Brother Rice at Providence
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ch. 26.2. (Delay, 4:30 Saturday)
Outlook: Four teams remain in contention for the Catholic League Blue title, including No. 11 Brother Rice (5-2, 2-0), which can clinch a share of its first conference championship since 2004 with a win. The Crusaders, whose two losses were both to out-of-state teams, can run the ball effectively with RB Marcus Jones (658 yards, 5.5 per carry) and QB Alex Alarcon (412 yards, 4.1 per carry). That could come in handy as they try to keep No. 10 Providence’s explosive offense on the sideline. The Celtics (6-1, 2-1), who also can clinch a title share, have two Player of the Year candidates in QB Justin Hunniford (1,688 yards, 26 TDs) and WR Miles Boykin (665 yards, 15.5 per catch, 16 TDs) among a bevy of playmakers.
Geneva at Batavia
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Outlook: The 96th installment of a Fox River Valley rivalry that dates back to 1913 should be a good one. No. 16 Geneva (7-0, 5-0 Upstate Eight River) hasn’t been challenged since edging Richards 22-19 in Week 2 and has one of the state’s best quarterbacks in Northern Illinois recruit Daniel Santacaterina (1,547 yards, 16 TDs). Pace Temple and Michael Landi both average 16.0 yards per catch for the Vikings. No. 22 Batavia (6-1, 5-0) lost 40-38 to Oswego in Week 1 and has outscored its opponents 230-45 since. The defending Class 6A champion Bulldogs have had success with rotating QBs Kyle Niemiec (612 yards, 7 TDs) and Evan Acosta (600 yards, 2 TDs).
St. Rita at Loyola
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 26.2.
Outlook: These are two more teams in the running for the Catholic Blue title, but only the winner will still be in that position heading into Week 9. No. 9 Loyola (6-1, 1-1) is as good as ever on defense, allowing just five touchdowns the past five weeks and only 70 points all season. The secondary of Mark Dowdle, Ryan Zinkula, Peter Muench, Dan Pinelli and Nick Mandera was especially effective in a 10-7 win over Providence. That group will be tested by WR Brandon Gaston (491 yards, 18.5 per catch, 5 TDs) of No. 14 St. Rita (6-1, 1-1), which also has a durable RB in Tyre Lee (868 yards, 6.8 per carry, 9 TDs).
Addison Trail at Glenbard West
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Outlook: This is the unofficial West Suburban title game, matching the leaders of the Silver – No. 2 Glenbard West (7-0) – and the Gold – No. 20 Addison Trail (7-0). This week’s rain could make for some sloppy going on the natural grass at Duchon Field. But that usually isn’t a problem for the Hilltoppers with their effective run game led by Sam Brodner and Donahvon Vaughn and swarming defense. Addison Trail, which has bounced back from two straight 2-7 seasons, has a capable dual-threat QB in Mike Rybarczyk and a dangerous receiver in 6-3, 190-pound junior Jaavion Bradley.