Rick Armstrong’s football notebook

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Mooseheart’s road to a third straight playoff appearance has a steep climb.

The 4-2 Red Ramblers, who need one more win to become playoff eligible and two to guarantee a postseason spot, begin the final third of the season with games against the top three teams in their league.

They play at defending Northeastern Athletic Conference champion Ottawa Marquette (6-0) Friday night, host second place Rockford Christian Life (5-1) the following week and finish at home with Chicago Hope Academy (4-2).

“We’ve got some health concerns,” said coach Gary Urwiler after his team was held scoreless in the second half of last week’s 23-16 homecoming loss to Alden-Hebron.

“We have some physical health concerns but also we’re concerned about some things like our team unity.

“We’ve got some work to do this week and hopefully we’ll be able to tackle that together and come back with a new attitude. Games like this hurt and sting a lot.”

Player of the Week

Senior running back Jamaria Littleton rushed 35 times for 186 yards with touchdown runs of three and two yards in East Aurora’s 25-22 win at Elgin, which ended the Tomcats’ 44-game losing streak.

Ups and downs

Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe thought his team had a letdown to start last week’s game against Marmion but was also impressed with Dan Thorpe’s team.

“(The previous) week was a real emotional win for us. We played a great game against St. Francis and really held, arguably the best back in the state (James Butler) to about 40 yards and we didn’t match that emotion,” said Beebe. “You could see it in the pregame, we didn’t have that ‘it’ factor.

“At halftime, I challenged ‘em, very quietly. I made my point and they got the point. We’ll build on that. … (Marmion) is a good football team. They played well against Montini, (losing) 27-3 doesn’t indicate how close that game was. That score easily could have been a whole lot different.”

Good medicine

Tests vs. St. Charles North (3-3, 2-2), St. Charles East (4-2, 2-1) and winless Elgin stand in the way of a third straight perfect run through the Upstate Eight River for Batavia (5-1, 3-0).

Getting everyone back healthy on defense has coach Dennis Piron feeling better.

“(LB Josh) Leonhard kind of filled when some guys were hurt and now we’ve got (LB Donavan) Kilker back and (LB) Anthony (Thielk) is finally back to 100 percent now and looks as good as he has all year,” said Piron.

“(DE James) Millette is back now after a couple weeks and (DT Ryan) Minnitti could have played today, we were just being a little cautious with him from last week. Next week, we’ll show you Batavia defense at full speed for the first time since, June (and summer workouts).”

Piron’s team did not punt once in its win over Larkin but was hurt by penalties (10-109 yards), especially in the first half.

“At halftime we had six holding calls, four of which brought back about a hundred yards of offense,” the coach said. “That was a really big part of the first half. Once we eliminated that, things were a lot better in the second half.”

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