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The INSIDER: Boys Soccer

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST

SPOTLIGHT ON ...

Devon Tijerina
Genoa-Kingston, senior, forward
The Cogs’ senior scored three goals and had an assist in wins over Indian Creek and Rockford Christian. Tijerina is a part of a versatile G-K offense, which has the Cogs off to a fast start.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Hiawatha at Hinckley-Big Rock, 6:30 p.m. today The Hawks are the defending Little Ten Conference champions, but the Royals are the one of the most in-form teams in the area right now.

Rochelle at Kaneland, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday Two of the teams that battled DeKalb for the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference title last season likely will be near the top again this year.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Kaneland (4-1-2): The Knights coasted to an easy win over IMSA last week. 2. Hinckley-Big Rock (9-2, 2-1 Little Ten): A big matchup against Hiawatha looms Wednesday when the Royals play their 1,000th game in program history. 3. Genoa-Kingston (7-2, 2-1 Big Northern): The Cogs scored 10 goals in wins over Indian Creek and Rockford Christian. 4. Hiawatha (2-1): The Hawks, the defending conference champs, will have their biggest test of the young season when they play H-BR. 5. DeKalb (2-1-3): The Barbs tied a strong Geneva team, 1-1, on Saturday. 6. Indian Creek (4-4): It was a tough week for the T’wolves, who lost to Genoa-Kingston and Earlville/Leland. 7. Sycamore (1-5): This young group might have a tough time as the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference begins this week.

NOTEBOOK: DeKalb has luxury in goal

Having two competent senior goalkeepers is a luxury for DeKalb coach Brent McIntosh, but it also makes his job more complicated.

McIntosh is confident in both Cully Hicks and Matt Allen in net, so he’s decided to play them both. On Saturday, Allen played at Geneva and Hicks, last year’s starter, was scheduled to play Tuesday against Kaneland.

“We’ve tried to get both of the kids in the net to satisfy both of them with their playing time. As we get to the end of the season, Cully will start to see more of the time in the net. But we have a lot of confidence in both keepers.”

Hicks is also one of the Barbs’ best forwards, so McIntosh can start him up top if he needs some extra offensive firepower.

McIntosh hasn’t yet switched goalkeepers for the sole purpose of putting Hicks up top, but that strategy is not out of the question.

“I’ve thought about it,” McIntosh said. “But we also have other forwards that we have a lot of confidence in. At this point in time, I don’t know if we’d make that switch, but it would definitely be something I’d consider.”

Royals celebrate 1,000

Today’s game against Hiawatha will be a special one for Hinckley-Big Rock.

The history-steeped program will play its 1,000th game in program history. Many alumni are expected to return for the game for festivities, which will be at 5:45 p.m., and commemorative T-shirts will be sold.

VIEWS: H-BR’s 1,000th game against LTC champs

In its first season as a varsity soccer team, Hiawatha dismantled Hinckley-Big Rock on the Royals’ home turf last season.

H-BR, a traditional soccer power, lost, 7-1, on a rain-soaked evening as Hiawatha made its run to the Little Ten Conference championship.

On Wednesday, the two teams will face off in H-BR’s 1,000th game, in one of the biggest area matchups this season.

This game will be a litmus test for both sides.

Hiawatha is a known quantity now. Last year, the Hawks rolled over a surprised Royals team.  This year, the Hawks expect to be one of the top Class 1A teams in the state. On Wednesday, we’ll see if they can perform on a big stage with expectations.

H-BR has been a different team since that rainy day last season.

The Royals advanced to the super-sectionals and brought back a strong core of veterans, including goal-scoring machine Bernie Conley.

Making it to the state finals isn’t out of the question for the Royals, but Hiawatha is still the defending LTC champion.

Today, we’ll see which team has improved more.

• Anthony Zilis is a contributor for the Daily Chronicle. Write to him at sports@daily-chronicle.com.

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