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Desean Brown (with ball) of Naperville North eludes a diving tackle attempt by Kevin Glitz of Wheaton Warrenville South on his way to a touchdown. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Naperville North (1-3, 0-2 DuPage Valley) at West Chicago (0-4, 0-2 DuPage Valley), 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Naperville North lost at Wheaton Warrenville South, 24-21; West Chicago lost at Wheaton North, 52-0
Storyline: Sitting at 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the DuPage Valley Conference after coming ever so close to earning the program’s first victory at Red Grange Field since 2003, Naperville North must move on quickly.
Falling victim to Brandon Moore’s 47-yard catch and run into the end zone as time expired to give Wheaton Warrenville South a 24-21 victory, Naperville North heads to West Chicago needing a victory.
Against the Tigers, junior running back DeSean Brown accounted for both of the Huskies’ second-quarter scores that opened up their bulge to 21-6 in a 2:30 span — a 27-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Johnny Brown and a 29-yard TD run.
Kendall Veluvolu, who got the Huskies on the scoreboard first with a two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, led all rushers with 84 yards on 19 carries.
But Naperville North kept shooting itself in the foot to some degree with a pair of fumbles and eight penalties, while giving up 349 total yards to the Tigers — who ran 20 more plays than the Huskies.
West Chicago, whose school board voted last week to leave the DVC for the Metro Suburban, has dropped its first four games on the season. Since opening the season with a 28-27 overtime loss to Addison Trail, West Chicago hasn’t scored in double figures as it has scored a combined 13 points in its last three games.
Naperville North coach Sean Drendel on West Chicago: “They play hard. They played a good program in Addison Trail (in Week 1) to an overtime game. So they’re a hard-nosed team and they have a new coach (Bill Bicker), so a new system being put in. That takes time, so they’re four games into the season. You might see them start to get their system a little bit better. Changing from a wing-type offense to a gun team is a big change. We went through that a few years ago.
“It doesn’t just happen overnight, so I think they’ve done a good job. Bill’s a good football coach, so I’d expect them to play hard on Friday night. I think their tailback is a nice player. Defensively, they have a good middle linebacker. Probably the two kids that stand out are their middle linebacker and their tailback, which on most teams are guys that stand out.”
East Aurora (0-4, 0-2 Upstate Eight Valley) at No. 10 Neuqua Valley (4-0, 1-0 Upstate Eight Valley), 7:30 p.m.
Last week: East Aurora lost to South Elgin, 41-6; Neuqua Valley won at St. Charles East, 34-0
Storyline: Returning home for the first time in three weeks, Neuqua Valley celebrates Homecoming tonight by hosting East Aurora and with the program’s first 5-0 start and playoff eligibility seemingly in reach.
Neuqua Valley, ranked 7th in the Associated Press Class 8A poll, earned its first shutout of the season last week at St. Charles East after being sparked by junior Mike Dudek, who returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and blocked a punt — after which quarterback Dylan Andrew connecting with him in the end zone for a five-yard TD and a quick 14-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Continuing his strong start to the season, senior Joey Rhattigan ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns against St. Charles East and has recorded 10 touchdowns through four weeks — already halfway to his 2011 total of 20 touchdowns.
While their offense has averaged 40 points a game, the Wildcats have been very opportunistic.
In four weeks, the Wildcats have blocked two punts, both by Dudek, received a fumble return for a TD from sophomore Nolan Dean against Naperville North in Week 1 and have returned a kickoff for a TD in three straight games.
East Aurora has been outscored a combined 208-31 in its first four games and has managed to put up only 12 points since scoring 19 in a Week 1 loss to crosstown rival West Aurora.
East Aurora hasn’t won a game since beating Thornwood 14-0 on Oct. 3, 2008.
Neuqua Valley coach Bill Ellinghaus on East Aurora: “We’re always focused on working on ourselves. I think East Aurora is definitely better than they’ve been in the past. I think they’re doing some good things over there and we’re really staying focused on one week at a time and getting ourselves better this week. … To me, they just look more disciplined than they’ve been in the past.”
No. 15 Waubonsie Valley (4-0, 1-0 Upstate Eight Valley) at Bartlett (3-1, 2-0 Upstate Eight Valley), 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Waubonsie Valley beat Lake Park, 49-28; Bartlett won at Metea Valley, 47-27
Storyline: Having already jumped out to the program’s first 4-0 start since 1992, Waubonsie Valley’s focus Friday night is two-fold: revenge and gaining playoff eligibility by getting its fifth win.
The memory of suffering a 27-20 loss at Bartlett a year ago, Waubonsie Valley’s lone regular-season defeat in 2011, hasn’t faded quickly.
Behind an offense led by senior running back Austin Guido and a defense that is continuing to find consistency on a weekly basis, the Warriors will look to keep gaining ground and traction in the Upstate Eight Valley race by giving Bartlett, the defending Upstate Eight Valley champions, its first loss within the division.
Guido, who has run for 844 yards and 15 touchdowns thus far, will be going head-to-head with Bartlett senior running back Aaron Everson.
Everson ran roughshod over Metea Valley’s defense last week in the Hawks’ 47-27 victory in running 37 times for 241 yards and five TDs, while adding an 89-yard kickoff return for a TD in for good measure.
But the Warriors’ defense needs to find a way to be more consistent in limiting big plays, as Lake Park scored touchdowns on two long pass plays last week.
Through four weeks, Waubonsie Valley, which is ranked ninth in the Associated Press’ Class 8A poll, has given up an average of 17.5 points a game, but it has surrendered 28 points in two of the past three weeks in lopsided wins over Oswego and Lake Park.
With Bartlett Friday night and longtime rival Neuqua Valley looming in two weeks, shoring up the defense’s propensity to give up some big plays is imperative.
The two programs tied for the Upstate Eight Valley title in 2010.
Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy on Bartlett: “(Everson’s) their go-to-guy, no question about it. He’s off to just a good a start, I think, as Austin is for us. So, I mean, you have two good running backs playing against each other this Friday night.
“They’re a power-style running attack. They’re gonna line up in power-I and run it out of the I and try and bludgeon you. They lost their quarterback, I think, on the third play of the game against Wheaton North and he broke his collarbone, so they’ve been playing with a sophomore (Jordan Flint) at quarterback. So they’ve been relying on their senior leaders and (Everson) to get the job done.”
Metea Valley (1-3, 0-2 Upstate Eight Valley) at South Elgin (2-2, 1-1 Upstate Eight Valley), 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Last week: Metea Valley lost to Bartlett, 47-27; South Elgin won at East Aurora, 41-6
Storyline: Looking to stop its three-game losing streak, Metea Valley hits the road for the third time in four weeks when it visits South Elgin Saturday afternoon.
Losing by 20 points at home to Bartlett may look like the Mustangs aren’t making progress, but looks can be deceiving.
Thanks to a 17-point fourth quarter, Metea Valley got to within 33-27 with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Following Nick Dodson’s 26-yard field goal, which got the Mustangs within a touchdown, Aaron Everson’s fifth running touchdown of the game and Nick Garcia’s 45-yard interception return for a TD pushed Bartlett’s cushion to its final margin of 20 points.
While the 17-point explosion in the game’s final 12 minutes was a positive, the fact the Mustangs were only down 12-10 at halftime might be an encouraging sign as they work toward becoming more competitive in the Upstate Eight Valley.
Mustangs’ junior QB Blaise Bell threw three interceptions for the third straight week but threw touchdown passes to both Peyton Mitchell and Blaze Miller, while senior running back Cameron Wilcox ran 20 times for 91 yards and a 27-yard, fourth-quarter TD that cut the Mustangs’ deficit to 26-17.
South Elgin comes into Saturday sitting at 2-2 after its 41-6 victory at East Aurora, which followed a 42-20 home loss to Neuqua Valley the week before.
Storm running back Jeff Broger, who missed the Neuqua Valley loss with a hamstring injury first suffered in the Storm’s Week 2 home loss to Benet, ran six times for 87 yards and three TDs against East Aurora.
South Elgin has won both all-time meetings by a combined score of 81-13.
Metea Valley coach Ben Kleinhans on South Elgin: “They’re very athletic on offense. They like to throw the football. They like to throw it deep. And when (Broger) was out, they just had to rely on that more and got in trouble a little bit. Now the fact (Broger) is back running the football, they’re gonna be able to be a little bit more balanced. But they definitely get big plays in the passing game. That’s kind of the way they’ve been forever. On defense, they’re athletic. They want to create turnovers and play fast. So we feel like it’s a game that we can go and match up with them athletically and if we can limit their big plays on offense, we feel like we got a good shot.”
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