Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz cover the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, Nitz and Jacobson review Week 1 of the high school football season and discuss which team most needs a win this weekend.
Jacobson: Steve, Week 1 of the high school football season certainly was a great way to start the season. Of the five local games, four were decided by nine points or less. Sycamore and Kaneland earned season-opening wins in the fourth quarter while Genoa-Kingston and DeKalb each lost tough contests at home.
Everyone tends to overreact after just one game, but there still are some things to learn from what we saw on the opening weekend. How much stock do you put into these first games? Are Kaneland’s struggles a sign of things to come or will it be a good wake-up call for the Knights?
Nitz: You can only put so much stock into Week 1 contests. It usually takes three or four weeks for the contenders to separate themselves.
As for Kaneland, it’s pretty simple: I think the Knights took Chicago Brooks lightly. Kaneland was lucky to escape with a win, although I still think the Knights are going to head into their Week 9 contest against Morris unbeaten. While I believe Kaneland sleep-walked through part of that game, let’s give Brooks some credit, as well. That was a playoff team last year.
I think DeKalb and Genoa-Kingston really cost themselves in Week 1. Both teams play in extremely tough conferences and lost winnable nonconference games.
Ross, which school had the toughest loss last week?
Jacobson: In my mind it has to be G-K. A one-point loss to St. Edward while committing four turnovers would have me wondering “what if” for a while.
Alas, there is very little downtime in high school football. No bye weeks, no rest periods. It’s on to the next Friday night. With that said, G-K gets another home game, this time against Rockford Lutheran. The last matchup between these two teams saw G-K blow out Lutheran, 48-14, in 2010.
But the circumstances are different this time around. G-K was a playoff team two seasons ago while the current Cogs have lost nine of their past 10 games dating to last year. Rockford Lutheran comes in at 1-0 after throttling Walter Lutheran, 71-34, on the road in Week 1.
Steve, can G-K come away with a win this time around? And are they the area team most in need of a victory in Week 2?
Nitz: To me this is a must-win game for G-K. Look at the Cogs’ next three games after this week. They get defending Class 4A runner-up Richmond-Burton in Week 3, followed by a consistently good Rockford Christian program. In Week 5, G-K visits a Burlington Central team that made the playoffs last year.
I fully expect the Cogs to win tonight. Rockford Lutheran has averaged only one win a year over the past six seasons.
Another team that I think really cost itself in Week 1 was DeKalb. How badly do the Barbs need a win?
Jacobson: After the Barbs’ season-opening loss, there’s probably a greater sense of urgency in DeKalb. Looking at their schedule, they will only have two true home games after this week’s game against Hampshire, so they need to take advantage of another winnable game.
A record of 0-2 isn’t the absolute end of the world. Maine South lost its first two games in 2010 and then rallied to win the Class 8A state title. Of course, they were also the two-time defending state champs.
It still is early in the season, but it ain’t that early. Week 2 should start to give us a clearer picture of what teams might be for real and what teams could be watching from the stands in late October.