High school football’s opening night is two months from Sunday, and it is never too early to start marking the calendar with some of the top games to watch.
The IHSA recently released the 2013 football schedule. In addition to the usual rivalry games and conference showdowns, there is a notable addition on the local scene with Westminster Christian set to play its first varsity season this fall.
The Warriors will play all nine of their games against fellow Northeastern Athletic opponents. Their varsity debut comes Aug. 31, when they travel to play a Saturday afternoon contest at Luther North in Chicago.
At the other end of the spectrum, the area’s longest running rivalry will renew itself in Week 3 when Elgin hosts Larkin in the annual Town Jug game.
The showdown will be played under the Friday night lights for the second straight year, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at Memorial Field. The Royals have won two straight against the Maroons and own a 32-19 lead in the all-time series.
Longtime rivals Burlington Central and Hampshire will square off opening night Aug. 30 as the host Rockets go for their third straight win in the series.
The final week of the regular season will feature the District 300 showdown between Dundee-Crown and Jacobs on Oct. 25. The host Golden Eagles have won 10 in a row against their rivals, but the Chargers could be in line for a breakthrough if they continue to build on the major gains they made in 2012.
Other key rivalry games to watch include Bartlett paying a visit to South Elgin on Oct. 19 for a Saturday afternoon game in Week 8. St. Charles North travels across town to play St. Charles East in Week 3 on Sept. 13 as the Saints will be vying for their third straight win in the series.
Huntley and St. Charles East both have noteworthy changes to their nonconference schedules at the beginning of the season.
With second-year coach John Hart at the helm, the Red Raiders kick off their campaign by hosting Bartlett on Aug. 30 in an intriguing nonconference clash. Huntley then travels to play at Elgin in Week 2.
St. Charles East has two tough tests right off the bat as it visits South Elgin in Week 1 and hosts Jacobs in Week 2. Both games feature new nonconference opponents for the Saints.
There are three new coaches in the area this year as Kyle Rohde takes over at Elgin, Mark Orszula takes the reins at Streamwood and Mark Pomazak assumes the top spot at St. Charles North.
Rohde’s debut will come when the Maroons visit Dundee-Crown in Week 1, and Orszula’s Sabres play host to Hoffman Estates in their opener. The North Stars visit Elk Grove for their first game, which provides an interesting plot twist as Pomazak will make his head coaching debut against the school where he spent the past 10 years as an assistant.
The 2013 season marks the end of the road for the Suburban Christian Conference with St. Edward and six other SCC schools set to leave for the Metro Suburban in 2014. The Green Wave’s road games at Marian Central, Marmion and St. Francis will mark the end of an era for the longtime league foes as those three schools will move to the Chicago Catholic League in 2014.
GAMES TO WATCH IN 2013
Hampshire at Burlington Central, 7 p.m. on Aug. 30
Rockets go for third straight win against Whip-Purs.
Mooseheart at Westminster Christian, 1 p.m. on Sept. 7
First-ever varsity home game for Warriors.
Larkin at Elgin, 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13
Maroons will try to add to 32-19 lead in Town Jug series.
Immaculate Conception at St. Edward, 7 p.m. on Sept. 20
Key game for Green Wave in quest for return to playoffs.
Huntley at Dundee-Crown, 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 27
Red Raiders won 31-28 thriller vs. Chargers last year.
Streamwood at St. Charles North, 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4
UEC River clash between teams with new coaches.
Burlington Central at Richmond-Burton, 7 p.m. on Oct. 11
These teams usually in BNC East title hunt late in season.
Bartlett at South Elgin, 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 19
Playoff positioning could be at stake as rivals collide.
Dundee-Crown at Jacobs, 7:15 p.m. on Oct. 25
Eagles have won 10 straight against rival Chargers.