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Week 5 Prep Football Preview Capsules

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KANELAND (4-0) at ROCHELLE (4-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. today

Last meeting: Kaneland 20, Rochelle 14, in the 2011 Class 5A quarterfinals

Directions: Take IL-38 west for 25 miles, heading into Rochelle. Make a right on North 7th Street/IL-251, followed by a left on Flagg Road. School is on the right.

Scouting the Hubs: The Hubs like to run, run and run some more, lining up in the Wing-T and pounding the ball. Last week, the Hubs ran for 467 yards in a 47-21 win against Sterling. Rochelle quarterback Angel Burciaga attempted only one pass.

Keys to victory: Kaneland just needs to keep doing what it has been doing. The Knights’ defense has been unyeilding the past couple weeks, pitching two straight shutouts.

Kaneland has averaged 40 points a game thanks to Drew David’s passing ability, Jesse Balluff’s running attack and Zach Martinelli coming up with big catches. The Knights are a better team, and if they play up to their capabilities, they’ll improve to 5-0.

– Steve Nitz,


Game time: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: Burlington Central 33, Genoa-Kingston 0, in Week 6 of 2011 season

Directions: Take IL-72 east for about 8 miles before making a right on Walker Road. Continue on to Burlington Road before making a left on Plato Road, where the school will be on your right.

Scouting the Rockets: Burlington Central had no problem with G-K last season on its way to a Class 5A playoff appearance. However, this year’s Rockets squad doesn’t feature Northern Illinois commit Joel Bouagnon, who rushed for more 1,400 yards last season, but transferred to Aurora Christian.

The Rockets are a running team, featuring option, play-action and screen plays. In last week’s win against Harvard, backup quarterback Ryan Majewski started for Ryan Ritchie and went 10 for 12 for 116 yards.

Keys to victory: In G-K’s two losses, the Cogs have hurt themselves with turnovers and penalties. The past two weeks, G-K hasn’t turned the ball over, a key for a team that features a ball-control offense.

G-K and Burlington Central are tied for first place in the BNC East, so this game will go a long way in determining the conference champion.

– Steve Nitz,


Game time: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: North Shore 63, Hiawatha 0, in Week 5 of the 2011 season

Scouting the Raiders: A homecoming win for the Hawks, in what has become an edgy rivalry, hinges on stopping North Shore dual-threat quarterback Elias Butler. The Raiders’ playmaker operates behind a big offensive line in the Wing-T and spread formations.

The Raiders line up in a hybrid 5-2 defense and also show a four-man front at times.

“Their defense will show what is coming,” Hiawatha coach Sean Donnelly said. “It’s just a matter of picking it up.”

North Shore needs to win to stay a game behind undefeated Moosheart and Marquette in the NAC.

Keys to victory: Revenge for being throttled in Winnetka last season will be on the Hawks’ minds, but it won’t come easy. The Hiawatha offense has to put points on the board and take advantage of big plays when possible.

Last week, Hiawatha unveiled a four-receiver set in the second half of a 14-12 loss at Rockford Christian Life. Expect Hawks’ quarterback Mike Mercado to see more time in the spread this week with newfound confidence in the passing game.

“Our offensive line was great in pass blocking last week,” Donnelly said. “We threw 27 passes and had no sacks. We had a few drops and a few overthrows that we’ve got to convert and turn into big plays this week.”

– James Nokes,

STREATOR (0-4) at DEKALB (0-4)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: DeKalb 26, Streator 19, in 1962

Scouting the Bulldogs: For the third time in four years, Streator lost its starting quarterback for the season in Week 1, and the Bulldogs have struggled since. The Bulldogs have been shut out twice in four games and the only time they came within 35 points was a 15-14 loss to Limestone. In a 41-0 loss to Kaneland last week, Streator allowed 224 rushing yards.

Keys to victory: The Barbs are in need of confidence, and they should get that tonight. Turnovers have hurt the Barbs in recent weeks, but quarterback Jack Sauter hasn’t thrown an interception in the past two games as the Barbs have focused on the run. Sauter hasn’t thrown for more than 156 yards this season, but if coach Todd Hallaron ever wants to let the junior air it out, this might be the week to do it.

Costly errors on both sides of the ball have hurt the Barbs during their first four games, and those issues have been different each game. This DeKalb team is a tough one to pin down, with talent all over the field, but the Barbs should have a better shot against a weaker Streator team.

– Antony Zilis,


Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: First ever meeting

Scouting the Pirates: Sycamore likely got a good look at what to expect from Ottawa after the Pirates defeated DeKalb, 38-17, in Week 4. Running back Miguel Hermosillo, who is committed to Illinois, leads a strong running game for Ottawa. He had 158 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the second half, against DeKalb.

Ottawa only attempted five passes against DeKalb, so Sycamore’s defensive line will be tested consistently for the second week in a row.

Keys to victory: Just like the past two weeks against DeKalb and Geneseo, Sycamore’s run defense will have be stout on first and second downs. The Spartans have had decent success against the run, but have shown some vulnerability in giving up big plays at times.

Offensively, Sycamore needs to continue to show good balance. Devin Mottet and Ben Niemann form a potent passing combination and Austin Culton seems to be getting more comfortable behind a young offensive line that is improving each week.

Sycamore should come out ready to go in its first home game since Week 1.

– Ross Jacobson,

Chronicle Staff Picks

Kaneland at Rochelle

Pick: Kaneland, 5-0

Genoa-Kingston at Burlington Central

Pick: Burlington Central, 5-0

North Shore County Day at Hiawatha

Pick: North Shore Country Day, 5-0

Streator at DeKalb

Pick: DeKalb, 5-0

Ottawa at Sycamore

Pick: Sycamore, 4-1

Last Week: 4-1

Season: 11-8

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