RICHMOND-BURTON (1-1) AT GENOA-KINGSTON (0-2)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: Genoa-Kingston 24, Richmond-Burton 20, in Week 3 of 2012 season
Scouting the Rockets: An annual powerhouse in the Big Northern East, Richmond-Burton got a win against Johnsburg in Week 1, but suffered a lopsided, 43-15 loss to Winnebago in a BNC crossover contest last week.
The Rockets gave up 232 rushing yards to the Indians, something that plays into G-K’s favor. R-B had only 209 yards of total offense itself.
What’s at stake: This game could be considered a must-win for G-K, and the Cogs were in the same situation last season, starting 0-2 before heading to Richmond and scoring a huge upset.
G-K moved the ball well against Rockford Lutheran in Week 2, and should do the same against R-B. The question will be whether the Cogs can limit their turnovers and stop giving up the big play.
– Steve Nitz, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHRISTIAN LIBERTY ACADEMY (0-2, 0-2 NORTHEASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE) AT HIAWATHA (1-1, 1-1 NEAC)
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: Hiawatha 20, Christian Liberty 9, in Week 8 of the 2012 season
Scouting the Chargers: A young team with a thin roster hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this fall. Christian Liberty will run a variation of the Wing-T on offense and lines up in a 5-2 defense.
“Our game prep this week was basically the same one as North Shore County Day last week,” said Hiawatha coach Sean Donnelly, whose team picked up a 20-8 home win last Friday over the Raiders. “But when we go four wide receivers, they are only going to rush three linemen.”
That should open up rushing opportunities for Hawks’ quarterback Mike Mercado.
What’s at stake: Momentum that could carry the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years with a win is within reach. As is a nearly complete roster with the return of Allen Letterer, Juan Gonzalez and Jace Williams. Running back Nick Doolittle has entered the rehab phase of his knee injury, but still is out this week.
The dynamic athletic ability of Letterer allows him to line up as a receiver, tight end, fullback and running back. He will catch the ball, run the football and provide hole-opening blocks. Gonzalez will shore up an offensive line that has overachieved and be an asset on the defensive front, as well.
“We really gutted it out the last two weeks,” Donnelly said. “We were under manned and had some injuries hit that really could have exposed us. It’s been a pleasant surprise how well we’ve come together. We hope to only get healthier and better from here.”
– James Nokes, email@example.com
SYCAMORE (2-0) VS. DeKALB (1-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. today
Last meeting: Sycamore 49, DeKalb 30, in Week 3 of 2012 season
Location: Huskie Stadium, 1245 Stadium Drive South, DeKalb
Scouting the Spartans: So far, Sycamore hasn’t been challenged, mainly because of its quick-strike offense. The Spartans have four players averaging more than 25 yards a reception, led by big and athletic target Ben Niemann. All of these weapons have led to quarterback Devin Mottet throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns over the first two games.
Scouting the Barbs: The triple option caused problems for Vernon Hills in Week 1, but it was slowed by Hampshire last week. Star running back Dre Brown was held to 83 yards against the Whip-Purs. In both games so far, the Barbs have been hurt by slow starts.
What’s at stake: It’s all about pride and bragging rights. The Spartans have had DeKalb’s number for quite some time now, and they’ll be favored once again. After a confidence-building win over Vernon Hills, the Barbs were brought back down to earth by Hampshire.
Matt Weckler’s teams have struggled with extra points, and those could be the difference. For a team trying to change the program’s mentality and make the playoffs, a 1-2 start would be tough to climb out of.
As for the Spartans, the expectation is victory. They’ve done it five consecutive years against DeKalb, and they’ll look to exploit the Barbs’ slow starts to gain momentum in front of a large Huskie Stadium crowd. The pressure is on the Spartans to keep the trend going.
– Luke Srodulski, firstname.lastname@example.org
KANELAND (2-0) AT STERLING (2-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Froday
Location: Sterling High School, 1608 Fourth Ave., Sterling
Last meeting: Kaneland 42, Sterling 0, in Week 3 of 2012 season
Scouting the Golden Warriors: Sterling was a playoff team last season even though the Knights blew them away early on. In a 35-16 win over Johnsburg last week, senior quarterback Bryant Lilly passed for 293 yards for a team that isn’t as run-heavy as they have been in the past. Receiver Logan Wharff is his top target. An experienced defense might be difficult to penetrate, but the versatile Knights should be able to put up points.
What’s at stake: Last year, the Knights asserted their dominance over the Northern Illinois Big 12 in a huge win over the Golden Warriors. A big win tonight would do the same. The Knights cast aside two teams in the first two weeks of the season who won their other game by multiple touchdowns, so big wins are expected this season. If they want to win their 31st consecutive regular-season game, they’ll have to keep the Warriors’ passing game in check.– Anthony Zilis, email@example.com