Elgin and Larkin have had very similar seasons in more ways than the fact they both enter Friday night’s game winless for the first time in the 53 years of the varsity Town Jug series.
Another big similarity is both switched quarterbacks: Larkin from Elijah Hernandez to David Hibbler and Elgin from Dontrell Gaddy to Terrance Miller-Allen, then Jordan Smith. In Elgin’s case, though, it was back to the original.
Gaddy has produced at a higher level since returning as QB.
“If I’m needed to play quarterback, I’m playing quarterback,” Gaddy said. “If coach says go to nose I’ll go to nose. It comes with being a student-athlete. You’re an athlete so expect to be put in different spots no matter if you like it or not.
“I loved playing receiver, but I do love playing quarterback. It’s a fun spot to be in when you control the offense.”
The 6-foot, 175-pound senior ran for 151 yards last week against Batavia. He has 331 of his 392 yards rushing and 378 of his 436 yards passing in the 3 1/2 games since returning to starting QB.
Gaddy said at the beginning of the year the Maroons thought they might be able to pull a stunner against Dundee-Crown and a few other teams. Now, the goal is getting the Town Jug back for the first time since these seniors have been at Elgin.
“We don’t have the season that we thought we would have at the beginning, but I give the guys a lot of credit,” Gaddy said. “Last year we weren’t even close. We’ve definitely taken a step forward. We should have come out with a win against Streamwood.”
Like with many on both sides, Gaddy has plenty of friends at Larkin after growing up competing with and against them.
“In this game, there’s no friends on the field,” he said. “After the game you get respect as an athlete.”
Town Jug matchup
Although Elgin and Larkin are similar in many ways, a difference between the two is experience, with Larkin fielding 22 sophomores.
“They have five athletes over there that we don’t have,” Larkin coach Dragan Teonic said, pointing especially to Jordan Smith and 6-6 wide receiver/defensive end Elijah Bonds.
But Larkin counters with speedy receivers A.J. Hunter and Deshawn Steward.
“They have speed, and a lot of youthful exuberance,” Rohde said. “It should be a good game — certainly neither of us has anything to lose.”
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando had called his team’s offensive effort in last week’s second half “a little bit sloppy” despite the 38-0 win over Ridgewood.
Cleaning up execution in the passing game will be a goal against Chicago Christian as the Green Wave attempts to clinch the first title in the new Metro Suburban East at home Friday.
The blocking was there all game last week, even if the second-half points weren’t.
“The O-line really impresses me week in and week out,” said Rolando, whose team was ranked eighth in this week’s AP Class 4A poll. “Regardless of who’s getting the ball we’re gaining yards — and we’ve got a little bit of an undersized line but they’re doing a great job.”
Anticipate St. Edward’s defense playing a five-man line against a team that relies greatly on the run.
The Green Wave used an extra defender up front in Week 7 and held Ridgewood to one first down in recording a second straight shutout.
“Depending on the team we’re playing, on what they run, we can go with a five or a four,” Rolando said of the line. “It’s back and forth for us.”