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TAKE 2: Can Spartans, Knights make it to Week 8 unbeaten?

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 8:09 a.m. CDT
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Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss the likelihood of Sycamore and Kaneland being undefeated heading into their Week 8 tilt in Sycamore.

Jacobson: Steve, it was a hectic and wild first week of high school football that got started about 24 hours later than originally planned. But after the rain and lightning storms subsided Friday night, our teams finally hit the field, four of them Saturday.

Two of the teams that posted wins were Sycamore and Kaneland, both ranked in the top five of The Associated Press’ Class 5A poll. Kaneland topped Brooks while Sycamore defeated then-No. 10 Lincoln-Way West. 

These two are considered the best teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East and will meet in Week 8 of the regular season. What are the chances both of them are undefeated when the Knights visit Sycamore on Oct. 18? 

Nitz: Very interesting question. I certainly agree the Knights and Spartans are the two top teams in the conference. As for them both be unbeaten? How about a 25 percent chance? Kaneland has gone undefeated in league play the past three seasons, so I’m not going to be shocked if the Knights head into Oct. 18 at 7-0, although the next two weeks against Immaculate Conception and Sterling could be interesting.

I like this Sycamore team, and it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if the Spartans were to win their first seven games. However, I still can see them slipping up against either DeKalb, Geneseo, Morris or Rochelle. 

Jacobson: I’m more optimistic and I’ll put the odds at 50 percent. Until Kaneland actually loses a game, I won’t pick against them. Morris – Kaneland is always a great game, but that matchup happens in the final week of the regular season. 

I believe Sycamore already played and won its toughest matchup of the first seven weeks, having to go on the road to Lincoln-Way West. The only thing that concerns me is the Spartans getting only two true home games in the next six weeks. 

What’s the one matchup for each team that you point to as a potential loss?

Nitz: With Kaneland, I’m looking at the Knights’ Week 3 game at Sterling. The Golden Warriors are a perennial playoff team, and the game will be played away from Maple Park. 

For Sycamore, the game that jumps out is the Spartans’ Week 6 visit down Route 47 in Morris. Sure, the Redskins lost a lot of players from last year’s Class 5A state runner-up and fell to Minooka in their season opener. However, it’s still Morris. To the people down there, going 6-3 is almost considered a disappointment. Morris still should be a good team this year, and it never is an easy place to win at.

Jacobson: Both certainly are tough matchups, especially on the road. I’ll keep the same theme in picking games away from their home stadiums, and in this case, it’s the same opponent: DeKalb. Sycamore plays the Barbs at Huskie Stadium in Week 3 while Kaneland travels to DeKalb in Week 6. 

Although the Barbs haven’t had much success against either team in recent years, they now run a triple-option offense that can shorten games and control the clock while keeping opposing offenses off the field. That’s one of the keys to any upset.

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