Five football games to watch for the Naperville area in Week 8

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Benet (5-2, 3-2) vs. No. 18 Joliet Catholic (5-2, 4-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Joliet Memorial Stadium

Last year: Joliet Catholic 36, Benet 0.

Key players: Benet – QB Jack Sznajder, RB Brad Sznajder; Joliet Catholic – RB Nick Borgra, LB Brad Krisch

Outlook: Joliet Catholic lost in the final seconds to Nazareth last Friday, a team that took care of Benet, 35-13. It’s going to be a lot to ask for from the Redwings to make the trek to Joliet and upset the Hilltoppers, especially after the emotions throughout the week after losing senior Andrew Valadka to a spine injury last Friday. Trying to focus on Joliet Catholic’s potent offensive attack is a tall task.

No. 7 Naperville Central (6-1, 3-0) at Lake Park (5-2, 2-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last year: Naperville Central 36, Lake Park 0.

Key players: Naperville Central — RB Kevin Clifford, DE Joe Schweikart; Lake Park — DB Antonio Shenault, DL Jacub Panasiuk.

Outlook: This one should be quite the defensive battle. Lake Park is coming off a thrilling victory against Glenbard North, a week after an overtime loss to Wheaton Warrenville South. Naperville Central has won six straight games and has yielded only 30 points during its winning streak. Both teams have playmakers on defense that can shut a team down and also force turnovers to create points. Clifford continues to run the ball well for the Redhawks.

Naperville North (2-5, 0-3) at Wheaton North (2-5, 1-2), 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last year: Wheaton North 31, Naperville North 13.

Key players: Naperville North — QB Evan Kujawski, WR D’angelo Hyshaw; Wheaton North — WR Michael Bloss, RB Doug Michalak.

Outlook: Both teams are coming off very bad Fridays. Naperville North got blitzed 41-0 by Wheaton Warrenville South while Wheaton North battled, but fell short, 14-3 to Naperville Central. Both teams were eliminated from the playoff picture after those respective losses, so this game becomes one of playing for pride and finishing the season strong.

Waubonsie Valley (6-1, 4-1) vs. No. 23 Neuqua Valley (5-2, 5-0) at North Central, 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last year: Waubonsie Valley 40, Neuqua Valley 25.

Key players: Waubonsie Valley — LB Luke Marzano, DL Kurtis Chione; Neuqua Valley — LB D.J. Warkenthien, QB Broc Rutter.

Outlook: This has been a one-sided rivalry in favor of Neuqua Valley, which is 12-4 against the Warriors. Waubonsie Valley hasn’t looked like the same team that beat Naperville Central and Oswego to open the season, barely surviving Glenbard East and Metea Valley before losing to a struggling West Aurora (2-5) last week. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the state, having won five straight. Neuqua is averaging 55.2 points in its past four games as Rutter has got the offense in a groove. A win by the Wildcats will give them the Upstate Eight Valley title outright.

Metea Valley (4-3, 3-2) at Glenbard East (3-4, 1-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last year: Did not play.

Key players: Metea Valley — QB Kyle Moody, RB Bryson Oliver; Glenbard East — QB Phil Abruzino, RB Dominic Wilberton.

Outlook: Oliver had been averaging close to 30 carries heading into last week’s win against East Aurora, but he was able to finally catch a break, only carrying six times as the Mustangs routed the Tomcats 48-6. That breather should help as the Mustangs will look to run past the Rams and become playoff eligible. A victory would establish a school record for wins in a season and clinch a first winning record in the regular season. Rams have dropped three straight close games. It could be a historic night in Lombard for the Mustangs.

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