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The Insider: Prep Football

Rob Winner –
DeKalb quarterback Jack Sauter carries the ball in the first quarter on Friday night at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.
Rob Winner – DeKalb quarterback Jack Sauter carries the ball in the first quarter on Friday night at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.


Eli Thurlby
Genoa-Kingston, sr., RB

Thurlby has provided a great complement to Sal Lopez in the Cogs' ground game, gaining 70 yards on 15 carries in a win over Richmond-Burton. He also had one catch for 16 yards.


46 - Number of points scored by DeKalb and Sycamore in the first quarter of Friday's game

36.5 - Average yards per completion for Sycamore quarterback Devin Mottet, who was 7 for against DeKalb.


1. Kaneland (3-0) Knights handled Sterling with little trouble on the road.

2. Sycamore (3-0) Spartans' defense struggled in first half before posting shutout after halftime.

3. Hiawatha (2-1) Hawks on a two-game winning streak, both wins coming at home.

4. Genoa-Kingston (1-2) Cogs finally pull out a close win.

5. DeKalb (1-2) Barbs hung with Sycamore for three quarters in loss.

NOTEBOOK: Barbs find positives in game film

At the time, it would have been tough to see the positives, but after looking at the tape of their 48-26 loss to Sycamore, the Barbs should be able to use it as a stepping stone to better their team.

DeKalb had three consecutive possessions ending in touchdowns, a forced fumble leading to another, and held the Spartans to 13 points in the second half. But even the negatives can be used to their advantage. This loss showed Matt Weckler’s team exactly what needs to be shored up for the Barbs to win these types of games.

“In order to beat a good football team, there’s two things you can’t do,” Weckler said, “and that’s give up big plays and turn the ball over.”

The big plays were crucial. In the first half, DeKalb gave up touchdown passes of 64, 53 and 69 yards. However, the secondary hadn’t been tested like this before, and this experience was vital to future improvement.

Turnovers were a turning point in the game. A Barbs fumble led to a touchdown that allowed Sycamore to pull away, but it also showed just how close DeKalb was to winning. Just fixing a few mistakes can help the team turn a corner, and Weckler ultimately looked at the performance in a positive light.

“I was happy with the way our guys played,” he said. “We competed early.”

Spartan offense clicking: Sycamore quarterback Devin Mottet said the early-goings of Friday's rivalry game against DeKalb felt like a video game.

In the first 14:30 of game time, each team scored four touchdowns. But the Barbs wouldn't score again, and the Spartans credit some timely adjustments.

“It was kind of like backyard football,” receiver Ben Niemann said. “They've only played two games and it's a new system, so we didn't know a lot about them going in. We thought we had a good gameplan but they came at us with some stuff we weren't ready for, we hadn't seen yet, and we made half-time adjustments and played a great second half.”

Niemann, an Iowa commit, didn't catch a pass in the second half, but that simply meant that the Spartans ate up time and yards with their running game.

“If you take [Niemann] away, they're going to hurt you with the quarterback and the running back,” DeKalb coach Matt Weckler said. “It's kind of like us on offense, you take one away, we're going to give it to somebody else. They do the same thing. They've got a lot of weapons, and that's why they're ranked fourth in the state.”

Anthony Zilis and Luke Srodulski contributed to this report.

VIEWS: All area teams carrying momentum into Week 4

There was no shortage of storylines for our area teams in Week 3.

Overall, they combined for a 4-1 record with the only loss coming in the DeKalb-Sycamore matchup at Huskie Stadium. And after three weeks, every team can legitimately be thinking playoffs.

Sycamore and Kaneland look headed towards a Week 8 matchup of undefeated teams as both of them got big wins away from home. Kaneland's defense was absolutely dominant against Sterling while Sycamore's offense was unstoppable, outside of a couple turnovers, against DeKalb.

Two years removed from a winless season, Hiawatha is now 2-1 for the second consecutive season after a 38-0 shutout against Christian Liberty Academy. The Hawks are getting healthy at the right time and have a good opportunity to move to 3-1 with an away game at Westminster Christian.

After a couple of tough losses in the opening two weeks of the season, Genoa-Kingston got its first win of the season, beating Richmond-Burton in overtime. The Cogs now have a chance to even their record when they travel to winless Rockford Christian.

Although DeKalb suffered the area's only loss, the Barbs have to be encouraged by the play of the offense in the first half against Sycamore. Unlike last season, DeKalb played evenly with Sycamore up until the fourth quarter. The Barbs stand at 1-2, but they have yet to play a home game through the first three weeks and finish up with four of their last six at home.

There is a lot of positive momentum for our area teams after three games. But all of them face important swing games in Week 4 as we near the midpoint of the regular season.

• Ross Jacobson is sports editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via email at

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