Schwab: Plenty going right for six unbeatens
Six of the 11 football-playing schools the Kane County Chronicle covers are 2-0 on the season, a promising sign as conference play begins for most teams Friday.
Here is a school-by-school glance at what’s been working for each of the dandy half-dozen, and their prospects for keeping the good times rolling.
Two games, two overwhelmed foes for the Bulldogs, who polished off Marmion, 36-7, and Plainfield East, 48-6. Defense has set the tone.
Both touchdowns by Batavia opponents came late, with the Bulldogs breathing easy.
Batavia arguably has the two toughest games left of any of the local unbeatens – a crossover game against UEC Valley favorite Bartlett on Sept. 16 and the rivalry battle at Geneva on Sept. 30. Those are tall orders, but given what the Bulldogs have shown to date, there’s no reason to assume they can’t beat one or both of those teams.
The Vikings’ offense has delivered on high expectations, and Geneva’s special teams was outstanding in upending Wheaton North last week.
Batavia is Geneva’s toughest remaining opponent, seemingly by a longshot.
Otherwise, the schedule sets up relatively well for the Vikings, who still must show they can slow down potent offenses without the help of the kicking game trickery on display last week.
Sophomore Drew David has had little trouble finding his way as a varsity quarterback, with experienced standouts such as Quinn Buschbacher, Sean Carter and a quality O-line no doubt aiding his indoctrination.
The Knights’ schedule is back-loaded with showdown games against Sycamore and Morris to finish up, so Kaneland is well positioned to qualify for the playoffs in a hurry.
Jack Petrando is exactly the kind of rugged back that no-nonsense Spartans coach Greg Purnell loves, so expect Petrando to keep shouldering a hefty workload as the season unfolds.
Of the early unbeatens, St. Francis probably has the biggest Week 3 road block as a trip to fellow unbeaten Marian Central looms. Montini and Marmion also await.
What better way to make an opening statement than to blast a defending state champion, as the Eagles did with Stillman Valley to start the season.
A Week 5 trip to Montini could be all that stands between the Eagles and an undefeated season, especially with standout receivers Grayson Roberts and Chad Beebe unlikely to be back from collarbone injuries by then.
Aurora Central Catholic
The Chargers have legit playmakers with guys such as Kyle Clechenko and Luke Dickerson on offense and Anthony Andujar and Nick Holzer on defense.
Seeking to break a 13-year playoff drought, the Chargers have more practical goals on their mind than going undefeated. A win on Saturday against Immaculate Conception would put ACC in excellent early position to qualify.
Factor in that Burlington Central is one OT loss to Sycamore from also being 2-0 and that nearby Mooseheart has won its first two, and you’d have to call it a terrific start for the area – provided you’re not a Saints or North Stars fan.
Third time around: Friday’s Geneva-St. Charles East football game will be the third such showdown for East coach Mike Fields as Saints head coach after leaving the Geneva program, where he coached under the Vikings’ Rob Wicinski.
By now, some of the novelty has worn off. Fields no longer has coached any of the current Vikings, so the emotions aren’t quite the same as the first couple times around.
There are still connections, though. Fields said the biggest quirk in Year 3 is Geneva senior receiver Ben Rogers’ ascent as one of the Vikings’ top offensive threats. Fields remembers Rogers’ formative years around the program, pitching in as a ball boy.
“I’m past the coaching part of it but Ben Rogers, who was my ball boy for seven years, and now he’s over there and – quite frankly – it makes me feel old, is what it does,” Fields said. “It’s a neat relationship, being able to see Ben go full circle from being ball boy for me to being part of what we started years ago.”
Fields will be looking for his first win against the Vikings when the teams clash on Friday at Norris Stadium.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of The Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or email@example.com.