Week 9 game previews

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FRIDAY’S GAMES

Brother Rice at Providence

When: 7:30 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: The Crusaders are relegated to playing the role of spoiler, trying to deny the Celtics entry into the state playoffs. Rice (3-5, 0-3 Catholic Blue) will need big games from QB Alex Alarcon (121-of-230, 1,419 yards, 11 TDs), RB Marcus Jones (109 carries, 761 yards, 8 TDs) and WR Luke Mueller (48 catches, 546 yards, 5 TDs). Providence (4-4, 0-3) was blanked 14-0 by Mount Carmel in Week 8. Celtics QB Justin Hunniford (110-of-185, 1,260 yards, 10 TDs), RB Dominic Lagone (160 carries, 1,052 yards, 16 TDs) and WR Miles Boykin (35 catches, 505 yards, 7 TDs) should find the going much smoother against an inconsistent Crusaders defense. The Celtics must find a way to get the ball more often to Boykin, a Division I recruit.

Dundee-Crown at Jacobs

When: 7:15 p.m.

Outlook: The Chargers and Golden Eagles are both in rarefied air going into their District 300 showdown. Dundee-Crown (6-2, 3-2 Fox Valley Valley) clinched its first trip to the playoffs since 1994 with last week’s 49-21 victory against McHenry. Meanwhile, Jacobs (6-2, 5-0) locked up at least a share of its first conference title since 1979 with a 27-20 win against Huntley. A victory against the Chargers would give the Golden Eagles the outright Fox Valley Valley title and extend their winning streak in the series to 11. Junior Caleb Parson leads an effective ground attack for Dundee-Crown with 620 rushing yards. Senior quarterback Bret Mooney has thrown for 1,601 yards and 17 touchdowns for Jacobs, which has won six straight overall.

Elgin at Batavia

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Outlook: The Maroons face their toughest challenge of the season when they visit the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 10 in this week’s Sun-Times Super 25. A loss would send Elgin (0-8, 0-5 Upstate Eight River) to its first winless season since 1934, when it finished with a 0-7-1 record. Senior Jaylen Clemons has a team-best 50 tackles to lead the defense for the Maroons, who are coming off a 41-30 loss to Streamwood and have held only one opponent under 40 points this year. Batavia (7-1, 6-0) has won 18 straight Upstate Eight River games and can clinch its third straight outright conference title with a win. Quarterback Micah Coffey engineers a balanced offensive attack for the Bulldogs and has thrown for 1,487 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Evergreen Park at Reavis

When: 7 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: Reavis needs a win to guarantee itself a spot in the postseason. The Rams (5-3, 3-2 South Suburban Red), behind QB Jose Romero (59-of-131, 809 yards, 10 TDs) and RBs Tyler Liszewski (134 carries, 625 yards, 6 TDs) and Calvin Jordan, should be able to move the ball against a Mustangs defense that has struggled at times. The key for Reavis will be slowing down Evergreen Park’s explosive offense. QB Sean Ryan, who took over for injured starter John O’Brien in Week 5, is becoming more confident for the Mustangs (8-0, 5-0). No one has been able to slow WR Jacquet McClendon (54 catches, 789 yards, 10 TDs), a Division I recruit. RB Keyshawn Carpenter (185 carries, 1,061 yards, 12 TDs) is explosive out of the backfield.

Glenbard North at Wheaton North

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Keep an eye on future Northwestern teammates Justin Jackson, a RB/DB for Glenbard North and the state’s premier two-way player, and Clayton Thorson, Wheaton North’s strong-armed QB. Jackson has rushed for more than 750 yards just in the past two weeks and is approaching 2,200 yards for the season along with 30 touchdowns. At stake is the DuPage Valley Conference title. No. 7 Glenbard North (7-1, 6-0) is looking for its second consecutive outright crown, while No. 11 Wheaton North (7-1, 5-1) is seeking a second shared championship in three seasons.

Joliet Catholic vs. Benet

When: 7:30 p.m. at Benedictine, HighSchoolCube.com.

Outlook: No. 17 Joliet Catholic (7-1, 5-1 East Suburban Catholic) has survived the loss of its starting QB and most of its offensive line to injuries, thanks in large part to a monster season by RB Mike Ivlow (197 carries, 1,900 yards, 20 TDs). The Hilltoppers hope to be closer to full strength in time for the Class 5A playoffs. In the meantime, the Hilltoppers face a challenge from Benet (6-2, 3-2), which is trying to bounce back from consecutive losses to Nazareth and Marist. QB Jack Beneventi leads the Redwings, whose main goal will be to cut down on turnovers.

Lake Zurich at Stevenson

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: This figured to be the de facto title game in the North Suburban Lake all along, and that’s how the season played out. In a season notable for outstanding defensive teams, No. 3 Lake Zurich (8-0, 6-0) is as good as it gets. Led by Syracuse-bound LB Colton Moskal, the Bears have three shutouts, haven’t allowed more than 16 points in a game and have given up just 54 all season. No. 20 Stevenson (6-2, 6-0) endured a rocky start with losses to Kenosha Indian Trail and No. 8 Homewood-Flossmoor, but has the firepower to make a run in the Class 8A playoffs with QB Willie Bourbon and WRs Matt Morrissey and Cameron Green.

Lincoln-Way West at Lincoln-Way Central

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: West RB Javier Montalvo has been a one-man wrecking crew, averaging 238 yards rushing per game and a whopping 1,432 yards and 18 touchdowns over six games. If Central’s (4-4, 3-3 SouthWest Suburban Red) defense somehow can put the brakes on Montalvo, it would better position itself to spring the upset. West QB Justin Keuch (86-of-151, 1,104 yards, 10 TDs) is a threat through the air. The Knights’ option attack has been gaining steam, thanks in large part to QB Connor Campbell and RB Sean Studer (97carries, 480 yards, 3 TDs). Campbell, though, will need to air it out on occasion to keep the Warriors’ (7-1, 6-0) defense honest.

Lisle at Sandwich

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Indians have been in a virtual playoff run since Week 6, when they dropped a 13-0 decision to Peotone to fall to 2-4. Coach Dusty Behringer’s squad has responded to the challenge by winning two straight and has an impressive 43 playoff points, but needs to beat Lisle (4-4) to return to the postseason, where they certainly belong. Sandwich (4-4) is only team to have beaten Interstate Eight Large champ Plano. Austin Breunig (664 yards rushing) leads a talented committee of running backs who need to eat up time on the clock.

Loyola at St. Rita

When: 7:30 p.m. Ch. 26.2.

Outlook: With dual-threat QB Tommy Mister (1,042 yards, 17 TDs rushing; 840 yards, 6 TDs passing) leading the way, No. 9 St. Rita (7-1, 2-1 Catholic League Blue) has been almost unstoppable offensively with the exception of a 24-3 loss to No. 2 Mount Carmel. No. 1 Loyola (8-0, 3-0) is team capable of shutting down most everyone, so the matchup to watch is Mister vs. the Ramblers’ defense. Loyola’s offense may not have the marquee names of some other Catholic League teams, but QB Jack Penn and RB Julius Holley have made big plays when it counted all season.

Montini at Aurora Central

When: 7 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: The Chargers (6-2, 4-2 Suburban Christian Gold) are coming off their biggest win of the year, a come-from-behind 13-12 decision over arch-rival Marmion, and face their biggest test of the year in another SCC Blue foe, undefeated Montini (8-0, 6-0 Suburban Christian Blue). Coach Chris Andreano’s Broncos are shooting for a fifth straight state championship and sixth overall. And with ACC leaving the league, it will be the last chance in awhile for ACC coach and Montini alum, Brian Casey, to face his former coach. “They present a whole lot of problems, especially with their talented skill people,” Casey said. “We can’t afford to turn the ball over and we have to limit their big plays.”

Naperville Central vs. Naperville North

When: 7:30 p.m. at North Central College

Outlook: The path was different, but both Naperville schools arrive with identical records and on streaks as the Redhawks (5-3, 3-3 DuPage Valley) have dropped three straight and the Huskies (5-3, 4-2) have won four in a row. At this point in the season, both teams know what each brings to the field, and if history is any indication, this will likely be a game that isn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter. Jake Kolbe has been on the cusp the past couple of weeks of rallying the Redhawks to victory. Perhaps Friday is his opportunity to do it. Or, it could be time for DeSean Brown to shine the most for the Huskies.

Neuqua Valley at Bartlett

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: This is only the second time in 14 years Bartlett (3-5, 2-3 Upstate Eight Valley) hasn’t qualified for the playoffs, being eliminated in a 46-6 loss to South Elgin last Saturday. Meanwhile, Neuqua (7-1, 5-0) is playing for momentum and a playoff seed as they try to win a seventh straight game. The Wildcats continue to put the ball in the end zone. They have converted 53 percent on third downs and are averaging just below 45 points a game. Junior quarterback Broc Rutter continues to shine in his debut season, as do the playmakers around him.

Oswego East at Plainfield North

When: 7 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: Coach Tyson LeBlanc’s Wolves (5-3, 4-2 Southwest Prairie Conference) can clinch the school’s first playoff berth with a win at Plainfield North (2-4, 3-5). Despite their record, the Tigers’ offense will challenge a stout Oswego East defense. North has averaged 29 points and beat a Romeoville team 31-19 that tripped up the Wolves last week 21-14. The Tigers have outscored opponents 232-196.

Plainfield South at Plainfield East

When: 7 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: Plainfield East (6-2, 4-2 Southwest Prairie) suffered a blow last week when DL Daniel Jackson, whom coach Mike Romelli planned to nominate for Southwest Prairie Player of the Year, suffered a broken fibula on the first play of the Bengals’ 36-7 victory over Plainfield Central. He is out for the season. East already was thin on the defensive line and will face a South offense, led by QB Kody Voda and RB Josh Harris, that can be explosive. The Cougars (5-3, 4-2) must win to ensure a playoff berth. They lost 35-28 last week to league champion Oswego, whose defense has been dominant. East, a playoff team for the first time, features QB Cole Kotopka and RB Jake Mayon in a quick-strike offense that is healthy.

Romeoville at Minooka

When: 7 p.m.

Outlook: Two SouthWest Prairie teams that are hard to figure collide to conclude the regular season. The difference is Romeoville (4-4, 3-3) must win to qualify for its first playoff berth since 2002, while Minooka (3-5, 2-4) is playing the spoiler role. The Indians ended Plainfield North’s playoff hopes a week ago 52-21 as RB Nate Gunn rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns. That was one week after Minooka’s playoff hopes were dashed in a 44-0 loss to Oswego East. Romeoville stayed in the playoff picture last week and prevented Oswego East from clinching a berth 21-14. Spartans QB Kelvin Jones has passed for 1,098 yards and RBs Miguel Ford and Gil Whitaker have combined to rush for 1,256.

St. Charles East at Larkin

When: 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Field on HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: Three straight losses ended any chance of the Royals sneaking into the playoffs, but they’ll try to send fourth-year coach Mike Scianna out on a high note in his final game before stepping down. Quarterback Kemmerin Blalark is battling a foot injury but has 1,300 passing yards for Larkin (3-5, 2-3 Upstate Eight River), which is coming off a 48-20 loss to St. Charles North. The Saints want to leave nothing to chance as a win will clinch a playoff berth for the second year in a row. Quarterback Jimmy Mitchell has thrown for 1,888 yards and 22 touchdowns this year for St. Charles East (5-3, 3-2), which looks to bounce back from last week’s 47-14 whipping at the hands of Batavia.

St. Edward at St. Francis

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Outlook: Longtime foes square off for the final time as conference opponents when the Green Wave and Spartans clash in the last week of play for the Suburban Christian Conference, which is disbanding after this school year. St. Francis (4-4, 2-4) must win to have a chance of reaching the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. The Spartans ended a four-game skid with last week’s 56-7 victory against Guerin and are led on offense by running back James Butler, who played varsity at Bartlett as a sophomore and is being recruited by several Division I programs. St. Edward (5-3, 3-3) had its three-game win streak end with last week’s 49-21 loss at Marian Central. Senior Davontae Elam is a force on offense with 1,268 rushing yards while senior linebacker Will Bothwell leads the Green Wave defense with 64 tackles.

Sycamore at Yorkville

When: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Foxes (5-3, 2-2 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) could wrap up an automatic playoff berth with a win, but that won’t be easy. Sycamore, coming off an emotional 31-21 win at home against Kaneland, appears driven to wrap up an undefeated season and make a long playoff run. RB Henry Imburgia, who was injured in last week’s 14-7 win over DeKalb, will miss the game but could return the following week if Foxes make playoffs. They’ll need help to boost their playoff point total if they don’t pull off the upset.

Waubonsie Valley at Metea Valley

When: 7:30 p.m. HighSchoolCube.com

Outlook: Waubonsie Valley (6-2, 4-1 Upstate Eight Valley) is playing for seeding and Metea Valley is hoping to score the upset to become playoff eligible and finish above .500. It will be no easy task for the host Mustangs (4-4, 4-1), who look to their seniors to finish strong after just coming up short against Geneva. Neuqua Valley and Naperville Central are the only teams to have slowed the Warriors’ offensive attack. Quarterback Jack Eddy (14 touchdown passes) has speedy weapons around him, including Christian Gibbs. The Mustangs need strong efforts from Blaise Bell and Jay Parker.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Crete-Monee at Rich Central

When: 1 p.m.

Outlook: The winner claims the Southland Conference title outright. Crete-Monee (7-1, 5-0) has relied heavily on its defense, led by Nyles Morgan and Omari Stringer. The Warriors offense has been inconsistent, but remains dangerous behind QB Frank Douglas (98-of-166, 1,005 yards, 11 TDs) and RB Deshaun Smith (63 carries, 637 yards, 3 TDs). Few expected Rich Central (8-0, 5-0) to be in this position. However, the Olympians defense, keyed by Malik Fountain and Michael Ileobanum, has been dominant. Central is going to need big games from QB Michael Hoover (50 carries, 479 yards, 6 TDS; 52-of-89, 928 yards, 6 TDs), RB Ahmad McClellan (103 carries, 855 yards, 18 TDs) and WR Jeremiah Mitchell.

St. Charles North at South Elgin

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Outlook: It’s deja vu all over again as the North Stars go into Week 9 with a 4-4 record and needing a win against the Storm for the second year in a row. Last season South Elgin played the role of spoiler by earning a 14-6 win. St. Charles North is looking for a different result this time as it seeks its first trip to the postseason since 2009, but even with a victory the North Stars figure to be on the bubble among five-win teams hoping to earn a playoff berth. The Storm figures to pose a significant challenge as it is coming off a 46-6 win against rival Bartlett. Senior quarterback Rob Cuda has had a hand in 13 total touchdowns the past two games for South Elgin (3-5), and senior linebacker Nate Marotta leads the team with 41.5 tackles. St. Charles North boasts a formidable ground attack led by senior Evan Kurtz’s 1,015 rushing yards. The North Stars, who defeated Larkin 48-20 last week, lead the all-time series against the Storm 4-3.

Contributing: Mike Clark, Pat Disabato, Dick Goss, Erik Jacobsen, Rick Armstrong, Chris Walker

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