Previews of Week 7’s top five high school football games

Breaking down the best games of Week 7.

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Loyola’s Jake Gonzalez (16) chases down a Minooka ball carrier.

Loyola’s Jake Gonzalez (16) chases down a Minooka ball carrier.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Yorkville at Minooka, 7 p.m. Friday

Yorkville (6-0, 2-0 Southwest Prairie West) is the smallest school in either division of its 12-team conference, but the Foxes haven’t played like it. Jake Polowy is a playmaker on defense and special teams -- he has returned six interceptions for touchdowns in his varsity career and had a blocked punt and blocked punt recovery last week against Oswego East. Minooka (6-0, 2-0) has found success running behind a veteran offensive line with four returning starters. Quarterback Seth Lehr also was effective in last week’s win over Oswego East with 261 total yards.

No. 25 St. Charles East at No. 7 Batavia, 7:30 p.m. Friday

It’s the second of a demanding back-to-back for St. Charles East (5-1, 3-1 DuKane), which beat crosstown rival St. Charles North last week for the first time since 2016. The Saints defense was the difference in that one, getting five interceptions among six takeaways. Cole Conn had a big game on the other side of the ball, running for 132 yards and four TDs. Batavia (6-0, 4-0) has a 17-game conference winning streak dating back to its final season in the Upstate Eight River. Two-way star Quinn Urwiler has 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 344 total yards for the Bulldogs.

Rolling Meadows at Prospect, 7:30 p.m. Friday

David Zieba, a 6-4 safety, has been a key for Rolling Meadows’ ball-hawking defense. Zieba had three interceptions in a double-overtime win over Deerfield in Week 3 for the Mustangs, who are allowing 12.7 points a game. With wins here and against 0-6 Wheeling next week, Rolling Meadows could be heading into a battle of unbeatens against Hersey in Week 9. Prospect (5-1, 1-1) lost 45-28 to Hersey last week despite big games from quarterback Gary Moeller (290 yards) and running back Luke Zardzin (204 yards).

St. Francis at Riverside-Brookfield, 7:15 p.m. Friday

St. Francis (5-1, 3-0 Metro Suburban Blue) is just four points away from an unbeaten record and one week away from a showdown with three-time defending state champ IC Catholic. Quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse has passed for 21 touchdowns, including nine in the past two weeks against Bishop McNamara and Aurora Christian. Riverside-Brookfield (5-1, 2-1) has bounced back from a 2-7 finish last fall to become playoff-eligible for the fifth time in six years. Running back Luke Gentile and quarterback Matthew Torres have been productive for the Bulldogs.

Benet at No. 4 Loyola, 1:30 p,m. Saturday

Juniors Vaughn Pemberton and JT Thomas have emerged from running back and quarterback competitions, respectively, to help solidify Loyola’s offense. Add a young but improving defense and Loyola (4-2) should be in the thick of the Class 8A playoff picture again. This will be the toughest test so far for Benet (6-0), which closes with St. Rita and Nazareth. The Redwings have a pair of Division I recruits in defensive end Jacob Snell (Miami, Ohio) and long snapper Aidan Hall (Illinois). 

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