder ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Ryan Eads had 125 yards on the ground. … Brayden Dykstra also did some damage through the air, completing 12 of 21 passes for 128 yards and 2 TDs. … Baylen Damhoff had five catches for 70 yards and a score, and Eads added six catches for 54 yards and a TD. … In their first season in the NUIC last fall, the Steamers tied for second with a 6-2 league record, and finished 9-3.

About the Thunder: West Carroll played its first varsity game since the 2021 spring season last week, and lost to defending NUIC champion Du-Pec 53-6. … AJ Boardman connected with Aaron Becker for a 28-yard TD pass with 4:00 left in the game. … Boardman, who also plays on the golf team, ran 18 times for 79 yards, and completed 7 of 21 passes for 90 yards. … Becker finished with four catches for 65 yards.

FND pick: Fulton

Durand-Pecatonica (1-0, 1-0) at Forreston (1-0, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Du-Pec 28, Forreston 0 (2021 Week 2)

About the Rivermen: Du-Pec defeated West Carroll 53-6 last week, racking up 363 rushing yards, led by QB AJ Mulcahy’s 235 yards and 5 TDs on 16 rushes. … The Rivermen scored 27 points in the second quarter and 20 in the third after leading 6-0 through one quarter. … The Du-Pec defense gave up 76 yards rushing and 90 yards passing last week. … The Rivermen won the NUIC title last season with a perfect 8-0 league record.

About the Cardinals: Forreston defeated Stockton 44-14 last week, leading 44-0 through three quarters. … The Cardinals are looking to avenge last year’s Week 2 loss to Du-Pec, the only time they were shut out all season – the first time they were shut out since Week 3 of the 2015 season, a 34-0 loss to Dakota. … Forreston had four backs rush for more than 65 yards last week, led by Johnny Kobler’s 12 carries for 120 yards and 2 TDs. Kaleb Sanders (87 yards, TD), Lucas Nelson (76 yards, 2 TDs) and McKeon Crase (66 yards, TD) each had eight carries. … The Cardinals ran 59 times for 464 yards last week, while limiting Stockton to 135 total yards.

FND pick: Forreston

ILLINOIS 8-MAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

River Ridge (0-1) at Amboy-LaMoille-Ohio (1-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting in eight-man

About the Wildcats: River Ridge led by two touchdowns at halftime but ended up losing 42-36 to South Beloit in three overtimes in the opener. The Wildcats lost a fumble in the third overtime to seal their loss. … George Winter ran for an 8-yard touchdown and caught a 25-yard TD pass from Sam Ries in regulation. Winter also scored on a 5-yard run in the first overtime. Ries also tossed a 42-yard TD pass to Traighton McGovern in regulation.

About the Clippers: Amboy returns for its home opener after making a statement on the road in Week 1, beating two-time defending eight-man champion Polo 28-12. The Clippers scored three touchdowns on plays of 30 yards or longer, including on back-to-back offensive plays in the first four minutes. … Amboy quarterback Tucker Lindenmeyer completed 3 of 6 passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns, with all three passes going to Brennan Blaine. Lindenmeyer also ran for 76 yards and a TD on eight carries. … Kye Koch ran for 75 yards on 10 carries, including a 55-yard TD on Amboy’s first play of the third quarter to put the Clippers up 28-6.

FND pick: Amboy

Polo’s Avery Grenoble is tackled by Amboy’s Kyle Koch Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

Hiawatha (1-0, 1-0) at AFC (0-1, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hiawatha 56, AFC 0 (2021 Week 5)

About the Hawks: Hiawatha opened the year with a 66-24 win over Rockford Christian Life, with Cole Brantley and Tommy Butler carrying most of the offensive load on the ground out of the backfield. … This week, coach Nick Doolittle said he’s looking to fine-tune some things: “I think we need to get better with our run blocking, open up the field a little more. We also need to play some good pass defense against them, they throw the ball a lot. We have to contain the quarterback and not give anything up too deep in the pass game.”

About the Raiders: After only playing four varsity games last year due to low numbers and a rash of injuries, AFC had a solid showing in their season opener, a 36-26 loss to Alden-Hebron. The game was a fill-in after AFC’s original Week 1 opponent, Harvest Christian Academy, was forced to cancel due to low numbers. … Senior QB Carson Rueff threw for 380 yards and 3 TDs, while wideout Auden Polk had 123 receiving yards and a TD. … Lane Koning (89 yards) and Michael Cochrane (36 yards) also had touchdown catches.

FND pick: Hiawatha

Aquin (0-1) at Milledgeville (1-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Milledgeville 48, Aquin 28 (2021 Week 7)

About the Bulldogs: Aquin lost a 39-38 shootout in Week 1 to West Prairie at home. … The Bulldogs were 6-4 last year, losing three of their last four games, including a first-round playoff upset loss at home against Amboy. … Aquin is in its first season under head coach Bill Shepard, who took over after Broc Kundert left to coach at Oregon. … The Bulldogs are in their second season of eight-man football. They were 11-1 and 6-0 in their last two years in 11-man.

About the Missiles: Milledgeville won 46-8 at Orangeville in Week 1, as senior Kacen Johnson ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, then added two punt return TDs in his first game back after breaking his leg in Week 4 last season. The three TD returns covered 206 yards. … The Missiles scored on their first three drives in addition to Johnson’s return TDs, taking a 46-0 lead just 12:06 into the game. … QB Connor Nye threw for 107 yards and a TD, and also ran for a score.

FND pick: Milledgeville

Orangeville (0-1, 0-1) at Polo (0-1, 0-1)

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Polo 12, Orangeville 7 (2021 I8FA state championship)

About the Broncos: Orangeville lost its opener to Milledgeville 46-8, scoring its lone TD with 3:43 to play after falling behind 46-0 just six seconds into the second quarter. … After advancing to the state championship game last season, graduation and transfers hit the Broncos hard. Leading rusher Gunar Lobdell was the biggest loss, after he ran for 2,400 yards and 42 TDs as a junior in 2021; he transferred to Lena-Winslow.

About the Marcos: Polo suffered its first loss since the 2021 spring season in Week 1, falling to Amboy 28-12. … The Marcos have won the last two Illinois 8-Man Football Association state titles, winning in their first season in eight-man in 2019 and again last fall with perfect 13-0 records both years. … Avery Grenoble led Polo with 82 rushes and two TDs on 22 carries last week, while Brock Soltow added 60 yards on 10 rushes. … The Marcos gave up three Amboy TDs of 30 yards or longer, but finished last week’s game with a 15-play scoring drive that covered 89 yards and took 8:27 off the clock in the fourth quarter.

FND pick: Polo