July 22, 2024
Schools | Friday Night Drive

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Schools | Friday Night Drive

Suburban Life area preview capsules for Week 4

Lyon's Travis Stamm (2) celebrates a touchdown that was called back due to a penalty during football game between Hinsdale Central at Lyons.  Sept 8, 2023.

West Suburban Silver

Lyons Township (2-1, 1-0) at Glenbard West (1-2, 0-1)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 28, Lyons 20 (2022)

About the Lions: Lyons, like Downers Grove North last Saturday, has a golden opportunity to get a rare win against a beat-up Glenbard West team and make a name for itself state-wide. The Lions seemed to find their oats offensively in last Friday’s 42-17 win over Hinsdale Central. Dual-threat senior QB Ryan Jackson threw for three TDs to Travis Stamm and also had a number of key running plays. Danny Carroll rushed for 156 yards and a TD and Jack McQueeney also added a score. Lyons’ last win against Glenbard West came in 2016.

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West has dropped two in a row, 31-7 last Saturday to Downers Grove North, but the concerns run deeper than the scoreboard. The Hilltoppers are down nine starters, including standout running back Julius Ellens, out since the second quarter of Week 1. That attrition, and inexperience, has led to serious struggles offensively – Teyion Oriental’s TD run late in the fourth quarter last Saturday was Glenbard West’s first offensive points of the season. Oriental is one of a number of backs getting touches in an offense searching to find itself. That puts a lot of pressure on the Glenbard West defense, led by middle linebacker Ben Starmann.

FND Pick: Lyons

Proviso West (0-3, 0-1) at Downers Grove North (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Downers Grove North 49, Proviso West 0 (2022)

About the Panthers: Proviso West is coming off a 33-14 loss to Oak Park-River Forest. The Panthers managed to string together three wins last season, small progress, but had just one returning starter and 35 players in the program at all levels combined.

About the Trojans: Downers Grove North certainly opened some eyes last Saturday – not just by beating Glenbard West for the first time since 2006, but in the impressive manner of a 31-7 win. Noah Battle has been the Trojans’ workhorse, with 30 carries for 198 yards and three TDs last week, nine TDs total on the season while also playing defense. Jameson Ordway’s pick six was one of three turnovers forced last week by the Downers Grove North defense that’s been quite stingy the last two games. The Trojans don’t seem to be putting too much on the plate yet of sophomore QB Owen Lansu, but he’s been a poised presence behind center.

FND Pick: Downers Grove North

Oak Park-River Forest (1-2, 1-0) at York (3-0, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: York 34, Oak Park-River Forest 8 (2022)

About the Huskies: Oak Park-River Forest got a much-needed 33-14 win over Proviso West last week, but the schedule ahead if a bear – York, Downers Grove North, Lyons and Willowbrook the next four weeks. The Huskies have just five players back with any varsity experience from last year’s 4-5 team. Defensive back/running back Khalil Nichols is a man to watch. OPRF has played both junior Owen Watson and sophomore Johnny Nelson at QB.

About the Dukes: The York express continues to roll on. Jake Melion rushed for 165 yards and two TDs and Luke Mailander caught two TDs in last Friday’s 47-7 win over Downers Grove South, the Dukes’ 14th straight in the regular season. Joey Maucieri had 10 tackles and two QB pressures while Gavin Honken is anchoring an offensive line that’s led the way for a combined 506 rushing yards the last two weeks.

FND Pick: York

West Suburban Gold

Willowbrook (2-1, 1-0) at Downers Grove South (0-3, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Downers Grove South 28, Willowbrook 13 (2022)

About the Warriors: Willowbrook comes into this one fresh off a resounding 42-0 win over district rival Addison Trail, its second straight win. Arthur Palicki ran for three TDs and threw for two more. KJ Rhodes had seven catches for 222 yards and two TDs, and was key on defense with tackles and pass break ups. Downers Grove South snapped Willowbrook’s 29-game winning streak in the Gold last season, a memory surely not lost on a Warriors’ team that has a ton of players back this year.

About the Mustangs: Downers Grove South has taken its licks during a brutal early schedule – and now hopes history repeats itself. The Mustangs likewise started 0-3 last year, but a win over Willowbrook sparked a six-game winning streak. It was Downers Grove South’s first win over Willowbrook since 2015. Will Potter completed 12-of-21 passes for 56 yards in last Friday’s 47-7 loss to York, but the Mustangs really need to reestablish Deon Davis and its running game.

FND Pick: Willowbrook

Addison Trail (2-1, 0-1) at Hinsdale South (1-2, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale South 42, Addison Trail 14 (2022)

About the Blazers: Addison Trail, after two wins to start the season, got a bit of a come back to earth moment with its 42-0 loss to Willowbrook. While Willowbrook is clearly one of the top dogs in the Gold, the Blazers should start to find out here how far up or down they are in the pecking order.

About the Hornets: Hinsdale South, after two losses to start the year, found a spark last Thursday in a 28-0 win over Leyden with two juniors. Mikey Jefferson ran for 174 yards and two TDs and Langston Love was 15-for-18 with two TDs for the Hornets. Nate Fundator is the Hornets’ other player to watch.

FND Pick: Hinsdale South

DuKane Conference

Wheaton North (2-1, 1-0) at St. Charles East (1-2, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton North 36, St. Charles East 20 (2022)

About the Falcons: Wheaton North certainly established itself as a strong contender in the DuKane with its 35-23 win over defending champ St. Charles North in the conference opener. The Falcons scored two TDs in the fourth quarter to break away from a 21-21 tie. Max Howser was 15 of 19 for 224 passing yards with the go-ahead TD run. Rich Schilling had six catches for 114 yards, Matt Kuczaj had five catches for 50 yards and an interception to set up the second fourth-quarter TD and Joe Barna had a sack to start the big final quarter.

About the Saints: St. Charles East, 1-18 in the DuKane the last three games, served notice that it may not be a pushover this year with its 14-0 win over Glenbard North last Friday. Bodey McCaslin, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior offensive tackle committed to Iowa, is one of the state’s top prospects in the Class of 2024 and continues the Saints’ recent pedigree of producing D1 offensive lineman.

FND Pick: Wheaton North

Glenbard North (0-3, 0-1) at Wheaton Warrenville South (1-2, 0-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard North 14, Wheaton Warrenville South 10 (2022)

About the Panthers: Glenbard North, consistently a playoff team or at least a contender with just four losing seasons since 1999, has dug itself a hole early with an 0-3 start and plenty of tough opponents ahead. The Panthers are light on returning experience from last year’s group that just missed the playoffs. Lucas Kramer had two TD runs in a loss to Willowbrook two weeks ago.

About the Tigers: WW South, like Glenbard North, needs to bounce back from a tough conference opener, a 28-6 loss to Geneva last week. Putting up points has been an issue for the Tigers, win or lose. WW South has scored a total of 18 points in three games. Two Maison Haas’ field goals accounted for WW South’s lone offense last week. The Tigers were outgained 333-148. WW South and Glenbard South have played plenty of close ones in a series going back to their DuPage Valley Conference days. It wouldn’t surprise if this one had a similar fate.

FND Pick: Wheaton Warrenville South

CCL/ESCC Orange

Nazareth (0-3, 0-0) at IC Catholic Prep (3-0, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Roadrunners: The defending Class 5A champions have already put that title defense in serious jeopardy by falling in their first three games of the season. In each contest this season it has seemingly taken awhile to find its groove but a fierce second half rally that eventually fell short against Montini shows how dangerous this team can be when right. QB Logan Malachuk had over 300 yards of combined offense last week and is capable of going off at any time.

About the Knights: One of the bigger questions for IC Catholic heading into the season was how successfully the Class 3A State Champions would replace an almost entirely graduated offensive line. They seem to have figured out a way to carry on though as RB Joey Gliatta has been enjoying plenty of room to maneuver through the first three games of the season including a 100-yard plus effort with three touchdowns against Benet in Week 3 and Aaron Harvey gives the Knights a potent 1-2 punch in the backfield.

FND Pick: IC Catholic Prep

St. Francis (2-1, 0-0) at Fenwick (2-1, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Spartans: St. Francis certainly hasn’t had any trouble on offense this season as QB Alessio Milivojevic, a Ball State recruit, has been posting eye-popping numbers all season. The Spartans have had a bit of trouble hemming in opponents this season, having surrendered an average of four touchdowns to opponents thus far this season.

About the Friars: Fenwick fought Providence tooth and nail in Week 3, but miscues at the wrong time, including a key fourth quarter fumble cost the Friars dearly in a 21-9. The Friars defense did do a tremendous job in the loss however as Providence only mustered one offensive touchdown against a Fenwick defensive front that is led aptly by defensive end Nate Marshall.

FND Pick: St. Francis

CCL/ESCC White

Benet (2-1, 0-0) at Montini (3-0, 0-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Montini 43, Benet 6 (2009)

About the Redwings: An impressive 2-0 start for the Redwings was squelched rather abruptly by a loss to IC Catholic in the Week 3, but there’s enough here to believe Benet can regroup from that misstep. The combination of QB Ryan Kubacki and WR Pat Pitello has proven to be potent in other games this season and Benet will look to that duo to get them back on track more in line with its wins over Moline and Oak Forest to start the season

About the Broncos: It was a rather theatrical win for the Broncos last week, but more importantly it was a win which lifted Montini to 3-0 for the first time since 2018. A blocked punt seemed to put a Week 3 win over Nazareth in jeopardy, but the Broncos followed that by blocking a potential game-winning field goal on the next play. A win here would put Montini in great position to get themselves back in the playoff discussion, likely as a Class 3A team. Montini hasn’t made the field since 2019.

FND Pick: Montini

South Suburban Blue Conference

Lemont (1-2, 1-0) at Tinley Park (2-1, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Lemont 44, Tinley Park 6 (2022)

About Lemont: After a pair of tough nonconference losses to Geneva and Libertyville, things got back to normal for Lemont once it entered South Suburban Conference play. It is a league Lemont has been dominant in for well over a decade and if the ease in which it rolled past T.F. South in its league opener.

About the Titans: Tinley Park experienced an absolutely brutal 2022 season. But that sour taste in the Titans mouth from last year has been converted into a much more competitive product this season. The Titans have already collected a pair of wins on the season (they had none in 2022) and played a much more competitive game with Hillcrest than it had in years in Week 3 before falling 20-7.

Friday Night Drive Pick: Lemont

Southland Conference

Riverside-Brookfield (3-0, 1-0) at Kankakee (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Bulldogs: Very quietly Riverside-Brookfield has had a sensational start to the season as it started its first and only run through the Southland Conference (R-B will join the Upstate Eight in 2024) with a 41-0 thumping of Bloom in Week 3. This game will be a dramatic step up in the level of competition for the Bulldogs, but with experienced QB Diego Guttierrez under center maybe the Bulldogs can throw a few surprises at the highly touted Kays.

About the Kays: Kankakee was elevated to the No. 1 spot in the Class 6A poll in the Associated Press poll this week and its easy to see how the Kays are making that case. A week after winning a defensive struggle over a solid Washington team, Kankakee erupted for 81 points in a win over Thornridge in Week 3. Kankakee’s offense is a home run ball waiting to happen most possessions with speedy RB Tony Phillips in the backfield while the defensive unit is particularly bothersome to opponents especially against the past. Kankakee also has Georgia recruit OL Marques Easley anchoring its offensive line.

FND Pick: Kankakee

Chicagoland Christian Conference

Hope Academy (2-1, 0-1) at Wheaton Academy (3-0, 1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Eagles: Hope Academy will be trying to bounce back from last weekend’s tough 27-22 loss to Aurora Christian in its Chicagoland Christian Conference debut. Eddie Jenkins, Jr. has thrown 5 touchdown passes, while Jamarkus Lofton averages 109 yards receiving and Jerome Stuckey averages 69 yards on the ground. “The big question we have against Hope is which team will show up against us Friday night,” said Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik. “They had different personnel in their victory against Santa Fe Christian than they did in their loss to Aurora Christian. We’re assuming they’ll be at full strength against us, and it’s going to be a battle. They’re very good.”

About the Warriors: The Warriors appear to be very good as well. Brett Kasper completed 13 of 17 passes for 171 yards and 4 touchdowns in their 35-0 victory over Chicago Christian last weekend. Kasper’s TD passes were thrown to 4 different receivers – Brett Dieter, Mitchell Carik, Jack Weston, and Giovanni Spinelli, who also added a TD run. Meanwhile, the defense forced 3 turnovers and limited Chicago Christian to 123 total yards. “Our offense performed well against Chicago Christian and the defense preserved a shutout,” said Johanik. After playing 3 straight road games, the Warriors await their home opener. “After being on the road for 3 games and coming away 3-0, we’re pleased,” said the coach. “We’re healthy and looking forward to playing a tough opponent before our home crowd.”

FND Pick: Wheaton Academy

Upstate Eight

East Aurora (2-1, 2-1) at Glenbard East (2-1, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard East 42, East Aurora 0, last year

About the Tomcats: Keep an eye on multi-purpose threat Kenneth Cooley. You’ll likely see his number called and hear his name on the PA system throughout the night. Cooley, who scored 3 touchdowns in a 28-0 win over Elgin 2 weeks ago, tallied 4 touchdowns in last weekend’s 42-36 victory over Bartlett. Cooley scored touchdowns on his first 4 touches against the Hawks, totaling 259 all-purpose yards. “Our defensive staff, led by Pat Walker, is outstanding at preparing our young men defensively,” said Rams coach John Walters. “We have some speed of our own to hopefully simulate what they have, so our guys can get used to that pace.” Quarterback Amado Martinez is also capable of making things happen for the Tomcats.

About the Rams: Last week, Glenbard East jumped out to a 41-0 halftime lead on the way to its 47-6 triumph over West Chicago. Only a late 66-yard TD pass prevented the Rams from posting a shutout. Senior outside linebacker Aaron Dotson recorded a pick-6 for the Rams last week. Dotson is flanked by linebackers Augustus Winkler, Blake Salvino, and defensive back Eric McClain. Walters hopes his team can continue its solid all-around play from a week ago. “Our execution – we were solid on both sides of the ball,” said Walters. “The one thing coaches emphasize is executing in game situations. We were able to do that a high level last Friday night.”

FND Pick: Glenbard East

Streamwood (1-2, 1-2) at Glenbard South (3-0, 3-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Glenbard South 49, Streamwood 20, last year

About the Sabres: Interceptions from senior Oscar Villapando and sophomores Elijah Brown and Anthony Richards were instrumental in the Sabres’ 20-12 victory over Elgin last weekend. “We definitely needed that win,” said Streamwood coach Keith McMaster. “We’ve been close in all three games, but it felt good to finish that one against a solid opponent.” Brown added a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown against Elgin. “Our special teams have been good this season returning the ball,” said the coach. “We have a kickoff return for a TD (vs. Bartlett) and the punt return. Our punting has helped flip the field for us. We put a lot of time into our special teams and the kids have bought in with what we’re teaching. A touchdown on special teams helps to reinforce their efforts. We’ll take points any way we can get them.” McMaster realizes the task at hand will be a tough one Friday night. “Glenbard South is an exceptional team,” he said. “They are well coached and team execution is on point. They have some special players that put teams in tough situations. We need to stay disciplined in our gameplan, eliminate mistakes and do the little things – block, tackle, pursuit.”

About the Raiders: Loaded with talent, the Raiders are off to a 3-0 start and are averaging 49 points per game. Heading the top of the list is Notre Dame-bound receiver/defensive back/return man Cam Williams, who caught 7 passes for 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also rushing for a TD and making an interception during Glenbard South’s 35-0 win over Larkin last weekend. The Raiders collected 6 interceptions against the Royals. Senior veteran Michael Champagne directs the Raiders’ offense at quarterback.

FND Pick: Glenbard South

Chicagoland Prairie Conference

Westmont (1-2, 0-1) at Ottawa Marquette (2-1, 1-0)

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting

About the Sentinels: Numerous injuries kept a depleted Westmont team from playing last weekend, forcing a 2-0 forfeit loss to unbeaten Seneca. “We will have enough players to play this week,” said Sentinels coach Lee Maciejewski. “The boys who were injured responded well to their rehab. We hope to be near full strength. Although it was difficult to practice without most of our skill players, we responded well and look forward to a good week of practice this week.”

About the Crusaders: After losing their opener, 42-0, to Aurora Christian, the Crusaders have regrouped with back-to-back victories over Madison (55-6) and Elmwood Park (49-0).

FND Pick: Ottawa Marquette

Nonconference

Hinsdale Central (0-3) at Morton (1-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 48, Morton 10 (2019)

About the Red Devils: An 0-3 record is a very uncharacteristic place for Hinsdale Central to find itself through the first third of the season, but the Red Devils haven’t exactly played slouches out of the gate either with its three opponents (Naperville Central, Bolingbrook and Lyons) combining for a 7-2 record. QB RIley Contreras has plenty of experience and is capable but is still in the process of meshing with a number of sophomores pressed into critical roles for the Red Devils.

About the Mustangs: Morton broke through for a win last week nipping Proviso East 37-34 in Week 3, but generally the Mustangs have struggled keeping opponents off the scoreboard, surrendering 117 points through their first three games.

FND Pick: Hinsdale Central

Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.