Conference play revs up all around the area this week, and the Upstate Eight River kicks things off with three big rivalry games Friday night as Elgin takes on Larkin, Geneva hosts Batavia and St. Charles North ventures across town to play St. Charles East.
The St. Charles showdown in particular will showcase some top-tier talent with Division-I caliber players lining up for both teams.
The North Stars boast Michigan State recruit Chase Gianacakos at left tackle and Ball State recruit Garret Johnson at tight end and defensive end. Another player receiving attention from college coaches is senior running back Evan Kurtz, who ran for 217 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win against Plainfield Central.
St. Charles East’s Brennan Bosch has an offer from Illinois, and the 6-foot-1, 250-pound offensive lineman is fielding interest from top programs all across the country as he looks to follow in the footsteps of older brother Kyle Bosch, a lineman at Michigan. Another hot commodity for the Saints is senior receiver/defensive back Brannon Barry, who has an offer from Western Illinois and is on the radar for several other schools.
“This area produces some great athletes in every sport, and I think this season especially on the football field you’re going to see going to see good athletes on both sides of the ball,” said first-year St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak. “Anytime you can bring together two schools who share the same zip code it makes for a great atmosphere, and I look forward to being a part of it.”
St. Charles East (2-0) has won five straight against St. Charles North (1-1) and owns a 9-4 lead in the all-time series. Saints coach Mike Fields is a perfect 4-0 against the North Stars, but three of those victories came by two points or less.
“They’ve all been close games and they’ve all gone down to the wire, and I expect this one will as well,” Fields said.
Green Wave sticking with two quaterbacks for now
St. Edward juniors Bryan O’Neill and Joe Mullen split the snaps at quarterback in the Green Wave’s first two games of the season, and the plan is to take the same approach in Friday’s Suburban Christian opener at Marmion.
“We’ve had two games to evaluate them, and each guy has strengths that can be used in certain situations over the other,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “We still plan on using both of them, but there may be times where we use one more than the other depending on the circumstances. I think they can both be effective leading our team.”
• Burlington Central will try to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2010 when it hosts Rockford Christian (0-2) on Friday. The Rockets routed the Royal Lions 36-3 last season.
• Huntley (2-0) hosts Cary-Grove (0-2) on Friday in a meeting of Fox Valley Valley title hopefuls. The Red Raiders are 0-8 all-time against the Trojans.
• The road gets no easier this week for South Elgin (0-2) as it visits Neuqua Valley (1-1). The Wildcats are still ranked No. 7 in this week’s Class 8A state poll despite last week’s 58-35 loss to Naperville Central.
• Bartlett (0-2) will try to pick up its first win of the season Friday when it visits East Aurora (0-2), which is mired in a 39-game losing streak that dates to 2008.
• Westminster Christian (0-2) continues its difficult stretch to start the season when it visits Ottawa Marquette (2-0) on Friday. The Crusaders are the defending Northeastern Athletic champions and represent the third straight 2012 playoff qualifier on the schedule for the Warriors.