An inside look at sports happenings from the local scene to the professional ranks by the sports staff at The Courier News.

Week 6 Football Previews

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Erik Jacobsen and Andy Rohr take a look around the area in this week's edition of Prep Football Weekly. Check out the video and Erik's story on the Game of the Week between St. Charles North and South Elgin.

Sports editor R.J. Gerber also takes a look at St. Charles East's Wes Allen and Huntley's Jordan Neukirch, and how they're both helping their teams into the playoff picture.


Elgin (0-5) at Bartlett (5-0), 7:30 tonight



“Cook is a heck of a ballplayer. We have to shut down Cook, (Tim) Newcombe and Roth. Roth is quite a jitterbug sometimes when he runs out of that shotgun. We really need to concentrate on breaking down and making the sure tackle. We just need to make sure we keep the big people in front of us and make sure they earn touchdowns.”
­— Bartlett coach Tom Meaney

Last Year: Bartlett 38, Elgin 35
Last Week: Waubonsie Valley 46, Elgin 21; Bartlett 21, St. Charles North 7
Scouting Elgin: The Maroons come into tonight’s game hoping to avoid their first 0-6 start since the 1981 season. Elgin is struggling defensively, allowing 47.4 points per game and 405.4 yards per game. Offensively, senior quarterback Tom Roth leads the area with 862 passing yards. Jamal Cook leads the area in receiving yards, and the talented receiver is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He’s averaging 20 yards per catch for the season. While the aerial attack is working for Elgin, its ground game is lacking. The Maroons have only 258 rushing yards on 105 attempts for the season and are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. Coach Dave Bierman said his team is focusing on greater consistency this week.
Scouting Bartlett: The Hawks continued their best start in school history with an impressive win against Upstate Eight Conference rival St. Charles North last week. Bartlett remained No. 5 in the Class 8A state poll following the triumph. The Hawks continue to impress on both sides of the ball. Bartlett’s defense is particularly stout against the run, limiting opponents to only 2.7 yards per carry. Several players on the defensive line are nursing injuries sustained in last week’s game. On offense, quarterback Josh Hasenberg leads a versatile attack. He’s second in the area with 804 passing yards. His top targets are senior receivers Cory Brown and Alex VanNess. The Hawks have won six straight against Elgin and are 6-4 in the all-time series.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Bartlett


Streamwood (1-4) at Larkin (2-3) 7:30 tonight



“When I watch film on Streamwood I see a lot of really tough kids who play hard. They’ve got a few guys who I think would definitely start for any high school team in this area and be one of their top players. We’ve definitely got to rise a major challenge this week, especially considering how well (Streamwood) played last week against East Aurora.”
Larkin coach Matt Gehrig

Last Year: Larkin 40, Streamwood 7
Last Week: Streamwood 40, East Aurora 21; Neuqua Valley 38, Larkin 12
Scouting Streamwood: The Sabres put together their best effort of the season last week and were rewarded with their first victory of the year. After scoring only 19 points in the first four weeks of the season, Streamwood struck for 20 points in the second quarter against East Aurora to blow the game open. Offensively, junior Wayne Holloway ran for 124 yards and junior Derrick King ran for 89 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way. Defensively, the Sabres held the Tomcats to only 134 yards of total offense. Streamwood will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since winning three straight early in the 2003 season. That 2003 campaign also marks the last time the Sabres won more than one game in a single season.
Scouting Larkin: The Royals have enjoyed the upper hand against Streamwood in recent years, winning 13 of the past 14 meetings between the schools dating to the 1990 season. Larkin came out with a new look on offense last week against Neuqua Valley as senior Justin Kalusa started at quarterback. Senior Jeff Saurbaugh, who started at QB the first four weeks of the year, lined up alongside Kalusa in the team’s new-look shotgun formation. However, defense is where the Royals are winning and losing games this season. In their three losses they’ve allowed an average of 387 yards and 30.3 points per game. Meanwhile, in their two wins they’ve held opponents to 257.5 yards and 19.5 points per game.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Larkin


Dundee-Crown (3-2) at Crystal Lake South (4-1), 7:45 tonight


“We’ve got to play very, very well if we want to hang with these guys. It’s a typical Crystal Lake South team. They are big, fast and physical. If you want to beat them, you’d better play well, because if you don’t play well you’ll get killed.”
D-C coach Mike Davis

Last Year: Crystal Lake South 41, D-C 7
Last Week: Woodstock 31, D-C 14; Crystal Lake South 31, McHenry 0
Scouting D-C: Chargers coach Mike Davis was encouraged that his team had a chance to pull within three points in the fourth quarter of last week’s game. However, he wasn’t encouraged by the fact that four costly interceptions played a big part in denying D-C its fourth win of the year. The Chargers will try to remain above .500 with a win this week. However, they’ll have to do so without senior receiver Justin Strzelczyk, who is out for tonight’s game after sustaining an injury last week. Senior running back Ian Salvatini is D-C’s top playmaker. He’s averaging 85.4 rushing yards per game. The combined records of the three teams the Chargers beat this season are 1-14 while the combined records of the two teams they lost to are 9-1.
Scouting Crystal Lake South: A strong defensive effort throughout and an offensive outburst late in the third quarter lifted the Gators to their third straight win last week. Crystal Lake South held McHenry to only 85 yards of offense in that contest. The Gators can become playoff eligible for the seventh year in a row with a win. Colin Masterson and Derek Mortensen are Crystal Lake South’s top two rushers. Masterson leads the team with 449 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 57 carries. Quarterback Drew Ormseth has 439 passing yards on the season. The Gators have won three in a row against D-C and seven of the past eight meetings between the schools.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Crystal Lake South


Burlington Central (1-4) at Richmond-Burton (1-4), 7 tonight

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“We usually have a defensive battle (against Richmond-Burton), and I anticipate the same type of thing this year. But we’ve taken some steps and our kids have the right mind set where we’ve set a goal to go and win as many of these conference games as we can. The goal is to go up there, be competitive and try to win the game.”­
Central coach Aaron Wichman

Last Year: Central 15, Richmond-Burton 12
Last Week: Central 41, North Boone 14; Hampshire 21, Richmond-Burton 11
Scouting Central: A new look at quarterback helped Central pick up its first victory of the season last week. Junior Tim Botsford split the snaps with sophomore Tim Maroder, the primary signal caller the first four weeks of the season. Botsford completed 4 of 4 passes for 78 yards and three touchdowns and Maroder completed 6 of 8 passes for 50 yards. Senior Tommy Gast even got in on the action, completing a touchdown pass on his only throw of the game. Expect more of the same this week as Central looks to keep teams off balance by complementing its traditional option running game with a new-look, multi-faceted passing attack. Defensively, Central held North Boone to only 124 yards of total offense and six first downs last week. Senior linebacker Frank Wleklinski leads the unit with 34 tackles while senior linebacker Jeremy Lee has 21 tackles on the season.
Scouting Richmond-Burton: Like Central, Richmond-Burton enters tonight’s game needing a win to keep its faint playoff hopes alive. Richmond-Burton is struggling offensively, averaging only 12.6 points per game. It was held to only 185 total yards in last week’s loss to Hampshire. Justin Russell and Brandon Sanko are Richmond-Burton’s top rushing threats. Tonight’s game is Richmond-Burton’s final home game of the season. Central beat Richmond-Burton in three of the past four meetings between the schools.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Central


Harvard (3-2) at Hampshire (2-3), 7 tonight

“As always, (Harvard) plays real good defense. That’s kind of been their trademark. So we need to get something established up front. Offensively, they execute very well. They are just a very well balanced team.”
­— Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh

Last Year: Harvard 26, Hampshire 13
Last Week: Harvard 40, Marengo 7; Hampshire 21, Richmond-Burton 11
Scouting Harvard: Tonight’s game could go a long way towards deciding whether the Hornets will defend their 2007 Big Northern Conference East Division title. After a shaky 1-2 start to the season, Harvard has rebounded by outscoring its past two opponents 72-7. The Hornets allowed only 121 yards of offense in last week’s win. A strong ground game is the key for Harvard’s offense. Dustin Binz (514 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns), Vince Gabrys (313 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns) and Phillip Towne (241 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns) led the balanced attack. The Hornets are eyeing their fifth straight trip to the postseason. They reached the state quarterfinals in each of the past two years.
Scouting Hampshire: The Whip-Purs will be trying to beat Harvard for the first time since 2001 and only the second time since 1986. The teams met only 10 times since that 1986 season, and Hampshire is 1-9 in those contests. Following an 0-3 start to the season, the Whips resurrected their postseason hopes with back-to-back wins against Byron and Richmond-Burton. An aggressive ground attack keyed those two wins. Hampshire ran for 575 yards on 104 carries the past two weeks with senior running back Joe Moore leading the way. Defensively, senior James Goebbert leads the Whips with 20 unassisted tackles while senior Even Brenner — who also starts at quarterback — has 12 unassisted tackles.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Hampshire


Driscoll (4-1) at St. Edward (3-2), 7 tonight

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“We need to learn how to win and we need to learn how to control our mental laspes. If we can do that, I think we can be competitive with anybody left on our schedule. At this point, I think we’re a team that can beat anybody. We may not be favored in a lot of games, but if teams don’t come prepared, I think we’re a team that can surprise anybody.”­
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando

Last Year: Driscoll 42, St. Edward 16
Last Week: Driscoll 28, Immaculate Conception 0; Marian Central 28, St. Edward 7
Scouting Driscoll: With seven consecutive state championships, the Highlanders’ record speaks for itself. However, there is a new look at Driscoll this season under first-year coach Brandon New, who took over when former coach Mike Burzawa landed a job at Evanston after last season. The Highlanders have won two straight since losing to St. Francis in their Suburban Catholic Conference opener in Week 3 of the season. They’ve shut out their opponents in three of their four victories this year. Quarterback Steve Schwabe leads Driscoll’s spread offense that is geared for a quick strike. Despite that passing prowess, St. Edward coach Mike Rolando says the key is to stop the Highlanders’ ground attack led by Nick Campanella and Pierre Steele.
Scouting St. Edward: The Green Wave will need to end a 13-game losing streak against Driscoll that extends to the 1994 season if it hopes to remain above the .500 mark. St. Edward could be without senior fullback/linebacker Moises Quiroga, who missed the second half of last week’s game after sustaining a concussion. Junior Jordan Torres would likely be called on to step into those positions in Quiroga’s absence. Senior running back Jimmy Mathisen leads a balanced Green Wave ground attack with 381 yards on 62 carries. St. Edward managed only six first downs in last week’s loss, but trailed by only two possessions for much of the second half.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Driscoll


Jacobs (1-4) at McHenry (1-4), 7:45 tonight

“McHenry is a lot better than their record. They’ve got some weapons on offense and can score big at any time. Defensively, they’re going to come after us. It should be a good game.”
­— Jacobs coach Dean Schlueter

Last Year: McHenry 25, Jacobs 14
Last Week: Cary-Grove 41, Jacobs 0; Crystal Lake South 31, Jacobs 0
Scouting Jacobs: The Golden Eagles are looking to snap a four-game losing streak that includes three straight losses against teams that currently own 5-0 records. They’ve been outscored 91-6 in those past three games. Jacobs’ offense mustered only 60 yards of offense in last week’s loss while its defense surrendered 414 yards. Seniors Adam Dybeck and Jai Bradford are the Eagles’ top rushing threats while junior Alec Starr handles quarterback duties. A loss tonight will send Jacobs to its sixth sub-.500 season in the past eight seasons. The Eagles have lost to McHenry 19 straight times dating to the 1985 season.
Scouting McHenry: The Warriors own the fifth-longest playoff streak in Illinois having reached the postseason 20 straight times dating to 1987. However, that streak is in serious jeopardy with McHenry coming into tonight’s game on a four-game losing streak. The Warriors are coming off their worst offensive performance of the season. They were shut out and held to only 85 yards of offense in last week’s loss to Crystal Lake South. Quarterback Ryan Michel was sacked six times in the setback but has completed 20 of 60 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns this season. Mike Soto is McHenry’s top threat on the ground. He’s run for 240 yards on 46 carries.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: McHenry


St. Charles East (4-1) at Neuqua Valley (2-3), 7:30 tonight

“This is a huge game. Neuqua is always good, I don’t care what their record says. They are going to be talented, they are going to have good size, they are going to have good skill players and they are going to play hard in front of their homecoming crowd. We’re in for a war, so we’d better be ready to go.”­
East coach Ted Monken

Last Year: East 17, Neuqua Valley 14
Last Week: East 42, Lake Park 41 (2OT); Neuqua Valley 38, Larkin 12
Scouting East: Wes Allen’s legs carried the Saints to a thrilling double-overtime win against Lake Park last week. The senior ran for 285 yards and six touchdowns on 43 carries to take over as the area’s leading rusher. East coach Ted Monken prefers to establish a running game, and his team has had no problem doing that this season. The Saints are averaging 302 rushing yards per game and 6.6 yards per carry for the season. East can become playoff eligible for the fourth straight year with a win. Tonight’s contest carries added importance for the Saints as they look to remain unbeaten in Upstate Eight Conference play. East remained No. 7 in the Class 7A state poll this week.
Scouting Neuqua Valley: Tonight the Wildcats will be in search of back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they try to rebound from a 1-3 start to the campaign that has the program’s streak of five straight playoff appearances in serious jeopardy. Neuqua rolled to a lopsided win last week, racking up 446 yards of total offense while limiting Larkin’s offense to only 152 yards. Quarterback Alex Lincoln has completed 65 of 132 passes for 906 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Running back Nathaniel Pena has 532 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 75 carries. The Wildcats own a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series against the Saints and have won four of the past five meetings.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: East


Rockford Lutheran (1-4) at Genoa-Kingston (5-0), 7:15 tonight

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“Their quarterback is very good. The kid can throw and he can run if he needs to. Their coaches have a good scheme. They tend to throw more than they run, but I think the game really dictates that.”
­— G-K coach Bill McCarty

Last Year: G-K 43, Rockford Lutheran 8
Last Week: Stillman Valley 59, Rockford Lutheran 7; G-K 28, Winnebago 12
Scouting Rockford Lutheran: After winning their season opener 40-18, the Crusaders have fallen on hard times offensively in recent weeks as they’ve been outscored 154-22 during their current four-game losing streak. Rockford Lutheran’s running game struggled in last week’s loss to Stillman Valley, managing only 4 rushing yards on 14 attempts. Senior quarterback Jake Koehler is a capable passing threat. He’s completed 68 for 139 throws this year for 649 yards and four touchdowns. He’s been intercepted eight times. Nate Green is Koehler’s top target. He has 25 catches for 331 yards and a touchdown. A loss tonight will assure Rockford Lutheran of its sixth straight losing season. The Crusaders are 6-44 since joining the Big Northern Conference at the start of the 2003 campaign.
Scouting G-K: The Cogs can clinch their second straight playoff berth with a win tonight. G-K hasn’t gone to the postseason in back-to-back years since the 1992-93 seasons. The Cogs tout the area’s second-highest scoring offense and third-best scoring defense. Senior quarterback Chris Wilkins is G-K’s top playmaker. He’s run for 621 yards and nine touchdowns and thrown for 707 yards and seven touchdowns. His top target is senior T.C. Holterhaus, who caught three passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win. The Cogs have won four of five against the Crusaders.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: G-K


Huntley (5-0) at Grayslake Central (0-5), 1:00 on Saturday


“We’ve discussed all week with our kids the importance of this game. This is kind of a trap game for us. Since they’re 0-5 and we’re 5-0, you could possibly look at this like it is going to be a blowout, but we know they can move the ball well. We would like to clinch the playoffs. There’s a lot of reasons to play this game hard, and I’d be disappointed if we didn’t. ”
­— Huntley coach Steve Graves

Last Year: Huntley 40, Grayslake Central 0
Last Week: Huntley 41, Grayslake North 0; Crystal Lake Central 46, Grayslake Central 7
Scouting Huntley: Playoffs and Huntley football are two things that often don’t go together in the same sentence. However, the Red Raiders are one win away from securing only their second postseason berth in the school’s 35-year history. The Raiders came close in each of the past two years, finishing 5-4 in 2006 and 4-5 last season. But this year’s team looks capable of matching or exceeding the exploits of the 2001 team that serves as the program’s standard bearer after finishing 10-3 and reaching in the state semifinals under former coach Mike Slattery. Led by a tremendous ground attack, Huntley’s offense leads the area in scoring average this season with 37 points per game. Senior Jordan Neukirch is the area’s individual scoring leader and is second on the area’s list of leading rushers with 802 yards on 75 carries. The Raiders average 354.8 rushing yards per game and 7.9 rushing yards per carry. Defensively, Huntley is tied for the area lead with an average of only 8.2 points per game allowed.
Scouting Grayslake Central: The Rams come into tonight’s game on a 16-game losing streak that dates to Week 7 of the 2006 season. But Huntley coach Steve Graves thinks Grayslake Central’s record is deceiving considering that four of its first five opponents are currently 5-0. Quarterback Kevin O’Rourke has completed 50 of 94 passes for 530 yards and two touchdowns this season. His top receiver is Justin Squillo, who has 28 receptions for 281 yards. Graves is concerned with the passing attack because he feels his cornerbacks haven’t been tested against a similarly pass-happy team. Grayslake Central’s defense is allowing 39 points per game. The Rams have lost three in a row against Huntley and are 2-3 in the all-time series between the schools.
Erik Jacobsen’s Pick: Huntley

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This page contains a single entry by published on October 3, 2008 12:50 PM.

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