St. Charles E./St. Charles N. set to renew rivalry

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St. Charles East and St. Charles North square off earlier than ever this year, trading in their typical mid-October meeting for an early September get together.

The Saints (1-1) will be trying to beat their crosstown rivals for the fifth straight time when they visit the North Stars (0-2) on Friday in the Courier News Season Pass Spotlight Game of the Week. While the new date on the calendar doesn’t lessen the desire to claim bragging rights, it does bring a new element to the rivalry as both squads look to build some momentum going into the meat of their schedules.

“I don’t buy into the whole East/North thing as much as some others would like,” St. Charles East coach Mike Fields said. “To me it’s the start of conference. I don’t care if we’re playing Larkin or North or Geneva, it doesn’t matter. We’re excited to go after our goal of fighting for a conference championship.”

St. Charles East is coming off a 26-21 win against West Aurora last week. Now the Saints turn their attention to extending their 8-4 lead in the all-time series against St. Charles North.

The North Stars are still searching for their first victory after losing 14-7 at Plainfield Central last week. The defeat came on the heels of a 30-0 defeat against Hinsdale Central in Week 1.

While the lack of offensive production has been a concern, St. Charles North does have something to build on after outscoring Plainfield Central 7-0 in the second half last week.

“We played pretty well in the second half, and hopefully the guys see that they’ve got it within them to do that,” said St. Charles North coach Mark Gould, who is retiring after this season. “Now we’ll try to put a whole game together, get a win and get on the right track.”

Junior quarterback Erik Miller has completed 24 of 50 passes for 275 yards through two games for the North Stars, but Gould expects senior Ryan Fischbach to see some time under center after being sidelined with an illness.

Senior Zach Kirby headlines a group of productive St. Charles North receivers.

“We certainly have a lot of respect for North,” Fields said. “Everyone is asking about them only scoring seven points so far, but we’re expecting them to come out firing on all cylinders.”

St. Charles East will be without senior running back Erik Anderson, who sustained a shoulder injury last week. While Anderson’s absence will alter the game plan for the Saints, they have plenty of other weapons on offense.

Junior Brannon Barry is one of those weapons. The 6-foot-4 receiver has 12 catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Senior Joe Hoscheit is another key contributor. The fullback/linebacker had two touchdowns last week and is also St. Charles East’s leader on defense.

“Defensively (St. Charles East is) very disciplined, and they’ve got a good linebacker crew,” Gould said. “I know our offensive coaches have been working hard trying to find ways to move the ball against them.”

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