The 2012-2013 Season opened-up pretty much as I expected with only three teams being able to score victories. Two of the three victories, though, were against "easy pickings" while Oswego showed why it is one of Southwest Prairie Conference's best programs. But what about the other five teams? Well, some could have come away with better results despite the fact that their opponents are technically better football programs.
But as we have seen for awhile now, the biggest problem with the Southwest Prairie Conference (SPC) is that there are too many inconsistent programs. And until that changes, they will not be on par with some of the other conferences in the South and/or West Suburban area. As such, the DuPage Valley, Southwest Suburban, West Suburban and Upstate Eight Conferences and the Catholic Leagues have a distinct edge in Classes 5A thru 8A.
That is not to say, however, that the SPC cannot get there. But they must improve their programs in order to have a better chance to compete. As they say - it is a process and one with an eye towards the long term. And the long term must address eliminating the conference's performance chart looking like a Bell Curve whenever a good graduating class departs. There should be no reason why underclassmen cannot step right in and play competitively, but that will require altering some mindsets - especially when it comes to the overuse of two-way players when they don't really need to.
Last Weeks Game Recaps / Next Game Previews:
Oswego Panthers 47, Geneva Vikings 21
The Oswego Panthers (1-0) showed exactly why they are one of the high quality programs of the SPC. Not only have the Panthers always been known for its' hard-hitting football style but for also having their players ready to step right in and play despite graduation losses. And as a result they generally do not see the same fluctuations from year to year as other programs do. I guess they have a plan.
And what a plan that was last Friday Night. The Oswego Panthers (1-0) took a quality team in the Geneva Vikings (0-1) and made them look much worse than they are by forcing them into making some very uncharacteristic mistakes. In all the Vikings were forced into making a bad snap and six fumbles. And all but one fumble occurred in the 1st Half which not only gave Oswego an insurmountable 47-7 lead, but a "Slaughter Rule Running Clock" in the 2nd Half.
For Geneva, the proverbial nail in the coffin came when the Panthers stopped their apparent TD Drive with a forced fumble and an 98 yard TD Fumble Return by Jamaal Richardson just as the half expired. The game was essentially over at that point because making up a 40 point deficit with a running clock is all but impossible. They did, however, regain their composure enough in the 2nd Half to score twice while not giving up any more points.
Naturally this game had to have been a huge disappointment for Geneva fans as they were expecting a dual between two new starting QB's. Geneva sees Sophomore Dan Santacaterina taking over for Matt Williams while Oswego had turned over their offense to Freshman Steven Frank after a terrific 3-Year Career for All-Conference Ryan West. While Santacaterina was able to finish his start, Frank was pulled early in favor of Brett Wainwright.
Brett Wainwright figures to be 1st Year Head Coach Brian Cooney's most dangerous weapon this season and pegged to be in the field on both sides of the ball. Of course, Wainwright has proven himself as being the best "All-Around Athlete" in the conference and being one of the QB's in their Spread Offense only gives the Panthers that many more options to exploit teams this season.
Geneva opened the scoring when Bobby Hess ran it in from 7 yards out but it was all Oswego after Geneva couldn't protect the ball. Oswego scored all its points in the first half after a bad snap went over QB/P Santacaterina's head leading to a game-tying TD. Brett Wainwright, meanwhile, only threw three passes Friday Night, but they were all for TD's (Jack Kwaitkowski (2) 35 yds, 11 yds) and (1) Elliot McGaughy 15 yds). Jamaal Richardson returned 2 Fumbles for scores from 25 & 98 yds out and Mikeel Stewart (76 yards Rushing) added one from 5 yds out.
Geneva were able to finally get things going after halftime and with about 9 minutes left on the clock in the third quarter, RB Bobby Hess (144 Total Yards Rushing) broke a 54 Yard TD Run and QB Dan Santacinerina (8-12, 104 Passing Yards, 1 TD 0 INT) found Pace Temple from 25 yards out for their final score.
The Oswego Panthers will have another big test on Friday Night when they play the Waubonsie Valley Warriors (1-0) at home. The Warriors feature a potent running attack led by RB Austin Guido (38 Carries / 271 Yards, 3 TDs) and defeated the Naperville Central Redhawks (0-1-) 34-14.
The Naperville North Redhawks, who are expected to compete for a playoff spot out of the DuPage Valley Conference will face a formidable Neuqua Valley Wildcats (1-0) squad. The Wildcats punished DuPage Valley's Naperville North Huskies 43-20 on the road in their season-opener with a balanced attack, (QB Dylan Andrews 199 Yards Passing, 1 TD / Joey Rhattigan Rushing 165 Yards, 2 TD's).
Morris Redskins 14, Minooka Indians 6
Smash Mouth Football is the only way to descibe a Morris / Minooka game. And that was the reason I chose this game to attend and it didn't disappoint. Now I expected this game to close, but I didn't expect such a low scoring game. Especially after learning that 1st Year Head Couch Paul Forsythe would employ the Spread Offense this season.
The visiting Morris Redskins (1-0), led by Streator Transfer QB Zach Cinnamon, defeated the Minooka Indians (0-1)-14-6 in front of a packed house. Cinnamon who hadn't won a game since 2009, opened the scoring with a 38 Yard scamper down the Minooka Sidelines and added a 37 Yard TD Pass to Anthonee Monson with about a minute and one-half left in the half. The 2nd TD was set up by 6'-5" DB Danny Friend (an Indiana Recruit) when he first tipped and then picked-off Indians QB Joe Carnagio late in the 1st Half.
That wasn't the only reason that the Minooka's offense couldn't catch a break. Twice they were stopped when Redskins Defender's made touchdown-saving, shoe-string tackles. It became very clear that the Morris Defense had absolutely no intention of letting Minooka get close enough to score a touchdown that night. The Indians finally got on the scoreboard when Jacob Stytz nailed a 32 Yard Field Goal with 5-1/2 minutes left in the 3rd and again when he drilled a 30 Yarder with 3 minutes left in the quarter. Stytz, who is probably the best FG Kicker in the SPC also missed one attempt.
Zach Cinnamon showed some real poise after some early game jitters leading the Redskins Offense while RB Reese Sobol rushed for 60 Yards on 13 Attempts. Sobol also contributed on defense along with Mason Sopor, Collin Grogin, Danny Friend, Austin Taylor and Nik Countryman. And that, my friends, is the real story of the night. The Redskins Defense established themselves early as Collin Grogin sacked Joe Carnagio twice in the 1st Quarter and had no trouble after that with the Indians Offensive Line. Mason Sopor was hurrying Carnagio all night but he really came up big at the end of the game as Minooka still had a shot at forging a last gasp tie before time ran out.
Minooka's new offense, meanwhile, did not offer much on this night. Matter of fact it looked every bit as predictable as in the past and that is a shame because the Indians have some nice talent on offense. They need to spread it out (excuse the pun) more and get more player's involved if there are any expectations for this new offense. Like I said they have the talent although the O-Line does not look as good as years past and that is critical for that type of system. The Redskins, it seemed, knew exactly what the Offensive Line was going to do before they did it so I don't know if they are telegraphing something as they lined up or not. But hey, this was the first game too.
Minooka (0-1) will be at the Providence Catholic Celtics (1-0) Friday Night. The Indians lost 7-0 at home last season in a game they should have won, but I think this is a much different Celtics team despite what naysayers believe. Providence handed the Hilltoppers of Joliet Catholic Academy (0-1) their supper last week with a 40-34 home game upset. They are at home again and there will no doubt be some electricity in the stands. Minooka could start 0-2, as I predicted, and while another loss is not a season killer given the SPC this season - they need to have their offense working here. Providence, meanwhile, could exploit the Indians on the corners and could be a factor in this game. T-O-U-G-H G-A-M-E!
Speaking of which - the JCA Hilltoppers will be playing the Chicago Robeson Raiders (1-0) a 44-0 winner over the Chicago Julian Jaguars. JCA should prevail here but Robeson is as tough as nails although their lop-sided victory was in part due to an IHSA inquiry into the transfers of 2 key players for the Jaguars.
The Morris Redskins are at home versus the Oak Lawn Richards Bulldogs (1-0), a 26-0 winner over Chicago Harlan Falcons (0-1). Morris should prevail in that contest.
Bolingbrook 33, Plainfield South 6
QB Aaron Bailey accounted for 4 Touchdowns (3 Rushing / 2,1,&8 Yards and 1 Passing 32 Yards) as the defending IHSA Class 8A State Champion Bolingbrook Raiders (1-0), defeated the visiting Plainfield South Cougars (0-1).
Plainfield South at home versus the Joliet West Tigers (1-0), a 48-0 winner over the Thornridge Falcons (0-1). The Cougars MUST BE CAREFUL here, Joliet West have a much better team this season than last and have a solid group of speedy athletes. An 0-2 start to the season would probably hurt their chances at making the playoffs three seasons in a row. BEWARE!
Bolingbrook will visit the Romeoville Spartans (0-1), a 39-0 loser to the Hinsdale South Hornets (1-0). Bolingbrook wins big!
Bradley-Bourbonnais 27, Plainfield North 22
RB Trenton Cavin rushed for 2 TD's as the visting Plainfield North Tigers (0-1) lost to the Bradley-Bourbonnais Boilermakers (1-0). The Boilermakers made a Goal Line Stand and then took a Safety to preserve the win.
Plainfield North at home versus the Lockport Township Porters (0-1), a 27-7 loser to Downers Grove North Trojans. The Tigers have a good shot here. Lockport is not as strong as years past, but I wouldn't underestimate them either.
Bradley-Boubonnais will visit the Kankakee Kays (0-1). a 49-12 loser to the Kankakee Bishop McNamara Fightin' Irish and start the year 2-0.
Hinsdale South 39, Romeoville 0
Hornets QB D.J. Deolitsis ran for three touchdowns and threw for another as the Hinsdale Central Hornets (1-0) won their home opener.
The Romeoville Spartans (0-1) at home versus the Bolingbrook Raiders (1-0), a 33-6 winner over the Plainfield South Cougars (0-1).
The Hinsdale Hornets (1-0) at home versus Elmhurst York (0-1), a 42-0 loser to the Rolling Meadows Mustangs (1-0).
Metea Valley 24, Plainfield East 22
The Metea Valley Mustangs (1-0) came from behind three times to score a 24-22 victory over the Plainfield East Bengals (0-1). The Mustangs forced 7 fumbles and winning 4 of them, but none bigger than the last 2 as Plainfield East was trying to run out the clock leading 22-21. Sophomore K Nick Dodsen then converted a 20 yard field goal, his third of the night (20, 36 & 20). After Metea Valley took a 24-22 lead, Plainfield East tried to put together one last drive when Tamel Kumar recovered his 2nd fumble in the last 6 minutes.
Plainfield East opened the scoring with a 52 yard TD pass from Jacob Kotopka to Mozel Hargray. The Mustangs tied it when QB Blaise Bell found Blaze Miller from 8 yards out. After the Bengals' Brennen Rompa ran it from the one - the Mustangs answered when Bell found Chase Nelson from 8 yards out and a 15-15 Halftime Tie. After the half Dodsen hit the first of his FG's as Metea Valley took their first lead. But the Bengals weren't done as Jacob Kotopka found Adrian Simbulan from 20 yards out and a 22-18 lead. Dodsen then kicked his 36 yarder to put the score at 22-21 before hitting the game-winner in a wild finish. Metea Valley's QB Blaise Bell finished with 122 Passing Yards and 2 TD's while RB Cameron Wilcox Rushed 36 times for 172 Yards.
The Plainfield East Bengals will visit the Batavia Bulldogs (1-0), a 42-41 winner over the Glenbard North Panthers (0-1) and could put the Bengals in a precarious position with an 0-2- start. An upset over Batavia is possible, but they cannot afford to fumble that many times a game against any team. Period! Here's the good news though - the Bengals should earn a win versus Oswego East in their conference opener in Week 3.
The Metea Valley Mustangs will visit the Glenbrook South Titans (0-1), a 55-41 loser to the Prospect Knights (1-0) and could very well open up the 2012-2013 Season 2-0, but they will have to be every bit as opportunistic as they were against Plainfield East. The Titans will compete for the Mid-Suburban East.
Oswego East 35, Rich South 20
Brendon Zachery threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns for host The Rich South Stars (0-1) lost to the Oswego East Wolves (1-0) 35-20 in their season home opener. Stars' Brendon Zachery threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns as his brother Jaylen caught 8 passes for 188 Yards. There were no game stats available for Oswego East, but, this is the 2nd consecutive year they have defeated one of the weakest teams in the South Suburban Area.
The Oswego East Wolves at home versus the Oak Lawn Community Spartans (0-1), a 33-24 loser to the Niles North Vikings. The Wolves should open the season 2-0 with their 2nd consecutive weak opponent, although the Spartans are a better team than the one that lost last year.
The Rich South Stars (0-1) will visit the Thornwood Thunderbirds (0-1), a 20-14 loser to the Bloom Township Blazing Trojans (1-0) and will likely open the season at 0-2.
Plainfield Central 42, Chicago Amundsen 7
The Plainfield Central Wildcats (1-0) blew out the Chicago Amundsen Vikings (0-1) for the 2nd consecutive year.
There were no stats available for Plainfield Central or Chicago Amundsen.
The Plainfield Central Wildcats at home versus the St. Charles North North Stars (0-1), a 30-0 loser to the Hinsdale Central Red Devils (1-0). Plainfield Central should defeat St. Charles North much easier than they did last year though: St. Charles North were leading 21-20 with 5 seconds left, but after the North Stars took 3 Knees and a Delay of Game Penalty they were forced to punt. Wildcats Bryce Douglas got through the line and blocked the kick and teammate Mike Farr fell on the loose ball as the buzzer went off for a 26-21 away victory. The Wildcats are better and St Charles North not! Plainfield Central will start 2-0 - can they earn enough opposition points this season to make playoffs? Dunno - we'll see.
The Chicago Amundsen Vikings will visit the Maine East Blue Demons (1-0), a 28-16 winner over the Chicago Schurz Bulldogs (0-1). This the kind of game that can go either way.
Tags: 2012-2013 Prep Football Season, Football, High School Football, Minooka H.S., Oswego East H.S., Oswego H.S., Plainfield Central H.S., Plainfield East H.S., Plainfield North H.S., Plainfield South H.S., Prep Football, Romeoville H.S., Southwest Prairie Conference