at East Aurora
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last year: West Aurora 52, East Aurora 12.
Outlook: East Aurora coach Bill Bryant gets universal acclaim by Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division coaches for the effort and character he supplies to prepare his Tomcats and make them competitive. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out. In Bryant's five years at the helm East Aurora has won three games, and enters the 2011 campaign after consecutive 0-9 seasons. It's not Bryant the Tomcats won only three games combined in the prior five seasons, though they did go 5-4 in 2000. West Aurora hasn't helped the cause either. West holds the series lead in Illinois' longest high school football rivalry (now in its 119th renewal) at 58 wins to 48 for East, with 12 ties according to West historian Neal Ormond. Recently it's been more lopsided, with tonight's visitors having won 20 of the last 22 games, 17 of the last 18 and 10 straight including last year's decision. Now, having succeeded retired Blackhawks coach Buck Drach, first-year West Aurora coach and 2001 graduate Nate Eimer gets a crack. He's fully anticipating a fired up East squad, which will run a 4-4 defense and spread offense. This game, however, should also go West's way. The Blackhawks defense returns eight starters including all-DuPage Valley Conference nose tackle Javonta Black and three-year starting linebacker Brandon Warren, and West should rein in the pass with returning defensive backs Nate Zinzer and Jonny Gosong. Offensively, Booker Ross ran for a 40-yard touchdown last year; quarterback Richie Renner saw the field last year as did fellow returning signalcallers Josh Campbell and Curtis Townsend. One never knows, but each may get reps again. Eimer certainly isn't going to let down given St. Charles East next week and the DVC grind ahead. "If we don't go 2-0 (the playoffs) are going to be pretty tough," he said.
Next week: West Aurora at St. Charles East, Sept. 2; Yorkville at East Aurora, Sept. 2.