Vernon Hills (0-1) at Larkin (0-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Key players: Vernon Hills – QB Connor McNamara, RB/LB Richard Clark. Larkin – RB/DB Chevelle Clements, WR/DB A.J. Hunter.
Outlook: Cameron Tomlin’s return to the lineup will help, but Larkin had many holes to plug defensively after last week in a 61-12 loss when the defensive ends and safeties struggled. Playing Vernon Hills will be a different type of challenge. “They’re 180 degrees different than McHenry,” Larkin coach Dragan Teonic said. “They’ll go five receivers all over the field. It’s good preparation for conference because everyone does something different.” Vernon Hills lost to DeKalb 33-14 last week.
Elgin (0-1) at Huntley (1-0), 7:15 p.m. Friday
Last year: Huntley 48, Elgin 16
Key players: Elgin – QB/WR Dontrell Gaddy, QB/WR Terrance Miller-Allen. Huntley – DB Tim Ryan, LB Aaron Rutkowski.
Outlook: Elgin coach Kyle Rohde has a bit of a QB controversy, with Miller-Allen outplaying starter Gaddy last week statistically, but turning the ball over twice. “I don’t like the two-quarterback system or anything like it,” Rohde said. “I think that’s tough to run, so I’ll have to make a choice and stick with a guy.” Elgin’s problems could be the line against a Huntley team boasting numbers and size. Elgin OL Ariel Barazza (foot) is an injury question mark. Huntley beat Bartlett 17-7 last week and coach John Hart’s run defense dominated, allowing only 51 yards.
South Elgin (1-0) at Crystal Lake South (0-1), 7:15 p.m. Friday
Last year: Did not play.
Key players: South Elgin – QB Hayden Nelson, RB Shawn Griffin. Crystal Lake South – QB Payton Minogue, DB Joe Ahsmann.
Outlook: South Elgin’s offense exploded on St. Charles East for 501 yards behind Griffin’s 101 rushing and Nelson’s 333 passing, but doing it against a stronger Gators defense will be another matter. Although South got shut out 32-0 by Marian Central last week, Marian is fifth in the AP Class 5A poll and has a D-1 QB. One of South’s strengths is a defensive secondary with three seniors, so the Storm need to get the ground game going and play defensively like last week when they allowed only 2.5 yards per play.
Streamwood (0-1) at Dundee-Crown (1-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last year: Dundee-Crown 59, Streamwood 14
Key players: Streamwood – QB Max Draper, WR Noah Polich. Dundee-Crown – RB/S Malik Dunner, LB Zach Thelen.
Outlook: Dundee-Crown’s Dunner rushed for 177 yards last week but looked capable of more. The Chargers can also run Caleb Parson, who has been nursing an ankle injury, or power back Brandon Brooks. QB Jeff Atherton was sharper than his stats showed against Elgin in a 36-22 win, as he had three drops, including a sure TD. “We definitely have to respect their passing, but (Dunner) is a fantastic runner and they’re an offense committed to the run; we’ll have to stop that,” Sabres coach Mark Orszula said. Streamwood was better than a 42-25 loss to Hoffman Estates showed. The Sabres fell behind 21-0 immediately, but made a game of it behind Draper (28-of-42, 321 yards). “Our defense has to start faster is the big thing,” Orszula said.
Grayslake North (1-0) at Hampshire (1-0), 7:15 p.m. Friday
Last year: Grayslake North 42, Hampshire 14
Key players: Grayslake North – QB Merrick Gentile, RB Titus Booker. Hampshire – QB Nick Mohlman, WR Xavier Bennett.
Outlook: Dealing with Grayslake North’s speed will be the big task for Hampshire’s defense and for Mohlman when throwing against the North secondary. Booker is an Indiana recruit, and there is plenty of quickness at wideout. Grayslake North’s offense has dominated this Fox Valley Fox series, winning all three matchups and scoring no less than 42 in all three games.