Week 1 Courier News capsules

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BURLINGTON CENTRAL AT HAMPSHIRE

When: 7:15 tonight

Last year: Burlington Central 36, Hampshire 22

Notes: Burlington Central hopes to beat its nearby rival for the third straight year. The Rockets posted a 7-3 record last season, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Senior Ryan Ritchie is back for his third year as Burlington Central’s starting quarterback.

• Hampshire looks to start the 2012 season off on the right foot after posting a 1-8 record for the second straight year in 2011. Senior Grant Bender is a returning All-Fox Valley Fox honoree who will help anchor the offensive and defensive lines. The Whip-Purs haven’t won a season opener since 2007.

Quote: “This will be a great measuring stick to see where we’re at because (Burlington Central) is a really good team.”

— Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Burlington Central

MCHENRY AT LARKIN

When: 7:30 tonight

Last year: McHenry 19, Larkin 7

Notes: McHenry and Larkin square off in Week 1 for the sixth straight year, with the Warriors having won three of the previous five meetings. Dave D’Angelo makes his coaching debut tonight for McHenry, which finished 4-5 last year. Senior receiver Korey Partenheimer has big-play potential.

• The Royals enter the 2012 season hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Larkin posted a 3-6 mark last year. Senior Alex Schabert is a two-time All-Upstate Eight River honoree who will help anchor the offensive and defensive lines.

Quote: “We’re both in the same boat. Both teams have to get off to a good start because of the tough conferences we’re in.”

— Larkin coach Mike Scianna

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: McHenry

ST. EDWARD AT GENOA-KINGSTON

When: 7 tonight

Last year: St. Edward 21, Genoa-Kingston 0

Notes: St. Edward has won four straight season openers. The Green Wave finished 4-5 last year, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Junior running back Devontae Elam is in his third varsity season and ran for 521 yards last year.

• Genoa-Kingston is St. Edward’s only regular-season opponent that isn’t a member of the Suburban Christian Conference. The Cogs are coming off a 1-8 record in 2011, which marked their first season in the Big Northern East. Senior Gabe Williams-Torres headlines a group of seven returning starters for Genoa-Kingston.

Quote: “(Genoa-Kingston) is going to be a lot better than they were last year. We might have beat them 21-0, but we remember it being 7-0 with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.”

— St. Edward coach Mike Rolando

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: St. Edward

DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH AT SOUTH ELGIN

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last year: Downers Grove South 28, South Elgin 7

Notes: South Elgin will roll out a new look after losing a number of key contributors from the team that finished 4-5 last year. Senior Chris Bingham and junior Nate Marotta are both back at linebacker, a position that figures to be a strength for the Storm. South Elgin hopes to return to the playoffs for the third time in four years.

• Downers Grove South graduated a big group of seniors who helped the Mustangs go 10-2 and reach the quarterfinals of the Class 8A playoffs, where they lost to eventual state champion Bolingbrook. Benet transfer Mike Zebold is one of three quarterbacks in the mix to lead the offense. Downers Grove South is seeking its 16th straight trip to the playoffs this fall.

Quote: “We were new as opponents last year when we played, and I think both rosters will look a lot different this year because I know they had quite a bit of turnover like us.”

— South Elgin coach Dale Schabert

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Downers Grove South

WHEATON NORTH AT BARTLETT

When: 7:30 tonight

Last year: Wheaton North 26, Bartlett 24

Notes: Wheaton North begins the season ranked No. 14 in the Sun-Times Super 25. The Falcons look to improve on last year’s 8-3 finish that ended with a loss to eventual Class 7A state champion Rockford Boylan in the second round of the state playoffs. Senior quarterback John Peltz is back after throwing for 2,030 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.

• Bartlett returns much of its defense from last year’s squad that finished 7-3 and won the Upstate Eight Valley title, including senior defensive end Chris Kantzavelos, a Central Michigan recruit. On the other side of the ball, the Hawks have a new-look offense after losing all of their top playmakers from last season. Bartlett seeks its 12th trip to the playoffs in 13 years this fall.

Quote: “I think (Wheaton North) is one of the toughest teams in the state. It’ll be interesting and we’ll have our hands full.”

— Bartlett coach Tom Meaney

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Wheaton North

STREAMWOOD AT HOFFMAN ESTATES

When: 7 tonight

Last year: Streamwood 34, Hoffman Estates 17

Notes: Streamwood enters the season looking to build off last year’s 6-4 finish, which included the program’s first playoff appearance since 2002. Senior receiver Blake Holder committed to Northern Illinois during the summer and is one of several talented returning players. Streamwood is trying to make repeat playoff appearances for the first time since 1988.

• Hoffman Estates looks for a fresh start this season under new head coach Eric Ilich, who previously served as a varsity assistant at Bartlett. Hoffman Estates is coming off its second 0-9 finish in three years and hasn’t had a winning season since 2000.

Quote: “That first game for me has always been more about what you do and not the opponent. You’ve got to go out and do those little things well.”

— Streamwood coach Cal Cummins

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Streamwood

ST. CHARLES NORTH AT HINSDALE CENTRAL

When: 7:30 tonight

Last year: Hinsdale Central 27, St. Charles North 26 (OT)

Notes: St. Charles North begins coach Mark Gould’s 12th and final season hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The North Stars are coming off a 2-7 showing last year, which matched the worst record in program history. RSenior running back George Edlund is back after displaying big-play ability as a junior.

• Hinsdale Central is ranked No. 16 in the Sun-Times Super 25 going into the 2012 campaign. Senior QB Brian Owens is back after throwing for 1,843 yards as a junior. The Red Devils posted a 6-4 record last year, reaching the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 years.

Quote: “(Hinsdale Central) is going to come out and hit you. They’re always a good team.”

— St. Charles North coach Mark Gould

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Hinsdale Central

ST. CHARLES EAST AT CARY-GROVE

When: 7:30 tonight

Last year: Cary-Grove 28, St. Charles East 0

Notes: St. Charles East stumbled to an 0-5 start each of the past two seasons, so getting off to a better start is a top priority this year. Senior fullback/linebacker Joe Hoscheit is a difference maker on both sides of the ball. The Saints finished 3-6 last year but look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 this fall.

• Cary-Grove finished 8-3 in 2011 and begins this season ranked No. 10 in the AP Class 7A state poll. The Trojans have reached the second round of the playoffs in each of the past eight years. Senior fullback Patrick O’Malley and senior running back Ryan Mahoney are back for their third seasons in Cary-Grove’s flexbone option offense.

Quote: “Life is about challenges. If you play someone that’s great, you can get the most out of yourself.”

— St. Charles East coach Mike Fields

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Cary-Grove

HUNTLEY AT CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL

When: 7:15 tonight

Last year: Crystal Lake Central 28, Huntley 6

Notes: Huntley hopes to make a winner of coach John Hart in his debut at the school. Hart brings with him a record of success from his days as a coach in Indiana and downstate Illinois, and he’ll try to help the Red Raiders improve on last year’s 2-7 finish. Senior receiver Bryce Beschorner is one of several key returners on offense.

• Crystal Lake Central posted a 6-4 record and qualified for the postseason for the second straight year in 2011. The Tigers also claimed a share of the Fox Valley Fox title. Senior running back Matt MacAline is back to help lead Crystal Lake Central’s offense.

Quote: “If we handle adversity well, I really like this football team and I think good things will happen.”

— Huntley coach John Hart

Erik Jacobsen’s pick: Huntley

ERIK JACOBSEN’S RECORD

2011: 97-13

2010: 91-23

2009: 79-32

2008: 89-29

2007: 89-27

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