Illinois High School Football News

Sycamore facing undefeated team for second straight week with trip to Rochelle

Ottawa's Dillan Quatrano brings down Sycamore's Elijah Meier during their game Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, at Sycamore High School.

SYCAMORE – For the second week in a row, the Sycamore football team is set to take on an undefeated team.

After dispatching Ottawa 54-20 last week, the Spartans head to Rochelle on Friday to face the Hubs in a Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 crossover game.

“It’s not as much about the record as how you play on Friday,” linebacker Ethan Bode said. “Coach [Joe] Ryan likes to say they haven’t seen a team like us yet. We just focus on getting better week by week and showing up on Friday. It doesn’t matter the record, we’re going to play our best.”

The Sycamore offense struck fast last week against the Pirates with 13 points in barely more than two minutes. Joey Puleo had the first of his two touchdown receptions early on in the win as Sycamore built a 33-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Spartans have been using everything from a wing-T to an empty backfield again this year, and Puleo said it’s all been working.

“Anything we call has really been working,” Puleo said. “We can go from our wing stuff to our spread stuff, and it’s all working just as well.”

Eli Meier hit all nine of his passes, and Puleo, Tyler Curtis and Zack Crawford have combined for a balanced rushing attack for the Spartans (4-0).

Garrett Gensler has handled the rushing load for the Hubs (4-0), averaging almost 200 yards per game and scoring 12 times.

Bode said he’s been happy with the Spartans’ defense this year.

“Holding teams to few rushing yards weeks after they’ve gone for 300 looks pretty good,” Bode said. “Our secondary has done great this year forcing teams to run, then when we stop the run, they can’t pass. Obviously, we’d like to get a couple more shutouts, but other than that, just solid defensively so far this year.”

The defensive effort last week came without all-state player Lincoln Cooley. Ryan said he’s been happy with the defense this year, too, but said there’s still room to build.

He said the Spartans are ready to go against their second undefeated team in as many weeks.

“This group is so competitive, I don’t think it matters the record. They just love playing the game,” Ryan said. “It’s another opportunity for them to play the game. We’re going on the road to a 4-0 team that’s been putting up a lot of points. We have to play well, but they’re very competitive and enjoy playing the game of football. It’s not who we’re playing, it’s just that we are playing. That’s what they love to do.”

Puleo, who also plays linebacker, said the team is ready.

“All we can do is play hard, play fast and be the last remaining undefeated team in our conference,” Puleo said.