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Scouting this week's DuPage County football games
By Dave Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/21/2011 12:32 AM

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Downers Grove South (8-0, 5-0) at Addison Trail (7-1, 5-0)

West Suburban Gold

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Downers South 49, Hinsdale South 6; Addison Trail 35, Willowbrook 7.

Last year: Downers South 28, Addison Trail 14.

Outlook: It's winner take all in this Gold showdown. Perennial champion Downers South looks for another title while the Blazers seek their first Gold crown since 2006. Two of the area's top defenses butt heads Addison Trail's allowed only 34 points while the Mustangs have allowed 49. So which offense can do the most damage? Downers South boasts an elite running back in Josh Williams, who has rushed for 1,905 yards and 28 touchdowns. With opposing defenses stacking up in the box to try stopping Williams, Mustangs quarterback A.J. Simoncelli has done a nice job picking up the passing game. Standing in the way is a stout Blazers defense headed by linebackers Mike Imperiale and Kevin Kent. Addison Trail's offense struggled against Glenbard West two weeks ago. Quarterback Trevor Bermingham is crucial to take pressure off Anthony Messina, Vince Beltrano and Anthony Catanese, who have combined for 1,182 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

Naperville North (5-3, 4-2) at Glenbard North (5-3, 3-3)

DuPage Valley Conference

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Naperville Central 36, Naperville North 26; Wheaton North 27, Glenbard North 17.

Last year: Glenbard North 10, Naperville North 3.

Outlook: With 38 playoff points, Naperville North feels good about its playoff chances. Glenbard North's 35 points, however, have the Panthers on the playoff bubble. The goal for both sides is to get a sixth win and end the mystery. Injuries will play a factor, particularly at quarterback. Naperville North's Tyler Gehr aggravated his non-throwing shoulder last week while Glenbard North's Brian Murphy continues to struggle with ankle sprains. That puts the focus on the running game and two of the DVC's best backs. Naperville North's Danny Puknaitis has run for 885 yards and 13 touchdowns while Panthers bruiser Phil Jackson has 816 yards and 13 scores. Injuries also hamper the defenses. Glenbard North linebacker Collin Hansen is out for the season with a knee injury. Naperville North's Tim Davis is out after elbow surgery. Both teams must clean up mistakes. The Huskies turned it over six times last week while two early turnovers put the Panthers in a quick hole.

Neuqua Valley (5-3, 3-2) at Lake Park (4-4, 2-3)

Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: Bartlett 34, Neuqua Valley 7; Lake Park 35, Metea Valley 21.

Last year: Neuqua Valley 48, Lake Park 20.

Outlook: Angling for a playoff berth, Lake Park saw both offensive facets click against Metea. LaCurt Evans' 112 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns, and Ronnie Castaldo's 63 yards rushing countered Zach Gehant's 213 yards passing, 102 of them to Scott Filip. Coach Chris Roll is looking for defensive linemen Cole Sheeks, Luis Bullington, Craig Ryan and Esteban Diaz to stalemate Neuqua's offensive line and defuse the Wildcats' rushing attack, which averages 234 yards a game. That's also the goal of Neuqua coach Bryan Wells "gap integrity" by defensive linemen Mike Ippolito, Mike Casas, Nathan Wells and key nose tackle Jake Spinell, forcing the Lancers to the air. Factors also include Lake Park's minus-9 turnover ratio and Neuqua's dangerous Jeff Evak, averaging 37 yards on kickoff returns with 2 touchdowns. While Neuqua hopes to avoid a three-game losing streak entering the playoffs, Lake Park has nothing to lose. "Let it all out and have a ball," Roll said.

South Elgin (4-4, 3-2) at Waubonsie Valley (7-1, 4-1)

Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last week: South Elgin 36, Geneva 21; Waubonsie Valley 68, East Aurora 0.

Last year: Waubonsie Valley 20, South Elgin 10.

Outlook: Coach Dale Schabert's South Elgin Storm needs to win in Aurora to reach the playoffs. Its opponents' 45 total wins would be more than enough to qualify with 5 wins. The Storm put itself in position with 415 yards rushing against Geneva, as tailback Adolfo Pacheco set school records with 318 yards rushing and a 94-yard touchdown run. Offensive lineman Jonathan Slania's return from knee trouble solidified the Storm line. That group plus lead blockers ahead of Pacheco provides a challenge for Waubonsie defensive linemen Zac Steele, Zack McCabe and Trevor Hardin, to keep people off the Warriors' outstanding linebacker trio of Austin Lacke, Tommy Wooten and Hugh Griffin. "The last time we saw a power running attack like that was Bartlett and we didn't do so well," Waubonsie coach Paul Murphy said of a 27-20 loss. On the other side center Chris Weaver and Co. look to spring junior tailback Austin Guido, who has run for 954 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Wheaton North (7-1, 6-0) at Wheaton Warrenville South (5-3, 5-1)

DuPage Valley Conference

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Last week: Wheaton North 27, Glenbard North 17; WW South 41, Glenbard East 20.

Last year: WW South 42, Wheaton North 14; WW South 44, Wheaton North 0 (7A playoffs).

Outlook: The Falcons sealed a share of their first DVC title since 2002, but they would love to clinch the outright title. A win would give WW South a share of its third straight DVC title and its 10th straight win over the Falcons. Wheaton North's offense has been the DVC's toughest thanks to its ability to run and throw the ball. Quarterback John Peltz has 1,287 passing yards while running back Patrick Sharp has 749 rushing yards. A key this week, according to coach Joe Wardynski, is cutting down the drops from a week ago. It's strength on strength going against WW South's linebacker trio of Adam Dansdill, Dan Roadman and Brandon Peterson. The Tigers' offense gets a boost with the return of running back Dan Vitale, who has 618 rushing yards, from a hip pointer. The offense needs to bring its own diversity with quarterbacks Thaddeus Armstrong and sophomore Ryan Graham. Linebacker Mike Swider and safety Jaylen Howze lead the Falcons' defense.

Carmel (5-3, 5-2) at Benet (1-7, 0-7)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Benedictine University.

The quick hit: Carmel's suffered the toughest of losses this season, including last week's 64-63 double-OT defeat to Marist. The Corsairs have scored 163 points the last three weeks. Benet, with 6 points the last four weeks, needs to be playing its best defense.

Elgin (1-7) at Metea Valley (3-5)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Metea's first senior class will be out to end a five-game losing streak and cap their school days on a high. Zach Wood, Donovan Rowsey look for big hits in this Upstate Eight crossover, while back TréSean Mackey adds to last week's 168 yards rushing.

Fenton (6-2, 1-2) at Riverside-Brookfield (2-6, 1-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Fenton offensive coordinator Otto Zeman, R-B's longtime coach, returns to his former school to add to the rivalry. The Bison had 4 touchdowns called back on penalties last week. Joe Butz has been a tough competitor on both sides of the ball.

Glenbard East (1-7, 0-6) at West Aurora (3-5, 1-5)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: The Rams gained a bunch of confidence during last week's game against Wheaton Warrenville South, taking a 13-7 lead behind a pair of field goals by Frank Loconti. West Aurora's Booker Ross had 193 rushing yards to top an offensive explosion.

Glenbard South (5-3) at Ft. Zumwalt S., Mo. (5-3)

Game time: 11 a.m. Saturday.

The quick hit: The Raiders, with 44 playoff points, can greatly improve their postseason seeding with a win. Stopping 1,000-yard rusher Chase Abbington is the top assignment. Raiders lineman Kyle Avaloy leads the group plowing holes for Wes Sanders.

Glenbard West (8-0, 5-0) at Downers Grove North (2-6, 1-4)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Hilltoppers quarterback Justice Odom, out two weeks with a knee injury, is likely to start. Injuries, however, continue to hound linebacker Andrew Larkin and lineman Jake Brodner. Downers North has shifted back to its run-heavy style.

Guerin (4-4, 3-1) at Immaculate Conception (5-3, 3-1)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday.

The quick hit: Guerin quarterback Tommy Kelly and Co. will give the Knights their best shot with the playoffs on the line. St. Francis blanked IC 18-0 last week, so expect a greater push from tailback Dan Vatch, quarterback Demetrius Carr and the offensive line.

Hinsdale Central (6-2, 3-2) at York (5-3, 3-2)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Hinsdale Central's Brian Owens-to-Brad Anlauf passing combo has worked wonders in recent weeks. York's Nick Skuteris may be out, but expect to see offensive skill players David Byerley, Ken Boesenberg and Jordan Preuss also playing defense.

Lisle (2-6) at Herscher (3-5)

Game time: 7:15 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Herscher, 0-5 in the Interstate Eight Large, whupped common foe Westmont 37-0 last week. In this crossover, though, Lisle will not quit. Lions coach Dan Sanko ranks defensive lineman Dan Kisla among his best; Nick Leonard is flat-out gutty.

St. Edward (4-4, 1-3) at St. Francis (6-2, 2-2)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday, College of DuPage

The quick hit: Seeking a playoff berth, St. Edward last week had 255-pound lineman Evan Finnane running the ball. That will suit the swarming Spartans fine. Jeff Rutkowski hit IC with 11 tackles, 3 sacks last week, while Jack Petrando continued to run wild.

West Chicago (1-7, 1-5) at Naperville Central (5-3, 4-2)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Led by Brian Baids and Nate Sudnick on defense, the Wildcats look to slow Naperville Central back Matt Randolph. The Redhawks are pretty much guaranteed a playoff berth after a season away. Luke Roth is adding valuable depth at linebacker.

Wheaton Academy (1-7, 0-4) at Montini (6-2, 3-1)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: The Warriors will devote every ounce of strength in this Suburban Christian Blue contest to honor coach Ben Wilson, undergoing brain surgery Monday. The highlight may be the words of encouragement by Montini and coach Chris Andriano.

Willowbrook (0-8, 0-5) at Hinsdale South (4-4, 3-2)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The quick hit: Willowbrook hopes to close on a good note against a Hinsdale South team fighting for a playoff berth. The Hornets, slowed by Downers South last week, aim to get the offense going with quarterback D.J. Deolitsis and running back Keontae Hall.