The playing field in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division is more level than ever this season, but at the moment Jacobs enjoys a slight advantage on most of the field.
Winners of three straight, the Golden Eagles are tied with defending division champion Cary-Grove atop the FVC Valley standings going into the second half of the season.
The emergence of Dundee-Crown as a force to be reckoned with this year means there is no break in the conference schedule as all seven teams in the league boast records of 2-3 or better and have legitimate designs on reaching the playoffs.
Jacobs (3-2, 2-0) controls its own destiny in the title chase going into a grueling stretch that starts with Friday’s showdown at Crystal Lake South and continues with games against Cary-Grove, Huntley and Dundee-Crown to finish the regular season. A victory this week would be the first for the Golden Eagles in six meetings against the Gators dating to 2007.
“This is a big game for us, and it keeps us on top of our conference if we can get it,” Jacobs coach Bill Mitz said. “We’ve got four playoff-type games in a row coming up because all four teams we play will be fighting to get in the playoffs.”
Aerial attack proving lethal for Saints
St. Charles East quarterback Jimmy Mitchell has been on an absolute tear since the first game of the season for a Saints offense that is averaging 34.8 points. The senior signal caller has completed 79 of 139 passes and leads the area with 1,213 passing yards and 17 touchdowns going into Friday’s trip to Geneva.
It doesn’t hurt that Mitchell has a stable of capable receivers in Brannon Barry, Phil Hopper, Mitch Munroe and Mo Flanigan, all of whom have at least 15 catches.
“We’re looking to be efficient right now and take whatever the defense is giving us,” St. Charles East coach Mike Fields said. “I’d like to see us run the ball a little bit better, but from the passing standpoint, Jimmy has started off on a roll and is really spreading the wealth.”
No-frills approach works for Chargers
Dundee-Crown didn’t complete any of its four pass attempts and was outgained 324-133 in last week’s 17-14 victory against Huntley. From the outside it seemed like a case of winning ugly, but for Chargers coach Vito Andriola the performance was a thing of beauty.
“We’re not the most talented team, so we look at every game individually and identify what we have to do to win,” Andriola said. “Against Huntley we talked about managing the game and not turning the ball over, and we did that.”
Warriors pumped for game under lights
Westminster Christian is pulling out all the stops for its homecoming game this week by bringing in portable lights to accommodate a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday night against Rockford Christian-Life.
“It’s our first homecoming in school history for football,” Westminster Christian coach John Davis said. “There are a lot of festivities going on and the guys are working hard to get geared up for the game.”
Whip-Purs hoping to bounce back
There was no sugarcoating Hampshire’s 42-14 loss at Grayslake North last week. Tim Jansen, the area’s leading receiver, was held to only two catches for 13 yards in what was a rough showing all around.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call,” Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. “It showed there is a lot of work to be done and we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Next up for the Whip-Purs is the challenge of stopping Woodstock North’s option attack in a home game Friday. Hampshire (3-2) is seeking its first win in three tries against the Thunder (1-4).
•Burlington Central quarterback Casey Matthews suffered a fractured left wrist on his non-throwing hand in last week’s loss to Genoa-Kingston, but he is anticipated to play this Friday against Marengo.
•St. Charles East gets senior tailback Erik Anderson back from injury this week, but it loses linebacker/kicker Pat Frio to an ailment. Anderson will handle kicking duties in Frio’s absence.
•Dundee-Crown expects to have senior tackle Trent Hanselmann back from injury this week against Grayslake Central, but senior Cordero Parson will remain sidelined for team reasons.
•St. Edward is bracing to be without defensive lineman Josh VohnRohr for the rest of the season after the junior tore ligaments in his knee during last week’s win against Aurora Central Catholic. VohnRohr had 14 tackles and three sacks this season.
•Elgin senior lineman Zach Rago missed the past two games with an illness but is expected to return to action Friday against East Aurora.