Bartlett’s defense found its bearings in time to help save fading playoff hopes last week behind cornerback Cameron Mays’ big effort, and now the Hawks are hoping their offense with a new starting quarterback can lend a hand Friday at Neuqua Valley.
Mays, a 5-10, 165-pound junior had a Charles Tillman-like game against Glenbard East (23-20 win) with two interceptions, one forced fumble and a deflected pass, bringing his season total to three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
But coach Tom Meaney said Mays and his other junior corner, Trevaughn Stagen (5-10, 155), will be up against three much taller Neuqua Valley wide receivers — 6-2 senior Evan Moore, 6-3 sophomore Owen Piche and 6-3 sophomore Isaiah Robertson. The Wildcats can also throw to 6-7 tight end Brett Borske, so Bartlett defensive backs may need small stepladders.
“They’ve really got the height on our corners so we’ll have to reroute them with technique and play physical,” Meaney said.
Bartlett’s offense has had its two highest point outputs (23 and 28) since moving junior Brenner Wallace in as quarterback. He alternated with Jordan Flint two weeks ago, but in last week’s win Meaney gave Wallace the full game and plans to continue that way.
“We lost our 6-5 tight end, Jason Hasenberg, for the season with an injury and Jordan is almost his height (6-4), and so we moved Jordan over to tight end and it’s working fine,” Meaney said. “Height-wise at quarterback, Brenner is close (6-2) to Jordan and they both are drop-back style passers.”
South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said he won’t decide on a starting quarterback for Saturday’s big Upstate Eight Valley home game with Glenbard East until Friday, and last week he came up with a unique approach by playing both Jake Amrhein and Hayden Nelson.
“I told them, basically, you score and you stay in the game,” Pistorio said.
Amrhein ran for 45 yards and completed 5-of-6 for 84 yards and a TD while Nelson completed 1-of-2 for a TD and ran three times for 18 yards in a 71-24 win over East Aurora.
Pistorio said he took this approach once while he was offensive coordinator for Steve McMichael’s Chicago Slaughter in arena ball.
“I had to decide between (former Illini QB) Juice Williams and Cody Kirby,” he said. “Both had good attributes. It played itself out. When you’ve got two competitive people, it lets them both get time and move forward.”
Pistorio’s real problem has been defense, but last week he moved offensive linemen Matt Zimmerman and Jarin Davis into two-way roles and they plugged the middle.
Burlington Central and Hampshire have injury problems, and Central some worse issues to face.
Central starting running back Jason Berango (596 yards) won’t play Friday against Richmond-Burton due to a knee injury that could keep him out more than a game. Trevor Davison, who has 423 rushing yards, will start instead.
Also, three Rockets starters have been suspended due to an athletic code violation. Three reserves also will be unavailable.
“It’s a situation that’s still being looked into with those players, so we can’t comment on it,” coach Rich Crabel said. “We’ve got depth and we’ll use it.”
The Rockets will rely heavily on defense, with Charlie Sanders moving from end to linebacker.
Hampshire faces Prairie Ridge Friday without starting quarterback Nick Mohlman, whose leg injury kept him out of last week’s game, as well. The likely solution will again be Matt Bridges as their passer.
It’s been a year for quarterback changes in the area. Of the 14 football-playing schools in the Courier-News area, nine have changed QBs. Only Streamwood, St. Edward, Huntley, Jacobs and Dundee-Crown have not.