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Town Jug on the line in 50th Elgin-Larkin varsity meeting
By Jerry Fitzpatrick | Daily Herald Staff

Mike Scianna


Rick West | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/23/2011 12:41 AM

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Elgin High has kept the Town Jug on the city's east side for two straight seasons.

Larkin wants to take it home to the west side.

Which team claims ownership of the traveling trophy for the next calendar year will be determined when Elgin (1-3, 0-2) hosts Larkin (2-2, 1-1) in the annual crosstown rivalry game at Memorial Field on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

It will be the 50th varsity meeting between the Maroons and Royals. Larkin holds a 30-19 edge in the all-time series.

Elgin starting running back Dennis Moore practiced all week and is expected to play. That's critical considering Moore "makes a 2-touchdown difference in the way Elgin plays," Larkin coach Mike Scianna said this week. "He's that good."

How well the Maroons' senior captain is able to perform will indeed go a long way to determining the outcome.

Moore has been hampered by an ankle sprain for the first four weeks of the season. He originally injured it on the first play of the season in a win over Dundee-Crown. Adrenaline allowed Moore to finish that contest with 18 carries for 181 yards and rushing touchdowns of 80 and 50 yards. He also returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score.

But Moore was unable to answer the bell in Week 2 against Bartlett, ruled out as a game-time decision. Without him, Elgin was throttled 42-0 in the first half alone.

Moore, who has interest from Mid-American Conference programs, did not practice the following week but he played the first half against Streamwood and led the Maroons to a 14-0 lead. However, he succumbed to severe cramping and did not play most of the second half. Streamwood roared back for 28 unanswered points.

Moore again sat out last week against defending league champ Geneva, a 45-14 loss, Elgin's third straight.

"We need a shot in the arm right now," Elgin coach Dave Bierman said. "Hopefully, Dennis will play. He's been practicing and he's hungry. It's been a while since he's hit people."

In only six full quarters of play, Moore has carried the ball 35 times for 278 yards (7.9 avg.) and has scored 3 rushing touchdowns.

"We're under the assumption that they rested him last week to make sure he was ready to go for this one," Scianna said. "We're expecting him to be there. He's a difference maker. You don't stop him; you just try to keep his numbers limited."

The Royals enter this game on an emotional high note after last week's stunning victory. Luke Bogicevic blocked St. Charles East's attempt at a game-winning field goal and Shaq Mosley returned it 82 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds left in a 26-20 victory.

After the game many of the approximately 300 Larkin fans who made the trip to St. Charles rushed the field to celebrate.

Several of them even greeted the Larkin bus upon its return to the high school and made a tunnel for the disembarking Royals.

Larkin's offense is beginning to come into focus. Mosley had his best game of the season last week, catching 5 passes for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. He joins the area's leading receiver, Justin Banks (17 rec., 333 yards, 2 TDs), as another big-play pass catcher at the disposal of third-year quarterback Kyle Newquist. The senior has completed 27 of 60 attempts for 592 yards and 4 touchdowns without an interception.

The Royals are becoming multidimensional offensively as junior Maurece Jackson gets more comfortable in the offense. The St. Edward transfer has rushed 33 times for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"Obviously, they have some weapons with Newquist and Banks, and Mosley and Jackson can make some things happen, too," Bierman said. "It's going to be four quarters no matter what happens, and funny things sometimes happen in the fourth quarter of rivalry games like this."

The Elgin defense is led by returning all-Upstate Eight River linebacker Elrich Keophilalay (20 tackles), senior linebacker Derek Moorman (13 tackles, 4 sacks) and defensive back Devin Gilliam (16 tackles, 2 interceptions).