||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Dundee-Crown junior Cody Lane (21) is approaching 1,200 rushing yards this season. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
With the end of the high school football season approaching, it’s time to take a look at some of the area’s top performing juniors who will be back at skill positions to make some noise next year.
Right at the top of the list is Dundee-Crown running back Cody Lane, who has taken a major step forward during his second varsity season.
Lane has been a model of consistency for the Chargers, topping 100 rushing yards in seven of eight games so far. He is second in the area with 1,177 yards and 16 touchdowns on 141 carries this season.
“Cody was easily the best in the weight room over the offseason,” Dundee-Crown coach Vito Andriola said. “He works hard, he’s a good kid and he’s a good character person. He’s everything you want, and if you had a couple more of him, it would be pretty exciting.”
Dundee-Crown (3-5) had its hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1994 dashed with last week’s loss against Cary-Grove. The defeat marked the first time this season the Chargers weren’t competitive into the second half.
Dundee-Crown certainly appears pointed in the right direction after suffering back-to-back winless seasons in 2010 and 2011. Andriola says Lane’s dedication has been key for a Chargers football program that in the past took a back seat to other sports at the school.
“One thing that’s really important is he’s a football player first,” Andriola said of Lane. “That’s one thing that has been tough at D-C is we don’t have many guys like that. That’s a factor that no one really looks at.”
Other juniors who have excelled as running backs this year are St. Edward’s Davontae Elam, Elgin’s Jaylen Clemons, Burlington Central’s Riley Marino, Huntley’s Jake Scalise and Larkin’s Damion Clemons.
The area’s top two quarterbacks in terms of passing yardage are Jacobs’ Bret Mooney and South Elgin’s Rob Cuda, both of whom are juniors. The two signal callers have impressed at times this year, and their respective teams will look for even greater contributions next season.
St. Charles East’s Jimmy Mitchell, Streamwood’s Mason Polich and Elgin’s Ryan Sitter are also juniors who have admirably led their teams on offense this fall.
When it comes to wide receivers, Jacobs’ Hunter Williams, South Elgin’s Tyler Christensen and St. Charles East’s Brannon Barry are the three juniors who have stood out the most. Christensen has also been a key contributor on special teams and as a defensive back for the Storm.
Hawks still have a chance
Bartlett’s destiny is in its own hands as it tries to claim a share of its third consecutive Upstate Eight Valley title.
The Hawks visit Neuqua Valley (8-0, 5-0) on Friday night trailing the Wildcats by one game in the UEC Valley standings. Bartlett (6-2, 4-1) enters the final week of the regular season tied for second place with Waubonsie Valley (7-1, 4-1).
Neuqua Valley clinched at least a share of the conference crown with last week’s victory at Lake Park. The Wildcats can win the championship outright by beating the Hawks, but a Bartlett victory would lead to a split title, with the potential for a three-way tie if Waubonsie Valley also defeats Metea Valley.
The Hawks own an 8-6 lead in all-time head-to-head matchups against Neuqua Valley, but first-year coach Bill Ellinghaus has this year’s Wildcats on the verge of their school’s first-ever undefeated regular season.
“We’ll have a real tough game over at Neuqua next,” Bartlett senior Chris Kantzavelos said after the Hawks beat South Elgin on Friday night. “We will have to play our best game of the whole year.”
Facts and figures
Bartlett senior Aaron Everson set his school’s single-season rushing record Friday, passing the old mark previously held by Kent Martin, who ran for 1,634 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2004. Everson now has 1,709 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns this year.
• Burlington Central’s setback at Rock Falls last Friday marked the first time it has lost back-to-back games in coach Rich Crabel’s two years at the helm.
• Hampshire suffered its fifth loss of the season with Friday’s defeat at Woodstock North, meaning the Whip-Purs will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. That marks the program’s longest postseason drought since a five-year absence from 1989-93.