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Schwab: Lots to choose from in football openers

A smattering of preseason football thoughts as we move within two days of opening kickoff:

How sweet is it that Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North all open the season at home on Friday? Rather than try and calculate the mathematical improbability of the cross-the-board home openers, we might as well just relish the chance to jump right into the season at a local stadium of our choosing.

Not only are the Week 1 games local, but there are some excellent matchups to choose from. Batavia and Geneva are both dealing with opponents that defeated them in last year’s season openers – Marmion topped the Bulldogs in 2010, while Rock Island knocked off Geneva – while St. Charles East brings in Cary-Grove, the Geneva of McHenry County in terms of consistent success during the past decade.

Perhaps all the home dates will help ensure there is no repeat of a dismal opening night in the Tri-Cities like last season, when Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North were a combined 0-4 out of the gate. For four programs that typically produce playoff-caliber teams, that was a gut-punch of an opening night.

Openers only count for one game, but they often provide at least some insight of what’s to come. After being blown out on opening night, both East and North failed to make the playoffs, while Batavia (the only Tri-Cities team to come within two TDs in last year’s opener) just eked out a berth with a 5-4 regular season.

Maybe it was only coincidence, but all four of those games were on the road.

Chronicle’s preview section coming: As is customary this time of year, we’ve responded to some inquiries from football enthusiasts checking up on when our season preview section will be available.

For those still wondering, the answer is Thursday. It will be another 24-page special section with a combination of nitty-gritty team preview info, schedules and rosters, as well as some more in-depth articles, including a meaty piece on the importance of using proper tackling fundamentals in this era of ramped-up worries about concussions and other serious injuries.

Pounce on that preview section right away if you can, because by Friday, we’ll be analyzing the Week 1 matchups. A new twist this fall – check out our series on Fridays during football season that will spotlight a behind-the-scenes person who helps enhance the game-night experience at a local school.

Preps Insider video back: By popular demand – or maybe just inertia – sports reporter Kevin Druley and I return for another season of weekly “Preps Insider” videos, talking Tri-Cities area prep football.

Our partnership with BATV remains intact to produce and air these videos, which will also be viewable on our website, The first one should be available on Thursday.

The idea this fall was to produce a quicker show, so if we’ve put you to sleep in the past, give us another look.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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