Scouting Week 8 Fox football games

Larkin (2-5, 2-5) at Elgin (1-6, 1-6)

When: 6 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Larkin won, 18-0, last year.

About the Royals: The Town Jug is at stake during the annual crosstown matchup, and Larkin would like to keep it for the third consecutive year. What does this game mean? “It's all about the community,” said Larkin's Vincent Ray, who will experience it for the first time as the Royals head coach Friday night. “It's good to see the community come together to celebrate the city of Elgin. Being able to face close friends and neighbors in a spirited football game is a highlight of the football season.” Last week, the Royals gave Bartlett a battle before losing, 10-6. “The defense kept us in the game,” said Ray. “We had a slow start offensively, but our defense continued to give us chances. The offense made some big plays in the second half to give us a chance, but we just didn't capitalize.” Junior quarterback Tizairian Johnson-Williams can hurt teams with his arm and legs, evidenced by his first-down making passes to Terrence Boone and Donald Clark and runs covering 18 and 24 yards, respectively. Linebacker Jalen Miller anchors the Royals' defense. Larkin finishes its season at West Chicago on Oct. 20. What would Ray like to see from his team in its last 2 games? “Pride in self, school and community,” said the coach. “I would like to see how some of our young guys respond to varsity playing time.”

About the Maroons: What does this game mean to the Maroons? “EVERYTHING,” said Elgin coach Anthony Mason. “This (game) has history that is older than most schools have been playing football. We must do our part to be elite, put an elite effort on the field, and give Elgin High School a chance to etch our 2023 team in the Town Jug.” Elgin owns a 4-6 record against Larkin since 2013, with its last win coming in 2020 (21-18). What is the best part of the rivalry? “The fact that record and talent does not matter,” said Mason. “We have lost when we had the better team, and we have won when the other school was 4-4 and more talented. This is unlike any other game because disparity is closer, and record/talent has little effect on outcome.” Mason has lauded the season-long play of senior middle linebacker/running back Lamyni Spates (7.6 tackles per game). However, the Maroons are pretty banged up at this stage of the season. “We've played two of the best teams in the conference (Glenbard East and South Elgin) the last two games before this rivalry game,” said the coach. “So we are trying to put together an elite game plan with elite action, with the guys we have available and give ourselves a chance to be victorious Friday night.”

South Elgin (6-1, 6-1) at Bartlett (4-3, 4-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: South Elgin won, 53-7, last year.

About the Storm: After having its 29-game conference winning streak come to a halt against Glenbard South, South Elgin took out its frustration on Elgin during last weekend's 57-0 victory. With junior quarterback Jack Ginnan sidelined by an injury, KJ Brooks enjoyed his first varsity start with 3 passing touchdowns and 3 rushing touchdowns – all in the first half against Elgin. Defensively, the Storm continued its solid season-long performance with a shutout last week. “It's our 22nd shutout since 2018,” said Storm coach Dragan Teonic. Now, they prepare for a youthful Bartlett squad. “We're young ourselves,” said Teonic. “We're starting 1 senior on defense and 4 on offense.” South Elgin is looking forward to this game. “The rivalry means something to us,” said the coach. “We live this for 365 days a year. We never take this game lightly. Their record is irrelevant when it comes to this game.”

About the Hawks: Needing a win to keep their postseason hopes alive, the Hawks delivered with a hard-fought, 10-6 victory over Larkin last weekend. Bartlett used a balanced attack, rushing for 171 yards and adding 80 yards through the air. The level of competition raises a few notches Friday night against 4-time defending Upstate Eight Conference champion South Elgin. Glenbard East (6-1) awaits in Week 9. But first things first – the Hawks will try for their first win over South Elgin since 2019 (17-14).

Fenton (0-7, 0-7) at Streamwood (1-6, 1-6)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Fenton won, 24-22, last year.

About the Bison: At times, the Bison can put points on the board, evidenced by their topping the 20-point mark in 3 of their 7 games. However, defense is a major concern. Fenton has allowed 49 or more points on 5 different occasions. Junior quarterback Nathan Stewart is a player to watch for the Bison. “Fenton is far better than its record would suggest,” said Streamwood coach Ketih McMaster. “The QB (Stewart) is really good – he makes plays with his arm and his legs. The receivers catch the balls he throws, and the kids are well trained in the scramble drill. A lot of our young bucks will be back in the field this week, and having not seen so many passes, this will be a challenge for us.”

About the Sabres: A week ago, Streamwood lost a 34-14 decision to East Aurora despite solid performances from sophomores Shazeb Ahmed (2-yard TD run) and Lorenzo Robles (13-yard TD run). Aden Strong recovered a fumble on a good hustle play, while John Ray added a 22-yard run. Taro Ishikawa averages 60 yards rushing per game. “Explosive plays hurt us, especially in the first half,” said McMaster of the loss to the Tomcats. “We were short-handed and had pulled up some freshmen and sophomores to fill the gaps. Obviously, the game is a little faster, but I feel like the kids did much better in the second half. Since some of the young guns were filling in in different roles, we tried to put them in a position to experience some success, and some plays did work out for us.” Streamwood would like to avenge last year's 2-point loss to Fenton. “We're going to prepare the kids to compete and work to put them in the best positions possible,” added the coach.

West Aurora (5-2, 1-2) at Plainfield North (3-4, 2-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Plainfield North won, 40-7, last year.

About the Blackhawks: After winning their first 5 games, the Blackhawks suffered back-to-back losses to Oswego and Oswego East the last 2 weeks. Last weekend's 14-13 loss to Oswego East was especially painful, considering that West Aurora jumped out to a 13-0 lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Mason Atkins to junior receiver Reece Powers, and a 65-yard scoring strike to junior receiver Terrence Smith. Four turnovers, including an interception on a pass in the Wolves' end zone, proved too much to overcome. “You can't turn the ball over four times and expect to beat good teams – it's that simple,” said Blackhawks coach Nate Eimer. “We need to clean that up.” After finishing 1-8 last season, West Aurora has turned things around. “I'm proud of our kids and staff,” said Eimer. “This doesn't happen overnight, and it happens with a ton of belief in what you are doing even when you aren't getting the results you want. I can't put into words how proud I am.” Despite their 5-win season, the Blackhawks may need another victory to reach the postseason due to their relatively low opponents' wins (28).

About the Tigers: Don't be fooled by the Tigers' losing record. Plainfield North has played a rugged schedule, which included back-to-back games against Lockport and DuPage Valley Conference champion Naperville Central to open the season. While the Tigers have struggled to put points on the board – 72 total in 7 games – they possess one of the top defenses in the Southwest Prairie West Conference. Led by junior middle linebacker Andrew Elkareh, junior cornerback Keith Cyracus, senior tackle Andre Deal, and senior safety Eli Liapis, Plainfield North has allowed just 81 points this season (11 points per game). “They have a great defense, a great offensive line, and we expect a great game plan by their coaching staff,” Eimer said of the Tigers. “They make you play mistake-free football. It's going to be a huge challenge.” Plainfield North is also fighting for its playoff lives, needing victories over Werst Aurora and Yorkville (4-3) to become playoff eligible.

Batavia (6-1, 5-0) at Wheaton Warrenville South (4-3, 3-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Batavia 35, Wheaton Warrenville South 0 (2022)

About the Bulldogs: Batavia, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, can clinch the outright DuKane Conference title with a win. The Bulldogs' lone loss came to Lincoln-Way East, 14-13 in Week 2 in a game that came down to a two-point conversion at the end. Batavia is coming off a 54-0 win over St. Charles East. Senior QB Ryan Boe, a third-year starter and North Dakota State recruit, has thrown for 1,431 yards with 11 TDs and one interception. Versatile Charlie Whelpley has rushed for a team-high 466 yards and caught 30 passes for 304 yards. Chase Osborne has a team-high 49 tackles, SIU recruit Ben Fiegel 39.

About the Tigers: WW South is making a strong late-season surge to a playoff appearance, following up its big win over Wheaton North by beating Lake Park 31-8 last week. Matt Crider rushed for 146 yards and a 46-yard TD on 18 carries. Crider has been quite a difference-maker for the Tigers' offense after returning from an ankle injury in Week 4. The Tigers have averaged just under 32 points per game with Crider, 6 points without. Maison Haas and the WW South defense has been steady most of the season, but will get tested by a versatile, experienced Batavia offense.

St. Charles East (1-6, 1-4) at Geneva (5-2, 3-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: 42-0 Geneva in 2022

About the Vikings: Geneva is coming off a pair of losses by a combined four points. While still losses, there is little questioning this is a team that has potential to be really dangerous come the postseason in a few weeks. The Vikings still have to clinch, of course, but appear likely to after Friday night. This is a team with very little holes offensively piloted by QB Nate Stempowski. Defensively, teams shouldn't overlook them, either, with DB Charlie Winterhalter, LB Tommy Diamond and DL Rocco DiLeonardi leading a super physical defense.

About the Saints: Amid a four-game losing streak, the Saints are still staying positive and upbeat in the final games of the season. While they're out of the postseason race and coming off a 54-0 loss to Batavia, the Saints still have a chance to play spoiler to the Vikings, who are still looking for their sixth win to clinch the postseason.

St. Charles North (6-2, 4-2) at Lake Park (4-3, 2-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: 27-13 SCN in 2022

About the North Stars: SCN already clinched the postseason after its dominant win over Glenbard North last week. Offensively, QB Ethan Plumb continues to be marvelous this season by approaching 2,000 passing yards and amassing 26 combined touchdowns. This is a team capable of winning shootouts with Jake Furtney, Aedan Hayes, Jake Mettetal and Anthony Taormina all capable of standout performances in the passing game. Defensive lineman Julio Sanchez recorded recorded six tackles, including three for losses, last week for a unit that pitched its first shutout.

About the Lancers: This is a team that is fighting for postseason eligibility for the first time in six seasons. Despite a 31-8 loss to WWS last week, the Lancers still have a few chances to snag some wins. Declan Fortuna continued his standout season last week with 159 rushing yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. The Lancers play physical defense and will have to challenge SCN on the line of scrimmage to make it difficult for Plumb to find his plethora of receivers.

Woodstock North (2-5, 1-4) at Kaneland (4-3, 2-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The Knights won 45-6 win Woodstock last year.

About the Thunder: North lost to Sycamore 42-6 last week. … FB Kaden Combs, who led the Thunder in rushing last season, has helped the offense in the last two games after recovering from an injury that held him back earlier. He has 272 rushing yards. … QB Landan Creighton leads the Thunder with 400 rushing yards and WR Max Dennison has a team-high 16 receptions and five touchdowns.

About the Knights: Kaneland rolled to a 45-0 home win last week against Marengo and can become playoff-eligible with a home win on Friday. Starting quarterback Troyer Carlson was injured in the win, and coach Michael Thorgesen said he'll be a game-time decision. Dom DeBlasio played in his place last week and would get the start this week if Carlson is unable to go. He ran for two touchdowns last week, and Thorgesen said he's had good week prepping in case Carlson cannot play.

Wheaton Academy (6-1, 4-1) at Aurora Christian (6-1, 5-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Wheaton Academy won, 24-3, last year.

About the Warriors: After outscoring their last 3 opponents by a 147-6 margin, the Warriors figure to receive a challenge from the Chicagoland Christian Conference leaders Friday night. The teams have split 4 matchups since 2018. “Both teams are at 6-1, but you can pretty much throw record away when these two programs come together,” said Warriors coach Jim Johanik. “Both teams are well-coached. We see what they're doing year-in and year-out, and they are football sound. It's a fun game to coach and an equally fun game for our guys to prepare for and play in. I expect nothing but a great game as two spread offenses and sound defenses go against each other.” Quarterback Brett Kasper threw a pair of touchdown passes, as the starters only played a half during the Warriors' 48-6 win over Christ the King. “Brett was just offered (scholarship) at Illinois State, where his older brother, Eddie (Wheaton Academy 2022 grad) is a starting wide receiver as a redshirt freshman,” said Johanik. Defensively, junior Jeremy Johanik led the team in tackles. Two weeks ago, he moved from defensive end to middle linebacker. “He has transitioned to his new position quite naturally,” said the coach. “A few years back, we moved his older brother, Peter, an all-stater, from end to linebacker, and he shined. With both Brett (Kasper) and Jeremy, we are witnessing younger brothers outpacing their older brothers' footsteps.” Two weeks ago, Peter Johanik started at defensive end for Wheaton College and secured a win over Augustana with a critical 4th-and-4 sack late in the game. Johanik figures both teams will benefit from this Week 8 showdown. “Both programs need games like this, as we march toward the postseason,” said the coach. “Iron sharpens iron.”

About the Eagles: Last week, Aurora Christian jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead on Marian Central Catholic and fell behind 22-21 early in the fourth quarter before rallying for a 40-28 victory. Quarterback Jalen Carter accounted for 302 total yards with 4 touchdown passes and a touchdown run. “Jalen has been playing week-in and week-out at a high level,” said Eagles coach David Beebe. “He is making great decisions and spreading the ball around. I can't put into words the impact that he has had on this season.” Three of Carter's TD passes were to wide receiver Owen Hampton (89 yards). “We talked about it at halftime, knowing they (Marian) would make a change since they're such a great team,” said Beebe. “To our kids' credit, they weather the storm and showed some great mental toughness. It was a central message during the film session Saturday morning. While mistakes were made, deep in their minds, they are building belief. They know they can withstand adversity, and that is a good thing because more is coming in the weeks to come.” Beebe knows the Warriors are dangerous. “Wheaton is a great team,” he said. “We are looking forward to the challenge. We have great respect for them on the field, and how they use football to build Christ-like character in their players.”

Joliet Catholic (5-2) at Marmion (2-5)

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Joliet Catholic 49, Marmion 21 (2001 spring)

About the Hilltoppers: After back-to-back nailbiters, Joliet Catholic welcomed its runaway win over Leo in Week 7. More importantly, it earned the Hilltoppers their fifth win, and with secure playoff points in their pocket an assured place in the postseason. Joliet Catholic's running game took over in the Leo game, with Keegan Faranus leading the way with three rushing touchdowns. HJ Grigsby nearly eclipsed the 100-yard barrier. Expect Joliet Catholic to lean on that part of its attack down the stretch.

About the Cadets: Marmion now is caught in the midst of a four-game losing skid, with its last win coming over the aforementioned Leo team in Week 3. Currently the biggest problem for the Cadets is injuries to what already could be considered a relatively small roster for the CCL/ESCC. Linebacker Gavin Burt is a playmaker for Marmion, and he'll likely find himself busy trying to slow the Hilltoppers running game.

St. Edward (0-7, 0-5) at Marian Central (3-4, 3-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Marian Central 49, St. Edward 21 (2013, Week 8).

About the Green Wave: St. Edward lost to Chicago Hope 56-6 last week. … RB Jack Wright is the Green Wave's leading rusher with 277 yards. … St. Edward has scored 52 points for the season and only 16 in its last five games.

About the Hurricanes: Marian lost to Aurora Central 40-28 last week. … The Hurricanes need to win their last two games to become playoff eligible. They finish the season at Wheaton Academy. … QB Cale McThenia has thrown for 2,489 yards passing and 29 touchdowns. … WR Christian Bentancur has 64 receptions, 1,094 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has 203 career receptions.

Burlington Central (3-4, 3-4) at Hampshire (2-5, 2-5)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Central 15, Hampshire 14 (2022, Week 1).

About the Rockets: Central lost to Prairie Ridge 42-7 last week. … The Rockets can still become playoff eligible for the first time since 2014 with wins in their last two games. They host Huntley in Week 9. … Sophomore Landon Arnold is the third player the Rockets have used at quarterback and is completing 55.8% of his passes for 367 yards. … WRs Michael Person (26 receptions), Brady Gilroy (24) and LJ Kerr (19) have the most catches, while Caden West has 17 catches and a team-best 398 yards.

About the Whip-Purs: Hampshire beat Dundee-Crown 23-20 in overtime last week. … K Charlie Terriquez kicked a 36-yard field goal at the end of regulation and then kicked an 18-yarder to win it in overtime. … RB Cole Klawikowski has 890 yards rushing. … WR Ari Fivelson leads the Whips with 24 receptions.

Crystal Lake South (3-4, 3-4) at Cary-Grove (5-2, 5-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Crystal Lake South 43, Cary-Grove 39, (2022, Week 2).

About the Gators: South beat McHenry 35-7 last week. … The Gators need wins in their final two games (at C-G and home vs. Jacobs) to make the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year. … QB Caden Casimino has thrown for 1,807 yards and 14 touchdowns. RB AJ Demirov has 46 receptions after a 10-catch, two-touchdown game last week. … WR Colton Hess has 36 receptions and has nine touchdowns.

About the Trojans: C-G lost to Huntley 29-28 last week. … The Trojans are ranked No. 6 in Class 6A. Their two losses are both by one point, to Prairie Ridge (No. 1, 5A) and Huntley (No. 8, 8A). … FB Logan Abrams leads the Trojans with 771 rushing yards; RB Andrew Prio has 505 yards and averages 13.3 yards per carry. … C-G is headed to the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 seasons.

Dundee-Crown (1-6, 1-6) at Huntley (6-1, 6-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Last matchup: Huntley 31, Dundee-Crown 19 (2022, Week 8).

About the Chargers: D-C lost to Hampshire 23-20 in overtime last week. … WRs Kali Freeman (25 receptions, 371 yards) and Torrion Bell (18, 381) are big-play threats for QB Zach Randl, who has thrown for 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns.

About the Red Raiders: Huntley beat Cary-Grove 29-28 last week. … The Red Raiders were down 14 in the fourth quarter, but rallied and scored on the final play of regulation, then went for the two-point conversion for the win. QB Braylon Bower hit WR Jake Witt on both of the final plays. … RB Haiden Janke has ran for 825 yards and last week's game was his fourth three-touchdown game. … Bower has thrown for 1,003 yards and 11 touchdowns and is completing 76.4% of his throws. … The Raiders, ranked No. 7 in Class 8A, will be in the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.

McHenry (0-7, 0-7) at Jacobs (4-3, 4-3)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Jacobs 28, McHenry 22 (2022, Week 3).

About the Warriors: McHenry lost to Crystal Lake South 35-7 last week. … RB Jacob Jones leads the Warriors with 396 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He ran 28 times for 91 yards last week.

About the Golden Eagles: Jacobs beat Crystal Lake Central 41-14 last week. … The Golden Eagles took control early last week and never let Central into the game. FB Caden DuMelle ran 31 times for 302 yards and four touchdowns and now leads the area with 942 yards. … With one more win, the Eagles will be in the playoffs a third straight season.

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