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 annual Week 3 matchup between DeKalb and Sycamore at Huskie Stadium.
Jacobson: Steve, there’s a huge matchup between Kaneland and Sterling, a pair of 2-0 teams, tonight, but I think we’re going to talk Sycamore-DeKalb.
A year ago we didn’t really know what to make of either team entering the annual Week 3 matchup. DeKalb was 0-2 with an interim head coach while Sycamore was a young team that had managed to win both of its first two games.
It’s safe to say that both squads are improved from last season, but what are your biggest story lines heading into the annual rivalry game?
Nitz: Two things immediately jump out to me. First of all, DeKalb needs to get off to a good start. The Barbs have had slow first quarters in each of their first two games. If DeKalb falls into an early deficit against Sycamore, the Spartans may very well just bury them.
Second, you could argue that the Barbs will have the best player on the field in running back Dre Brown. He certainly gives his team a great chance to win if he really gets going. He’ll have his hands full against a tough Spartans defense.
Jacobson: This a huge game for both teams. It always is when you consider it’s a rivalry game and played in a college stadium. For DeKalb, the Barbs have a chance to really solidify themselves as a playoff contender. They let one slip away at Hampshire, but a victory over Sycamore, which they haven’t beaten since 2007, would be another big step in the right direction.
For Sycamore, a victory would mean a continuation of the historical dominance the Spartans have had against their rival. It’s another chance for the Spartans to prove they are legitimate contenders for the Northern Illinois Big 12 East title.
Last year, Sycamore won, 49-30, and it wasn’t even that close. Do you think we get a better game in 2013?
Nitz: That’s a tough question because I think both teams are improved from last season. However, I’ll go with yes. Like you mentioned, DeKalb has been on the wrong end of this rivalry. However, if the Barbs can get off to a good start, run the ball well and not turn it over, I could see them being in a close game during the fourth quarter, and possibly pulling out a win.
Jacobson: Unlike in the past, DeKalb’s offense now has the ability to control the clock and shorten the game. They have a gameplan for what they want to do and have executed it well over the first two weeks, even if the Barbs are only 1-1.
We won’t see a repeat of last year when Sycamore effectively had the game won at halftime. The Barbs have more talent and confidence than they did one season ago. It should be an entertaining game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 70-plus points on the new Huskie Stadium scoreboard by the end of it.