Illinois High School Football News

Sauk Valley Media area football preview capsules for Week 4

Dixon's Aidan Hoggard (5) and Hunter Vacek (24) bring down a Rockford Christian ball carrier.


Sterling (2-1, 1-0) at Alleman (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Sterling 49-7 (2021 Week 4)

About the Golden Warriors: Sterling is playing its third straight road game; three of its final five games are at home. … The Golden Warriors come in off a 48-21 win at Galesburg last week. … QBs Kael Ryan and JP Schilling have each run for 6 touchdowns on the season. Ryan has run for 270 yards and thrown for 82; Schilling has run for 129 yards and thrown for 185. … With starting RB Antonio Tablante out, AJ Kested ran for 98 yards and 2 TDs last week, and Cale Ledergerber ran for 54 yards and a score. … Isaiah Mendoza leads Sterling’s WR corps with 5 catches for 126 yards. … The Warriors scored six touchdowns on 25 first-half plays last year against Alleman, and also had a pick-six to take a 49-0 lead by halftime.

About the Pioneers: Alleman’s offensive line is anchored by 5-star, top-100 recruit Charles Jagusah, a 6-foot-6, 295-pounder who has committed to Notte Dame. … Andrew Torres leads the Pioneers with 313 rushing yards and 3 TDs. … After playing QB last season, Quentin Fonseca has moved to RB and has 125 yards rushing and a touchdown. … New QB Daniel VanDeHeede is 14-for-39 passing for 199 yards and 2 TDs, completing passes to eight different receivers. … Alleman scored only two touchdowns last season – one in the fourth quarter against Sterling – but already has a win this season, 32-6 over Chicago Academy in Week 1.

FND pick: Sterling


Stillman Valley (3-0, 3-0) at Dixon (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Stillman 20-14 (2021 Week 4)

About the Cardinals: In a matchup between two of the three undefeated teams left in the Big Northern Conference, Stillman brings a physical ground attack headed by Porter Needs, Owen Zitkus and Jory Spain. Spain has five touchdowns in the last two games, and Needs ran for 178 yards and 3 TDs against Oregon last week. … The Cardinals have won three of the last four games in the series, losing by a point in the 2021 spring season. … Stillman holds a 95-20 scoring edge on the season, and set the tone with a 15-7 overtime win in Week 1 over defending 3A state champion Byron.

About the Dukes: Dixon will see its fourth different offense in as many games, as the Cardinals bring their traditional ground-and-pound attack into A.C. Bowers. Dixon saw passing offenses in various formations the first three weeks. … Aiden Wiseman had rushed for 406 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season, and has three 100-yard games. … Tyler Shaner has run for 239 yards and 5 TDs, and has thrown for 231 yards and 3 TDs. … Ethan Hays leads the Dukes with 9 catches for 119 yards and 2 TDs. … Dixon won the first four games against Stillman after joining the BNC in 2014, but has only won once since then – a 20-19 win in the 2021 spring season. … The Dukes have outscored their three opponents 112-28 this season.

FND pick: Stillman Valley

Rock Falls (0-3, 0-3) at Rockford Lutheran (1-2, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lutheran 14-8 (2021 Week 4)

About the Rockets: Rock Falls is still looking for its first win, after tough games the past two weeks against Stillman Valley and Winnebago. The Rockets haven’t had a winless season since 2015. … Ryan McCord led Rock Falls with 53 yards rushing last week, while Easton Canales and Korbin Oligney ran for touchdowns. Canales’ score was set up by a long run by Kohle Bradley. … The Rockets have been outscored 98-21 this season.

About the Crusaders: Lutheran boasts an athletic group of skill-position players, led by QB Kyng Hughes and RB A.J. Moore. … After an opening victory over still-winless North Boone (20-14), the Crusaders have lost to unbeaten Genoa-Kingston (42-20 in Week 2) and defending 3A state champion Byron (45-6 in Week 3). … Lutheran has won every game against Rock Falls since the Rockets joined the BNC in 2011, with an 8-0 record and a 377-153 scoring edge in that span.

FND pick: Rockford Lutheran

Winnebago (1-2, 1-2) at Oregon (1-2, 1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Winnebago 35-6 (2021 Week 4)

About the Indians: Winnebago picked up its first win of the season last week, defeating Rock Falls 45-14. … The Indians have won six straight games in this series, by a combined score of 218-103. … Logan Olson led ‘Bago with 113 yards and 2 TDs last week, while Supreme Muhammad scored twice and Brandon Wiggin also ran for a TD. … Alec Weaver connected on a 38-yard scoring strike with Andrew Penticoff, and the Indians defense also scored a safety last week. … ‘Bago has been outscored 91-72 this season.

About the Hawks: Oregon’s last win in the series came in 2014, a 26-20 victory. The Hawks have scored more than 26 points against ‘Bago just once since then. … Jack Washburn completed 12 passes for 134 yards last week in a loss to Stillman Valley, and Noah Reber ran for 79 yards and a touchdown. … Griffin Marlatt and Austin Egyed each had 3 catches last week, Marlatt for 58 yards and Egyed for 26. … Oregon has been outscored 83-26 this season.

FND pick: Winnebago


St. Bede (3-0, 1-0) at Newman (2-1, 0-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: St. Bede 13-7 (2021 Week 4)

About the Bruins: It’s been an exciting start to the season for St. Bede. It rode a strong passing attack of QB John Brady (23-34, 269 yards, 2 TDs) to a 34-20 win at home Friday over Kewanee and now sets its sights on a repeat win over Newman. With a win, the Bruins can become playoff eligible as they will pick up a forfeit win over Riverdale in Week 5. ... “We have a chance to beat Newman for the second straight year. How many other programs can say that?” SBA coach Jim Eustice said. “We were able to get one from them last year, and I’m sure they’re going to remember that. We’re going to their place. It’s a heck of an opportunity for us to try to get to 4-0 going into a bye week.” ... St. Bede started 3-0 in 2018 only to lose its next four and finish 4-5. The Bruins went 3-0 in the spring of 2021 before losing to Newman in heavy rain. The Bruins seek their first 4-0 start since 1997 when they finished 6-3, but did not make the playoffs. ... The Bruins avenged their lone loss of the 2021 spring season by beating the Comets 13-7 at the Academy last year. ... “It’s going to be a battle. They are very tough up front on both sides. They have improved every week and only will keep getting better,” Eustice said.

About the Comets: Newman is the under the direction of its third head coach in four years. Mike LeMay has taken over the Comets helm from Brandon Kreczmer, who left after two seasons to join the coaching staff at Western Illinois University. Kreczmer, who succeeded longtime coach Mike Papoocia in 2019, led the Comets to their sixth state championship in his first year. ... After falling big to Rockridge 33-8 in Week 2, the Comets bounced back to edge Orion on the road, 13-12. Special teams played a big part, as both Comet touchdowns came directly from punts. The Comets opened the scoring with Ayden Batten’s 63-yard punt return in the first quarter. Then, leading 7-6 early in the fourth quarter, a snap over the head of the Orion punter was recovered by Newman, and Carter Rude scored on a 1-yard run with 9:50 to play to stretch the lead to 13-6. ... Newman leads the all-time series 14-4.

FND pick: St. Bede

Bureau Valley (1-2, 0-1) at Kewanee (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Kewanee 49-21 (2021 Week 4)

About the Storm: Bureau Valley plays at Kewanee for the first time in nine years, dropping its only two contests in 2010 and 2013. BV last beat Kewanee at home in 2014 (43-6), with the series going idle until last year when BV was moved to the TRAC Mississippi (East). ... The Storm fell behind 49-8 last week in a 49-23 loss to Mendota. The Storm had a player other than Mason Goossens score for the first time this season. Goossens scored all five BV touchdowns in the first two games, but Bryce Helms and Beau Spencer ran for scores against Mendota. Goossens ran for 51 yards and a TD on 20 carries last week, and now has 244 yards and six TDs on 59 attempts this fall. … The Storm recorded two safeties against Mendota. … BV turned the ball over four times against Mendota, with two interceptions and two fumbles, including one returned for a touchdown. ... Bureau Valley rallied to beat Sherrard 20-14 for its lone win in Week 2.

About the Boilermakers: Kewanee is in a bit of rebuilding mode with the loss of standouts Niko Powe (RB) and Will Bruno (QB), but still returns seven starters. Junior Brady Clark has taken over for Bruno at quarterback along with his cornerback duties. ... Kewanee scored a season-high 20 points in last week’s 34-20 loss at St. Bede. Clark completed 19 of 29 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown last week, while running for 51 yards and a touchdown. … Jaiden Little caught six passes for 101 yards last week, while Devin Hamrick had three catches for 55 yards and a TD, and Cruz Paredes had four receptions for 38 yards and ran for a 1-yard TD. … The Boilermakers held St. Bede to 54 rushing yards, but allowed 269 passing yards. … Kewanee had three turnovers – two fumbles and an interception. ... Kewanee leads the all-time series 5-2 dating back to 1998, which Kewanee won 48-0.

FND pick: Kewanee


Hall (1-2) at Morrison (1-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hall 44-20 (2021 Week 4)

About the Red Devils: This week’s Three Rivers crossover sends the Red Devils to Morrison to face the Mustangs. The Red Devils look to rebound from last week’s 55-20 loss at Princeton, a game they trailed 55-8 before scoring on two late touchdown catches by Joseph Bacidore. ... ... Randy Tieman, who returns as Hall head coach after a two-year leave, said he doesn’t know much about Morrison since he hasn’t seen the Mustangs in three or four years. “We’ll get film and break it down and we’ll see where we’re at. We feel we can compete in conference this year. We feel our kids are going to grow,” he said. ... Hall beat Morrison 44-20 last year in Week 4 for its only win of the season.

About the Mustangs: The Mustangs are riding high with an 18-16 win at Monmouth-Roseville on Saturday, their first win of the season. Morrison’s last two games have been decided by two points each, including a 16-14 loss at Kewanee. Morrison fell 28-6 to Newman in its season opener. ... The all-time series since 2012 stands at tied 2-2.

FND pick: Hall

Erie-Prophetstown (2-1, 1-0) at Rockridge (2-1, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: E-P 50-48 (2021 Week 4)

About the Panthers: Prior to last year’s win over Rockridge, Erie-Prophetstown had lost its previous two to the Rockets, in 2017 & 2018 – before the Panthers moved from the Mississippi Division to the Rock Division. … E-P holds a 109-103 scoring edge after wins over Mendota (54-34 in Week 1) and Sherrard (35-28 last week) and a loss to St. Bede (41-20 in Week 2). … Jase Grunder ran for 214 yards and 3 TDs last week, while Tyler Ballard added 175 yards and 2 TDs. … On the season Grunder has more than 500 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, while Ballard has 4 TD runs and a TD reception.

About the Rockets: After a 41-22 loss to Princeton in Week 1, Rockridge rolled to a 33-8 win over Newman in Week 2 before picking up a forfeit from Riverdale last Friday night. … This is the Rockets’ first home game since Week 1. … Peyton Locke had a touchdown run and 2 TD catches against Newman in Week 2, and QB Jacob Payne threw 3 TD passes. … Rockridge has outscored its opponents 56-49 through two games.

FND pick: Rockridge


Eastland-Pearl City (0-3, 0-3) at Durand-Pecatonica (2-1, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Du-Pec 50-8 (2021 Week 4)

About the Wildcatz: EPC has been outscored 120-33 this season, having given up the second-most points in the NUIC and scored the second-fewest. … Carsen Heeren was 12-for-19 passing for 163 yards and a TD last week in a loss to Forreston, and he also ran for 41 yards and a score. Brady Sweitzer added 55 yards rushing and a TD. … The 21 points the ‘Catz scored against Forreston are the most this season, after 6-point games against Lena-Winslow and Stockton.

About the Rivermen: Du-Pec is led by RB AJ Mulcahy, who leads the NUIC in rushing through the first 3 weeks. … The Rivermen come in off a 31-22 loss to Fulton, their first league loss since a 24-21 defeat to Lena-Winslow in the final game of their 2021 spring season. … Du-Pec led 14-7 in the game, and got within 24-22 early in the fourth quarter, but gave up a short TD run then had a pass picked off in the final minute to seal the loss. … The Riverman haven’t lost two games in a row since starting the 2018 season on a five-game losing streak; they won three of their last four that year. … Du-Pec holds a 111-63 scoring edge this season.

FND pick: Du-Pec

Forreston (2-1, 2-1) at Dakota (2-1, 1-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Forreston 52-6 (2021 Week 4)

About the Cardinals: Forreston bounced back from a Week 2 loss to Du-Pec with a 34-20 win over Eastland-Pearl City last week. … Johnny Kobler has rushed for more than 100 yards in all three games this season, and leads the Cardinals with 366 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kaleb Sanders has 251 yards and 2 TDs on the ground through the first three games, including a 114-yard game against Du-Pec in Week 2. … Six different players have run for touchdowns this season for Forreston. … The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 104-71 this season.

About the Indians: Dakota scored 61 points in a win over Chicago Christ the King in Week 1, and had a two-touchdown win over Stockton last week, with a 48-24 loss to Lena-Winslow sandwiched in between. … The Indians have outscored opponents 119-84 this season. … Thomas Bowman and Adrian Arellano lead the rushing attack, and QB Kaidyn Niedermeier has thrown for more than 400 yards, including a pair of TD passes to Arellano and a 48-yard TD run last week. … Arellano caught those 2 TD passes and also ran for a 74-yard TD against Stockton. … The Indians racked up 406 yards of total offense last week.

FND pick: Forreston

Muskegon (Mich.) Catholic (1-2) at Fulton (3-0)

When: Noon Saturday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Crusaders: Muskegon Catholic won four straight Division 8 state championships from 2013-16 – it also took the title in 2008 – and more recently finished 12-2 with a loss in the regional round (the equivalent of Illinois’ quarterfinals) last season. … After opening the season with a 24-22 win over North Muskegon in Week 1, the Crusaders lost 20-14 to Oakridge in Week 2, and 28-20 to Benton Harbor last week. … Muskegon Catholic has made the Michigan state playoffs in 15 of the last 17 seasons. … Muskegon, located on the eastern bank of Lake Michigan, is about 325 miles from Fulton, a bus ride of more than five hours.

About the Steamers: Fulton has started 3-0 for the second time in three years; they went 4-1 in the 2021 spring season, losing their finale to Princeton. … The Steamers need only two more wins to reach playoff eligibility for the seventh time in eight seasons. … Fulton boasts a pair of 200-yard rushers in Lukas Schroeder (50 carries, 320 yards, 7 TDs) and Ryan Eads (43 carries, 278 yards, 3 TDs). Eads also has 6 catches for 54 yards and a score. … Baylen Damhoff leads the team with 11 receptions for 152 yards and 2 TDs. … Brayden Dykstra is 28-for-47 passing for 324 yards and 4 TDs. … Senior K Endi Qunaj is a perfect 17-for-17 in extra-point kicks, and he also has hit a pair of field goals.

FND pick: Fulton

Lena-Winslow (3-0, 3-0) at West Carroll (0-3, 0-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Le-Win 37-8 (2018 Week 1)

About the Panthers: Le-Win has dominated opponents this season, scoring the most points of any team in the NUIC (154) and allowing the least (30). … Jake Zeal, Gage Dunker and Ethan Fye – all starters on at least one side of the ball on last year’s 1A state championship team – lead the Panthers’ rushing attack, while transfer Gunar Lobdell is also in the mix at running back. Lobdell transferred from Orangeville after leading the Broncos to a state runner-up finish in eight-man football last season. … Le-Wn comes in off a 46-0 shutout of Galena last week.

About the Thunder: West Carroll has scored only six points in its first full season back in varsity football since 2019, and has also allowed the most points of any team in the NUIC with 165. The Thunder have been shut out the last two weeks. … AJ Boardman is the leading rusher and passer for West Carroll. … The Thunder come in off a 49-0 loss to Abingdon-Avon last Saturday. … Le-Win will be the fourth playoff team West Carroll has faced in a grueling gauntlet to start the season. Du-Pec and Abingdon-Avon both won their conference titles last year, Fulton tied for second in the NUIC, and Le-Win won the 1A state title.

FND pick: Le-Win


Polo (2-1) at Milledgeville (2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Polo 40-38 (2021 Week 1)

About the Marcos: Since a 28-12 loss to Amboy in Week 1, Polo has outscored Orangeville and St. Thomas More 86-8 the last two games. … The Marcos won last year’s game on a late two-point conversion, after rallying from behind in the fourth quarter. … Brock Soltow has run for 359 yards and 6 TDs, and he also caught a TD pass and threw a TD pass last week. … Avery Grenoble has rushed for 262 yards and 4 TDs, and Cayden Webster has thrown for 167 yards and a score; he also caught the TD pass from Soltow.

About the Missiles: Milledgeville won the final meeting against Polo in 11-man football, 26-8 in Week 2 of the 2018 season. … The Missiles led 36-26 in the fourth quarter last week, only to see Amboy rally for a 40-36 win. ... Milledgeville has special-teams touchdowns in all three games so far: Kacen Johnson has a kickoff return TD and three punt return scores, and Kolton Wilk returned a punt for a score in Week 2. … Connor Nye threw for 134 yards and 2 TDs last week, and ran for 2 more; Johnson had 111 yards receiving and both scores. … Nye has 5 TD runs and 5 TD passes on the season. … The Missiles have outscored their three opponents 148-72, with a 112-32 edge in their two wins.

FND pick: Polo

Milford-Cissna Park (3-0) at Amboy-LaMoille (3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: MCP 48-46 (2021 Week 5)

About the Bearcats: Milford has played just one team with a winning record (Farmer City Blue Ridge), winning 22-8 last week. The Bearcats led Blue Ridge 14-8 at halftime. ... The Bearcats have outscored opponents 125-44. ... Against Blue Ridge, Milford recovered an onside kick to start the game, which led to a touchdown and two-point conversion by Justin Tillman. … QB Sawyer Laffoon threw two TDs to Tillman, while Carter Borgers scored a TD as well.

About the Clippers: Another week, another strong challenge for Amboy. So far, the Clippers have navigated those tough waters, opening with a 28-12 win over eight-man football defending champ Polo and then beating undefeated Milledgeville 40-36 last week. Brennan Blaine caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Lindenmeyer, who ran 32 yards for the winning score with 2:23 left. Lindenmeyer completed 10 of 17 passes for 225 yards and three TDs, with Blaine recording 116 receiving yards and two scores. Lindenmeyer has completed 7 of 17 attempts for 437 yards and seven TDs on the year.

FND pick: Amboy

Note: Coming off its first win in five years last Friday, AFC picked up a forfeit win Thursday, as Parkview Christian was unable to field a team.