Geneva (4-3, 2-3) at Wheaton North (6-1, 4-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Wheaton North 34, Geneva 0
Outlook: The Vikings would love nothing more than to gain their fifth win, notch a DuKane Conference season and become playoff eligible and atone for last season’s blowout victory. Wheaton North’s defense is one of the best in the area, allowing 68 points through seven games.
“They’re big, physical, and very well-coached on the defensive side,” Geneva coach Troy Thorgesen said. “Their front seven is one of the best in the conference. We must be able to sustain and finish drives better, and be better on third-down situations. We had a lot of positives last week but couldn’t sustain drives when it mattered.”
Thorgesen noted the play of running back Carter Powelson along with linebacker Blake Stempkowski heading into the key Week 8 showdown.
“Carter Powelson has been an all-conference running back for us all season,” he said. “He leads our team in rushing and touchdowns and is third in receiving yards. Blake Stempkowski has been playing great football at linebacker. When we need a big play or stop, he’s the one that keeps answering for us. He leads are team with six sacks.”
Wheaton North coach Joel Wardynski said his team is looking to build some momentum and extend their winning streak to five straight.
“With recent changes in the backfield and on the offensive line due to injury, we need to show that we can still run the ball effectively,” he said. “Geneva does a great job with establishing a running game and then using play action passes for big plays. We have to do a good job defensively on first down, which will be important to try and keep them out of down and distance situations that favor their offense.”
Senior quarterback Mark Forcucci has completed 74 of 112 passes for 923 yards with 13 touchdowns and an interception. Senior linebacker Fred Elftmann leads the team with 32 solo tackles, 29 assisted tackles along with two sacks.
“Mark Forcucci has been playing really good football for us this year,” Wardynski said. “His experience and ability to throw the ball down the field have proved to be valuable. Fred Elftmann has been our leader statistically this season. He plays with high energy and runs well to the ball.”
Glenbard South (6-1, 6-1) at Glenbard East (6-1, 6-1)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2021 spring result: Glenbard South 41, Glenbard East 6
Outlook: Something has to give this week, with three Glen Ellyn teams, including Glenbard West, sporting 6-1 records heading into Week 8. South Elgin (7-0, 6-0) remains atop the Upstate Eight Conference standings, but the Raiders and Rams are right behind. Both the Rams and Raiders suffered blowout losses to South Elgin, so Friday’s game is likely a battle for second place in the conference.
“The team that wins the line of scrimmage will have the best opportunity to win the game,” Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey said. “This game is extremely important to both schools. The players know what’s at stake and understand the consequences of winning or losing. I expect it to be a very physical and challenging game. Glenbard East is well-coached, and they have fantastic athletes.”
Crissey said quarterback Michael Champagne has shown throughout the season that he’s ready for big moments. He credited his defense for sparking the team’s four-game winning streak. The Raiders have allowed 29 points in the last four games.
“Michael Champagne is playing outstanding football for a sophomore,” Crissey said. “He’s confident and in control. Our defensive line is the hardest working group around. They love to compete and play a physical style of football. The defensive line is lead by seniors Cain Smith and Connor Murphy. Trevor Burnett will touch the ball at least 20 times on Friday. We will continue to utilize him in a number of ways.”
Glenbard East coach John Walters said he expects a physical and emotional game.
“We have to find a way to slow down their athletes on offense,” Walters said. “For us, Matt Schager has really developed into a dominant middle linebacker. Juniors Demontay Mack, Delmario Taylor and Troy Cooper have really controlled the line of scrimmage for us defensively. Offensively, we’re led on the line by Nate Kelley and Marc Koumoundouros. Tyrese Buffkin has had a great year at wide receiver.”
York (6-1, 4-1) at Willowbrook (5-2, 5-0)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: York 25, Willowbrook 23
Outlook: The battle of the West Suburban Silver and Gold teams should be quality game, with the Dukes and Warriors both gearing up for the playoffs. York has been one of the surprise teams in the area, winning its first six games, including beating Glenbard West and Lyons, before losing a late lead for its first defeat last week at home against Hinsdale Central. How the Dukes respond from their crushing loss will be a key test for the emerging program. The Warriors lead the WSC Gold Conference, rebounding from losing their first two games of the season by a combined total of 37-14 to win five straight games.
The Warriors’ turnaround can be partly attributed to a strong effort on defense. In their five-game streak, Willowbrook has allowed just 42 points, with Proviso East scoring the most points with 14.
Joliet Catholic (7-0) at Benet (4-3)When: Friday, 7 p.m.
2021 spring result: Did not play
Outlook: Benet returns to the field after a rare bye week due to missing last week’s game due to a COVID-19 forfeit. The extra rest couldn’t have come at a better time of the season, considering the Redwings have to take on the mighty Hilltoppers. Coached by Jake Jaworski, Joliet Catholic is one of the best teams in the state. The Hilltoppers can score points in punches, so look for Benet’s defense to hold the key to pulling off the upset. The Hilltoppers scored 56 points against a quality Brother Rice team last week. In six games against in-state opponents, the Hilltoppers have yet to score under 41 points. Whereas Benet struggled stopping Brother Rice, dropping a 42-6 decision in Week 3. Stil, the Redwings are peaking at a good time, winning their last three games, including defeating Notre Dame 20-17 in Week 6.
Naperville Central (4-3, 2-2) at Metea Valley (3-4, 2-2)When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. p.m.
2021 spring result: Naperville Central 42, Metea Valley 7
Outlook: The Mustangs are in must-win mode if they want to earn a playoff berth. They built some momentum for a playoff drive with a three-game winning streak, but lost to Neuqua Valley and Naperville North in the last two games. The Mustangs’ 31-28 defeat to the Huskies last week was particularly painful, spoiling a chance to move up the conference standings and gain their fourth overall win of the season.
Naperville Central is coming off an impressive 48-20 win over DeKalb, which helped take the sting off consecutive losses to Neuqua Valley and Naperville North.
DeKalb at Neuqua Valley, 7 p.m.
Downers Grove North at Oak Park-River Forest, 7 p.m.
Fenton at Streamwood, 7:30 p.m.
Glenbard North at St. Charles North, 7:30 p.m.
Glenbard West at Lyons, 7:30 p.m.
Hinsdale South at Proviso East, 7 p.m.
Leyden at Addison Trail, 7 p.m.
Lisle at Manteno, 7 p.m.
McNamara at IC Catholic Prep, 7:15 p.m.
Montini at Nazareth, 7 p.m.
Morton at Downers Grove South, 6:30 p.m.
Proviso West at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Riverside-Brookfield at St. Francis, 7:30 p.m.
Waubonsie Valley at Naperville North, 7 p.m.
West Chicago vs. East Aurora, TBA
Westmont at Chicago Christian, 7:15 p.m.
Wheaton Academy at Elmwood Park, 7 p.m.
Wheaton Warrenville South at Lake Park, 7:30 p.m.