Kaneland (2-0, 0-0 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) at Sterling (2-0, 0-0 NI Big 12 West), 7:30 p.m. todayLast week’s results: Kaneland beat IC Catholic Prep, 45-14; Sterling beat Johnsburg, 35-16.
The skinny: Need proof traditionally pass-happy Kaneland is comfortable these days as a balanced or – gasp – possibly even run-oriented offense? The Knights have zero touchdown passes in their first two games, a statistic that’s easy to shrug off considering the Knights won comfortably against Brooks and IC Catholic Prep. Still, coach Tom Fedderly would like to see quarterback Drew David and the passing game lead directly to some points. “We had some that we should have [the past couple weeks] but I think we probably overthrew it or ran the wrong route,” Fedderly said. “We had a couple we should have had for sure but just didn’t execute on it. But having rushing touchdowns, that’s fine with me.” The Knights have eight of those, five coming from Jesse Balluff (34 carries for 269 yards). In NI Big 12 crossover foe Sterling, the Knights will deal with another multifaceted, spread offense; the Golden Warriors’ Draque Penaflor-Heier has rushed for 253 yards and four TDs while QB Bryant Lilly is 23 for 41 for 420 passing yards and five TDs.
Extra point: Fedderly said the Knights will welcome standout middle linebacker Gary Koehring back after Koehring missed the IC Catholic Prep game with a minor injury.
St. Edward (2-0, 0-0 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) at Marmion (2-0, 0-0 SCC Blue), 7:30 p.m. today
Last week’s results: Marmion beat Ottawa, 45-0; St. Edward beat West Hancock Co-op, 43-0.
The skinny: If Marmion coach Dan Thorpe could bottle his team’s road performance from last week, he’d do it. “To be honest, I was pretty impressed with us,” Thorpe said of the Ottawa game. “We were physical, efficient. Made plays.” Thorpe said quarterback Brock Krueger is off to a fine start in his senior season, marveling in particular about a throwing-across-the-body hookup with Tyler Eberth at Ottawa. Thorpe said safety Jake Gallaher has been a welcome addition to the secondary. As of Wednesday night, running back Jordan Glasgow was “probable” to make his season debut against St. Edward after a high ankle sprain sidelined the standout junior the first two weeks.
Extra point: Thorpe expects a tougher go for the Cadets now that SCC play is beginning. “We know we’re in the Suburban Christian this week,” Thorpe said. “It’s good football for the next seven weeks. Quality coaches, quality players and quality programs.”
St. Francis (2-0, 0-0 SCC Blue) at Chicago Christian (1-1, 0-0 SCC Gold), 7:30 p.m. today
Last week’s results: St. Francis beat Plainfield South, 43-20; Chicago Christian lost to Momence, 41-7.
The skinny: St. Francis turned in a highly impressive nonconference run, handily defeating Riverside-Brookfield and Plainfield South. Running back James Butler, a Bartlett transfer, is off to a monster start, and reportedly drew recent recruiting interest from Iowa and Purdue.
Extra point: Chicago Christian doesn’t appear to be much of a match for St. Francis, with the Knights’ win a narrow, 20-18 opening victory against 0-2 Chicago North Lawndale.
Aurora Christian (2-0, 0-0 Suburban Christian Conference Blue) at Walther Lutheran (0-2, 0-0 SCC Gold), 1 p.m. Saturday
Last week’s results: Aurora Christian beat Chicago Urban Prep, 55-0; Walther Lutheran lost to Fenton, 38-13.
The skinny: Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe always talks respectfully about Walther Lutheran’s program, mindful of the Eagles’ former struggles against Walther Lutheran when the schools were Private School League rivals. But the Eagles have ascended to lofty heights in recent years, and Walther has gone the opposite direction. This shapes up as the third straight week without a serious test for the Eagles.
Extra point: Noah Hagerty leads a balanced Aurora Christian receiving corps so far with six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Aurora Central Catholic (2-0, 0-0 SCC Gold) at IC Catholic (1-1, 0-0 SCC Gold), 1 p.m. Saturday
Last week’s results: ACC beat Chicago Bogan, 42-7; IC Catholic Prep lost to Kaneland, 45-14.
The skinny: ACC coach Brian Casey thought the Chargers would need the best week of practice the program has had to conquer an IC Catholic Prep program that has dealt the Chargers harsh, Week 3 comeuppances the past couple seasons after ACC also started those years 2-0. Casey is putting emphasis on a better showing against the Knights this time.
Extra point: The Chargers’ defense showed signs it can be opportunistic, gathering turnovers in their only game action last week (ACC won by forfeit Week 1), a trend ACC would love to continue against an IC Catholic Prep offense that made its share of mistakes last week at Kaneland.
Montini (2-0, 0-0 SCC Blue) at Wheaton Academy (1-1, 0-0 SCC Gold), 7 p.m. today (at Wheaton College)
Last week’s results: Montini beat East St. Louis, 34-6; Wheaton Academy beat Chicago Noble Street Charter, 40-8.
The skinny: Wheaton Academy showed it has several offensive playmakers at its disposal in last week’s bounce-back, as John Gemmel, Sam Martinez and Camden Meade were among the Warriors to shine at various points of the blowout win.
Extra point: Fresh off a long road trip and surely impressed with itself after whipping East St. Louis, Montini might not be locked in for this one. That’s about the only cause for optimism for the Warriors as the four-time defending 5A champs loom.
Rockford Christian (0-2, 0-0 Big Northern Conference East) at Burlington Central (0-2, 0-0 BNC East), 7 p.m. today
Last week’s results: Rockford Christian lost to Mendota, 52-21; Central lost to Stillman Valley, 40-0.
The skinny: Central has been outscored a combined 81-7 in losses to Hampshire and Stillman Valley. The woeful result at Stillman Valley, a Class 3A program, was especially head-scratching for a 5A Rockets program coming off a respectable 5-4 season.
Extra point: If Central is going to stop the bleeding, this is the week. The Royal Lions, who finished 1-8 last season, have lost both games this season by 30 points or more.