Scouting Week 8 DuPage County football games

Naperville Central (5-2, 3-1) at Metea Valley (1-6, 1-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Naperville Central 43, Metea Valley 14 (2021 at Central)

About the Redhawks: Central can clinch an automatic playoff berth with a win. "I think our players are eager to get better every week and prove themselves all over again," Central coach Mike Ulreich said. "But mostly, we have a team that really cares about each other and cares about how they play football. You see it in our effort and physicality each week." Ulreich also liked the fact the Central defense was on the field for 35 snaps against DeKalb last week. "A big piece of that is getting off the field on third down, but also our offense controlling the tempo," he said. "We shut out a really explosive DeKalb offense." Caleb Brown was a huge spark, carrying the ball 32 times for 137 yards. Trevon Morrow and Grant Ellinger have been studs on the offensive line. Back to the Redhawks' defense. Central has allowed 21 points through 4 DuPage Valley games thus far. "Our defensive coaching staff has been tremendous each week preparing the defensive unit to play."

About the Mustangs: "Metea Valley does a nice job creating extra gaps in the run game," Ulreich said. "Defensively, we have to get lined up and read our keys."

Naperville North (5-2, 2-2) at Waubonsie Valley (0-7, 0-4)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Naperville North 28, Waubonsie Valley 19 (2021 at North)

About the Huskies: Naperville North is in the playoffs guaranteed with a win. Huskies coach Sean Drendel likes where his team is at, but knows there is more work to be done. "We feel good that we are 5-2 and hope to build some momentum heading into Naperville Central and the playoffs," he said. Nathan Jacobs got North off on the right foot last week with an 83-yard touchdown catch on the first play from scrimmage. "Great blocking from the edge with wide receiver Luke Pettaway and Peyton Seiple helped spring him," Drendel noted. Drendel pointed out seven different players scored TDs last week. He also likes the team's attention to detail when it comes to ball security. "We take care of the ball at a high level," Drendel said. "We don't turn the ball over much and we continue to win the turnover battle. Our negative plays are down to a great level." On defense, Drendel noted North's younger players in the back seven "have really stepped up," he said.

About the Warriors: "Waubonsie Valley has had a tough year, but they play extremely hard," Drendel said. "They played their best against a great Neuqua Valley team last week. We need to be able to move the ball effectively with the run and have to stop their running game."

Glenbard East (6-1, 6-1) at Glenbard South (6-1, 6-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard South 40, Glenbard East 20 (2021 at East)

About the Rams: Glenbard East and Glenbard South both are guaranteed playoff entrants and must continue to win and hope South Elgin suffers a setback to have a chance in the UEC title race. Rams coach John Walters pointed out East's defense has given up 22 points through 7 weeks. "There is no doubt we are a defensive team. That unit is the backbone of what we do." Walters also likes the contributions Matt Larson continues to make on a number of fronts. "Matt Larson's effort in our offense and on special teams has been huge," he said. Raul Garcia was also cited for his exemplary presence. "Raul Garcia's continued leadership in the secondary and on our team has been key to our 6-1 start," Walters said.

About the Raiders: Both teams' only loss this season has come to Upstate Eight frontrunner South Elgin. South lost 47-29 at home two weeks ago, while East lost 22-6 to South Elgin on the road in Week 2. "South is very good and very talented," Walters said. "They have some dudes on their roster who are top players in our league. They will be prepared to play against us. I think to be successful we need to possess the ball, finish drives in the end zone and keep their offense on the sidelines - limit explosive plays from them. Anytime you have two schools in the same district playing against each other, the locker room comes to life this week. The guys are juiced to play South, for sure."

East Aurora (2-5, 2-5) at West Chicago (1-6, 1-6)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: East Aurora 50, West Chicago 6 (2021)

About the Tomcats: "East Aurora presents multiple challenges for us," West Chicago coach Adam Chavez said. "They are big, fast and physical. We will have to match their physicality on both sides of the ball." East Aurora's wins have come against 3-4 Elgin and 1-6 Streamwood.

About the Wildcats: "The focus on our team is to finish 2-0 and send the seniors out on a good note for senior night," Chavez said. Vincent Muci continued his hot streak last week, rushing 29 times for 189 yards and a touchdown. West Chicago ran 62 times for 289 yards in Week 7. Chavez noted Muci has a shot at breaking the 1,000-rushing-yard barrier. "If he can average 175 yards rushing for the last two games he can reach 1-K," Chavez said.

Streamwood (1-6, 1-6) at Fenton (1-6, 1-6)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Streamwood 47, Fenton 7 (2021 at Streamwood)

About the Sabres: Streamwood coach Keith McMaster noted his team already had a youthful look to it before injuries caused it to move freshman Elijah Beckford and sophomore Juan Cortes into the running back position. McMaster also was thrilled with the play last week from the returning Jace Wolf. "Defensively, we received a tremendous boost from Jace, who returned after being out six weeks," he said. McMaster added Streamwood's defense features only 3 seniors. "The rest have been juniors and sophomores," he said. "As the season progresses, the physicality of varsity football is starting to wear on these players. However, this is a great learning experience for their futures." Oscar Villapando has enjoyed a fine season at defense back. "Oscar has had a great season," McMaster said. "He not only covers the top receivers, but he aids in the run game from the outside."

About the Bison: Fenton's only win came by a point against West Chicago in Week 4. "Fenton is balanced offensively and defensively," McMaster said. "They probably throw the ball more than any team we have seen this season. It always comes down to execution to win a ballgame."

Elmwood Park (1-6, 0-4) at Wheaton Academy (6-1, 3-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Wheaton Academy 57, Elmwood Park 6 (2021 at Wheaton Academy)

About the Tigers: Elmwood Park's only win this season came against winless Walther Christian in Week 2.

About the Warriors: Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik loved the first offensive play last week where wide receiver Breck Peacock snared a 40-yard over-the-shoulder reception with a toe-tap inbounds. "This kid is truly a gifted athlete and he offers a lot to the leadership of our program because of how he plays,"" he said. "It also took an equally gifted quarterback in Belay Brummel to thread that pass to him in great coverage." Brummel went on to throw 4 touchdowns. "I can't say enough about these two guys (Peacock and Brummel)," Johanik said. Brummel is fifth in the state regardless of classification in passing yards and second in TDs chucked, according to one online statistical service. "His completion percentage is a tad under 70%," Johanik noted. "He is having a blockbuster of a year. What is not captured by these stats is his poise and leadership on and off the field." Wheaton Academy has 15 turnovers against two lost turnovers. "Regardless of who we have played, be it the best team in 3A or otherwise, our guys have found the ball and rarely given it up," Johanik said. "This stat best explains our record at this point."

St. Francis (7-0, 3-0) at Riverside-Brookfield (5-2, 4-0)

When: Friday, 7:15 p.m.

Previous Matchup: St. Francis 35, R-B 7 (2021 at St. Francis)

About the Spartans: R-B leads the Metro Suburban Red by a half-game over undefeated St. Francis. Here's the kicker: This game will decide the conference championship with it being both team's final Red games coupled with Westmont not playing a full conference schedule, resulting in uneven final records. St. Francis ran for 323 yards on 18 carries and scored 7 rushing touchdowns in last week's 83-0 win over Bishop McNamara. "Our offensive line played really well," St. Francis coach Bob McMillen said. "Getting TJ (McMillen) back made a huge difference from the week before. The boys played more in sync and physical." McMillen also loved how his defense played. "Our boys were flying around and making plays," he said. "They did a great job of holding Bishop Mac's stud running back to very minimal yards and no TDs after going off the week before for 450 (yards) and 8 (touchdowns)." Defensive end Joe Ayala had monster game in Week 7 with 3 sacks, 2 tackles for loss-all in 1 1/2 quarters of action. Running back Brady Piper ran 6 times for 105 yards and 2 scores, while wide receiver Dash Dorsey had 2 catches for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns, also in limited action. Through 7 games, quarterback Alessio Milivojevic is 62-for-83 for 1,112 yards and 19 touchdowns. He's completed 75% of his passes and has thrown only 2 picks. He's only played a half or less in five of the team's seven contests. Dorsey has 14 catches for 291 yards and 6 TDs, and like Milivojevic, he's played a half or less in the same amount of games. Defensive end Joey Ayala has a team-high 7.5 sacks. Danny French, a linebacker, is second on the team in sacks with 4.5. "Danny is playing really well of late and making some huge plays," McMillen said.

About the Bulldogs: "Riverside-Brookfield is a good football team with size and speed," McMillen said. "Their quarterback Diego Gutierrez is one of the better quarterbacks in the state. They do a great job of mixing up the run and pass. We have to play disciplined football this week and our guys can't be selfish. The boys have been loose. They are trying to stay relaxed and focused, knowing the playoffs are two weeks away."

Wheaton North (6-1, 4-1) at Geneva (5-2, 3-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton North 27, Geneva 0 (2021)

About the Falcons: For the second year in a row, the Falcons pulled out a win late last week to beat its crosstown rival, in this case clinching a playoff bid. Tyler O'Connor's fourth-quarter touchdown run and two-point conversion pass to Joe Barna lifted Wheaton North to a 10-8 win. Defensive back Matt Kuczaj had a key interception late to seal the win. O'Connor seems to be a playmaker for the Falcons in multiple facets, with an interception last week as well as his offensive heroics. Wheaton North has been no stranger to close conference games. Four of the Falcons' five DuKane games have been decided by a total of 12 points. Wheaton North, along with Batavia a game behind St. Charles North, still has a path to win the league championship.

About the Vikings: Geneva comes in smarting from its 33-7 loss to Batavia, the Vikings' 12th consecutive loss to their close rivals. Still, Geneva appears to be a program on the come, following up a playoff appearance last year with another winning season. Speedy sophomore receiver Talyn Taylor (34 catches, 519 yards, seven TDs) already holds offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin and is the favorite target of junior QB Nate Stempowski, who has thrown for 1,108 yards and 14 TDs with just two interceptions. Junior linebacker Tommy Diamond, who has 38 tackles and seven for loss, is the leader of the Geneva defense.

St. Charles North (6-1, 5-0) at Glenbard North (3-4, 2-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Previous Matchup: Glenbard North 28, St. Charles North 16 (2021 at St. Charles North)

About the North Stars: Glenbard North hosts the DuKane Conference leaders for an important game with playoff implications. The North Stars are on a 6-game winning streak since losing their season-opener to 6-1 Palatine. "We need to stop their run game," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens said, who also noted St. Charles North has a "very active defense."

About the Panthers: Glenbard North needs wins in both its final regular-season contests to become playoff eligible. First up is St. Charles North followed by 2-5 Wheaton Warrenville South in Week 9. Wilkens lauded the work of Justin Bland and Damarion Elliston in last week's game against Lake Park (35-14 win). Bland was 13-for-19 passing for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Elliston ran the ball 22 times for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Petty also caught 4 passes for 88 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Lake Park (1-6, 1-4) at Wheaton Warrenville South (2-5, 1-4)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Wheaton Warrenville South 21, Lake Park 7 (2021)

About the Lancers: The Lancers have dropped four in a row following a 35-14 loss to Glenbard North last week, a game in which Lake Park had just 55 yards of offense in the first half. Lake Park's only win this season under first-year coach Chris Kirkpatrick came against St. Charles East. When the Lancers are going right, they'll want to run power football with RB Marco Annecca and QB Michael McCormick.

About the Tigers: WW South comes in off a heartbreaker, an 8-7 loss to rival Wheaton North on a fourth-quarter TD and two-point conversion. There appears to be a narrow path for the Tigers to make the playoffs at 4-5, which will require wins over Lake Park and Glenbard North the next two weeks. Braylen Meredith caught a TD pass from Luca Carbonaro and had 46 receiving yards last week, and Jake Vozza ran for 76 yards, but Vozza left the game with an injury in the second half. The Tigers have certainly played a difficult schedule; their first seven opponents currently have a combined record of 37-12.

Lyons (6-1, 3-1) at Glenbard West (6-1, 3-1)

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last matchup: Glenbard West 35, Lyons 3 (2021)

About the Lions: Lyons to no surprise was able to easily navigate a soft portion of its schedule, beating Proviso West and Leyden the last two weeks by a combined margin of 99-13. Those wins guaranteed that the Lions are headed for the playoffs, and they get playoff-like challenges the next two weeks with games against Glenbard West and Downers Grove North The Lions' six wins are their most since 2017. Junior QB Ryan Jackson makes Lyons' offense go. He was 12 for 14 for 187 yards and three TDs with passes to six different receivers against Leyden, and has thrown for 1,268 yards and 17 TDs on the season. Travis Stamm caught two of those TDs against Leyden.

About the Hilltoppers: Glenbard West bounced back from its first loss of the season to York, beating Downers Grove North 28-21 last Saturday to clinch the program's 15th straight playoff appearance. Julius Ellens ran for 129 yards for 25 carries and a TD and continues to get plenty of touches even with the return of Joey Pope, but the Hilltoppers showcased a diverse attack that will fill up opposing teams' scouting reports. Six Glenbard West players had carries last week and QB Korey Tai threw 10 passes in the first half, and also ran for a 40-yard TD. Jack Oberhofer, who ran for two TDs, and Filip Maciorowski are both two-way standouts for the Hilltoppers.

Oak Park-River Forest (4-3, 1-3) at Downers Grove North (5-2, 2-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Oak Park-River Forest 30, Downers Grove North 28 (2021)

About the Huskies: The Huskies needed to finish the season with four straight wins to become playoff eligible, and they're halfway there. Now's the hard part - closing games against one-beaten Downers Grove North and undefeated York. Senior QB Jack Gooch was 18-for-27 for 256 yards and six TDs, and ran for a seventh, in a 56-20 win over Proviso West last week. Lemer Burnett had 162 yards of offense and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving, and Mekhai Tate a team-high seven tackles.

About the Trojans: Downers Grove North, coming off a 28-21 loss to Glenbard West, can clinch a playoff spot with a win here or in Week 9 against Lyons. Noah Battle had an 80-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage last week and caught a TD late from Sam Reichert, but the Trojans' offense struggled to sustain anything for most of the first three quarters. A top priority for Downers Grove North offensively should be getting playmaker Ethan Thulin more touches after a quiet Week 7. The chess match of a veteran QB in Gooch against a stout Trojans' defense led by Ben Bielawski should be a fun one to watch.

Hinsdale Central (3-4, 1-3) at Proviso West (2-5, 0-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale Central 58, Proviso West 0 (2021)

About the Red Devils: Hinsdale Central has not missed the playoffs since 2010, but the Red Devils are in a tough spot after their 31-7 loss to York last Friday. A path to the postseason, though, seems to exist even with a 4-5 record given Hinsdale Central's large amount of playoff points, so hope is not all lost. A banged-up team that has lost two senior QBs to injury played a freshman, Riley Contreras, at QB last Friday. Contreras threw for 78 yards and ran for 43, and threw a TD pass to Kelan McInerney.

About the Panthers: Proviso West's 2-0 start to the season likely seems a distant memory at this point. The Panthers have dropped five consecutive games, giving up 52 points per game during that stretch, which seems like a prime tonic for any struggles Hinsdale Central has had of late.

Downers Grove South (4-3, 4-0) at Morton (3-4, 3-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Downers Grove South 17, Morton 7 (2021)

About Downers Grove South: The Mustangs have won their last four games after an 0-3 start, and can become playoff eligible with one more win. They can also clinch at least a share of their first West Suburban Gold title since 2013. Downers Grove South has scored 151 points in four Gold games after managing just 21 points during its 0-3 start. Brandon Amaniampong scored two TDs in a 51-14 win over Addison Trail last week and Chris Williams had a 90-yard TD run.

About Morton: The Mustangs matched their win total from last year with a 42-12 win over Proviso East last week. It would require beating Downers Grove South and Willowbrook - no small feat - but with two wins Morton can become playoff eligible for the first time in program history.

Proviso East (0-7, 0-6) at Hinsdale South (2-5, 2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hinsdale South 55, Proviso East 12 (2021)

About the Pirates: It's been a rough 2022 season for Proviso East after going 1-8 last year. The Pirates have been outscored by a combined margin of 300-100 and have given up greater than 40 points in six of their seven games.

About the Hornets: Hinsdale South almost certainly saw its playoff hopes slip away with a 21-14 loss to Willowbrook last week. Sam Schuyler had a 53-yard TD run in the loss to Willowbrook and Nathaniel Fundator caught a 19-yard TD pass. With games remaining against Proviso East and Addison Trail, the Hornets at the very least have the opportunity to finish strong.

Willowbrook (4-3) at York (7-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: York 14, Willowbrook 10 (2021)

About the Warriors: Winners of three straight games, Willowbrook is back on track to return to the playoffs where it's made five consecutive quarterfinal appearances. Senior Adrian Guerrero starred in a 21-14 win over Hinsdale South last week with a 47-yard TD pass to KJ Rhodes, a TD catch and an interception. Rhodes caught two TDs. A young Willowbrook team that has 12 sophomores playing significant roles appears to finding its rhythm as the season progresses.

About the Dukes: York clinched at least a share of its first West Suburban Silver title since 2010 with its 31-7 win at Hinsdale Central last week. With wins the next two weeks over Willowbrook and Oak Park-River Forest, the Dukes can complete the program's first perfect regular season since York started football in 1920. Matt Vezza was sharp at Hinsdale Central, throwing for 248 yards and two TDs. Senior defensive lineman Ashton Nawrocki led the Dukes' defense with seven tackles, four for loss, two sacks and two QB hurries and linebacker Evan Grazzini had nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

Nazareth (3-4) at Montini (3-4)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Nazareth 42, Montini 29 (2021)

About the Roadrunners: Nazareth, needing three straight wins to return to the playoffs, took the first step last week with a 42-6 win over Leo. The road gets considerably tougher the next two weeks with Montini and Benet, but the Roadrunners have been here before. They beat Montini last year in almost the identical situation, got to the playoffs and made it all the way to the Class 6A quarterfinals. Sophomore QB Logan Malachuk leads a young Nazareth team that has won two of its last three games since a three-game losing streak. Wisconsin recruit Justin Taylor is a player to watch for the Roadrunners all over the field.

About the Broncos: It's been a rough two weeks for Montini, outscored by a combined margin of 70-7 in losses to Marist and Providence, both at home. It puts the Broncos in a make-or-break situation, needing wins over Nazareth and Joliet Catholic the last two weeks to avoid missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Senior QB Cole Teschner has completed 59.4% of his passes on the season for 1,368 yards with 10 TDs and three interceptions. His top receiver Mingo Nixon has 31 catches for 451 yards and five TDs and BJ Searcy 22 catches for 238 yards and five TDs. Jonathan Goff is the ringleader of the Montini defense with 68 tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks.

Benet (4-3) at Joliet Catholic (5-2)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 42, Benet 20 (2021)

About the Redwings: Benet has been the ultimate close-game team this season, as every one of their games, barring a Week 4 loss to St. Rita, has been decided by eight points or fewer. The Redwings have managed to string together three straight wins to get back back into the playoff conversation, but still need at least one win this week or in Week 9 against Nazareth.

About the Hilltoppers: Just about every team in the CCL/ESCC probably is better than its record, so no shade can be thrown at Joliet Catholic for falling to a Brother Rice team that entered Week 7 with a .500 record. Despite the loss, the defense seemed to shore up fairly well, with about half of the points they allowed coming in the two overtime periods.

Friday Night Drive Pick: York

Other Friday DuPage Games

Lake Park (1-6, 1-4) at Wheaton-Warrenville South (2-5, 1-4), 7 p.m.

Neuqua Valley (6-1, 4-0) at DeKalb (4-3, 2-2), 7 p.m.

IC Catholic Prep (6-1, 4-0) at Bishop McNamara (3-4, 3-1), 7:15 p.m.

Manteno (2-5, 2-3) at Lisle (3-4, 2-4), 7 p.m.

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