Erik Jacobsen’s football notebook

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Growing pains were to be expected this fall for Bartlett with only four starters back from last year’s team.

The lack of experience showed in back-to-back losses against Huntley and Notre Dame to start the season, but the Hawks appear to be turning the corner after last week’s 40-12 win at East Aurora.

Next up is a showdown against Metea Valley on Friday at Millennium Field. Bartlett is a perfect 3-0 all-time against the Mustangs.

“We feel like we’re improving and getting better,” Bartlett coach Tom Meaney said. “We’re doing more team tackling and being more aggressive on defense despite having a lot of younger kids and first-year kids on the varsity.”

Meaney singled out senior linebacker Chris Janssen for his leadership with the young defense. Janssen is the lone returning starter for the unit and has seven tackles and a forced fumble through three games.

On offense the Hawks will welcome the arrival of senior running back Matt Callahan this week after he missed the first three games for team reasons. Callahan joins a crowded backfield that includes seniors Titus Ayomidele and Hurshel Ross and sophomore Nolan Bernat, all of whom ran for at least 80 yards in the win against the Tomcats.

Personnel changes work for Rockets

The first two weeks of the season weren’t kind to Burlington Central, which in addition to suffering two lopsided defeats also endured a rash of injuries.

Junior running back Trevor Davison is out indefinitely with a deep bone bruise just below his knee cap, and sophomore running back/defensive back Adam Skirmont could be done for the year after sustaining internal injuries to his liver and kidneys. On top of that, the Rockets were without standout running back/linebacker Reilly Marino in a Week 2 loss at Stillman Valley due to an ankle injury.

Those absences prompted some changes for Burlington Central last week, and the results were positive in a 34-0 victory against Rockford Christian. Chief among the lineup moves was the installment of senior Parth Patel as the starting quarterback as senior Casey Matthews switched from being under center to playing a key role as running back and receiver.

“We did some things better,” Burlington Central coach Rich Crabel said. “Granted it wasn’t against the same caliber of teams we faced the first two weeks, but we maybe have some people in the right spots to put things together just a little bit more effectively.”

Patel completed 9 of 12 passes in the triumph, and Marino was also back in the mix, racking up 102 yards on 18 carries.

The Rockets have a tough test in store this week as they welcome undefeated Harvard on Friday. Led by retiring coach Tim Haak, the Hornets will be trying to end a streak of three straight losses against Burlington Central.

Scianna’s status up in air after surgery

Larkin coach Mike Scianna underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the torn ACL in his left knee he suffered during practice last week. His absence left offensive coordinator Matt Freeseman and defensive coordinator Terry Schabert to run the show at practice this week.

“I’m hoping to return Friday,” Scianna said prior to the surgery. “I’ve got my offensive and defensive coordinators doing their jobs, so hopefully things will go smoothly. I’m hoping to be on the sidelines, but I told the kids I’m not promising anything.”

Quick hits

  • South Elgin’s home game against East Aurora has been pushed back to 3 p.m. Saturday to accommodate ACT testing in the morning.
  • The task gets no easier for winless Streamwood on Saturday when it hosts Batavia, which is ranked No. 12 in this week’s Sun-Times Super 25. The Sabres lost to the Bulldogs the past three years by a combined score of 132-6.
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