FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS RESULTS
Oswego H.S. 48, Oswego East 10
Plainfield North 49, Plainfield Central 7
Plainfield East 37, Minooka 27
Romeoville H.S. 34, Plainfield South 7
The Plainfield South Cougars (3-1, 2-0) can put themselves on the cusp of the IHSA State Playoffs with a win over their Southwest Prairie Conference rivals, the Romeoville Spartans (2-2, 1-1) on Friday Night. And the fact that they are playing at home should help the cause as that usually means a loud and raucous Blue Crew will be on hand to cheer them on.
And the Cougars need that support as the Romeoville Spartans are not the same conference patsy they once were. Granted they lost 31-13 last week to Conference Co-Leaders, the Oswego Panthers (2-2, 2-0) but I suspect that that game would have been a lot closer had they not turned the ball over five times. So no doubt Head Coach Jeff Kuna was giving the team a little extra practice in preparation for a Plainfield South Cougars Squad that is not only explosive offensively but darn good at forcing turnovers too.
Speaking of an explosive offense, the Cougars Josh Harris scored 5 touchdowns to account for all the points (except the PAT's) in a 34-3 thrashing of the previously undefeated Oswego East Wolves (3-1, 1-1). So it will be interesting to see what the speedster will do against a Spartan Defense that has been known to give up chunks of yardage.
Harris has already scored 13 TD's (9 Rushing / 4 Receiving) thus far. So - can Joshua Harris give Plainfield South another High-Five Game? Well I have no doubts that he can, but I also have a sneaky suspicion that there will be others adding to the scoreboard total in this game. RB/WO Anthony Woods and WR Brandon Johnson, RB/LB Marco Melgoza and RB/LB Zachary Tuzak for instance, have all been doing a great job. And that gives QB Kody Voda more options to open up the field.
But even the best offensive skill players will tell you that they simply couldn't do very much unless their Offensive Line weren't doing what they are supposed to be doing. And that is something that Eric Aguirre, Thomas "TJ" Grady, Nathan Karas, Richard Kelly, Craig Krueger, Joseph Miggins and and Robert Szudarski have been doing pretty much all season.
The Cougars Defensive Line and Linebackers, meanwhile, have been playing well all season too. But it must be pointed that they have really raised their intensity level these past two weeks as they are playing with authority and being opportunistic. They have forced fumbles and continue to make key interceptions week in and week out.
And they did it again versus the Oswego East Wolves as LB Roberto Carillo (1) and LB Joseph Colon (3) were able to stop offensive drives by QB Tyler Kennedy with their four interceptions. Jacob Cozzi, meanwhile, recovered a fumble by Wolves RB Austin Butts to stop another.
And who will forget that huge interception by Zachary Tuzak to end that wild overtime victory over Plainfield North the week before? Or how about those jarring tackles by Clifton Garrett and Mason Matesevic? This is sound defense and while they may give up their share of points, they do have a knack of coming up big when they need to.
But they will have to come up big again versus the Romeoville Spartans because they have some real offensive talent this year as QB Kelvin Jones can spread the ball around to in Miguel Ford, Gill Whitaker, Charles Hunter, Anthony Love and Mark Hammond. But here's the deal, Jones can also be his own worst enemy at times with ill-timed or ill-placed passes and the Cougars Defense will need to capitalize on that just as they did against the Oswego East Wolves.
Prediction: Plainfield South 38 Romeoville 16
Other Week Five SPC Match-ups & Predictions:
Minooka versus Plainfield East
The Minooka Indians (2-2, 1-1) are coming off a much-needed "total win" over the Plainfield Central Wildcats (0-4, 0-2). As I said in last week's preview, the Wildcats would be one of those "right opponents" a struggling team needs right now. And Minooka made the most of it with a 48-7 rout. So that was not unexpected. But as I also told one of my friends (who happens to be a die-hard Minooka fan) the next game will be a lot tougher and will probably determine how the rest of the year will go for either team.
So what will happen then when Minooka faces the Plainfield East Bengals (3-1, 1-1)? Well that's a real good question especially since the Bengals were able to stun the Plainfield North Tigers (1-3, 0-2) 21-16 in the "Battle of 119th Street." Now, some will say that the Tigers are fading fast, but I don't think that they are as bad as their record would indicate. I also think that whatever has been ailing them will be rectified in their game versus the Plainfield Central Wildcats (0-4, 0-2). Just as Minooka needed them the week before so does Plainfield North.
Plainfield East, meanwhile, has always had some highly competitive and interesting games versus the Minooka Indians, so I don't see that changing this week considering the Bengals are sensing that they are on the verge of getting enough victories to qualify for the IHSA State Playoffs for the first time. And that makes them just that much more dangerous and Head Coach Mike Romeli will have the Bengals ready!
And the way the way the Bengals defense have been playing of late, well I can see them stopping an Indians running game in its tracks if they continue to play like a swarm of bees. Besides, the Bengals aren't the Wildcats defense here and the Minooka Indians have to pound that defensive line relentlessly to open up a viable attack. Can the Indians do it? Sure they can after all RB Nathan Gunn can pound it with the best of them. But the Indian O-Line has been erratic this season and you never know what you will get from week to week.
The Bengals will also be looking to jump out front quickly in this game and they have the offensive players to do just that. And don't forget, the Bengals opened-up a very quick 14-0 lead in the 1st Quarter versus the Tigers when QB Cole Kotopka unleashed a 96 yard TD Pass with Dante Hartsfield and then handed-off to RB Jake Mahon for a 95 Yard TD Run. So if Kotopka and his guys are "on" this week, well the Indians have their hands full.
My biggest concern with Minooka is that they have been kind of hot - cold this year and that is not typical of the Indians. It is not as if they don't have talent because they do but I also think the loss of QB Shane Briscoe hurts them in that he was a true passer as opposed to QB Jacob Czerniakowski who is more like the former Joe Carnagio. Great Athletes Both! But it makes the Indians Offense very, very predictable and if the Offensive Line isn't clearing out the lanes the way they ought to be able to for RB Nathan Gunn and RB Victor Turpin, well then that just makes it all the much harder. But hey, I have been wrong before too but I foresee a much tougher and closer game than most here.
Prediction: Plainfield East 24, Minooka 22
Oswego versus Oswego East
The Oswego Panthers (2-2, 2-0) are still the team to beat in the Southwest Prairie Conference until someone beats them in conference play. And I don't think it will be by the Oswego East Wolves (3-1, 1-1) this year. Now that is not to say an upset can't happen because these two have put up some points in previous contests and the two even had an awfully close 35-28 contest in 2011-2012 Season. But if we go by last year's 50-29 result or the 2010-2011 40-21, the Panthers are probably a 20 point favorite here.
Besides, the Oswego Panthers seem to be playing good football the past two weeks, a 41-13 win over Minooka and 31-13 win over Romeoville. Panthers QB Steven Frank found his groove last week with 3 TD Passes (55, 39 and 36 Yards) with two going to WR Zachary West. WR Tyler Walsh and Bryce Holm, meanwhile, have been the heart and soul of this team and have been able to inspire their teammates.
The Panthers Defense intercepted Romeoville 4 times last week while Oswego East QB Tyler Kennedy was pilfered 4 times, so I have to assume Head Coach Tyson LeBlanc will be looking at some changes in the game plan especially since WR/LB Conor Nally was something of a ghost for a good part of their game against the Cougars. I am also not sure if RB/WR Branden Lowe will be available this week after sitting out last week with a concussion, but I will say this - they are a much different team with Lowe in the lineup. RB Khalil Driver, meanwhile, got pretty banged up against the Cougars and am not sure what his status is, but RB Austin Butts played fairly well in his place as did WR/RB Trevor Kalish.
Still a lot of questions for me in this year's Battle of Oswego.
Prediction: Oswego 33, Oswego East 23
Plainfield North versus Plainfield Central
Well, if the Plainfield North Tigers (1-3, 0-2) lose this game versus the Plainfield Central Wildcats (0-4, 0-2) their season is effectively over. But I don't think that they will lose this game as the Wildcats are just struggling this season. But I think that was kind of expected given the heavy graduation losses. Never the less, the Wildcats are getting experience for next year and that may just be a good thing.
As for the Tigers - their bright spot last week was that they hung in there and made it a game versus the Plainfield East Bengals. Yes a loss is a loss, but it wasn't the usual blowing of a big lead as it was the prior two weeks when they took 20-0 and 34-7 leads before losing 21-20 and 41-34 in overtime. So it was good to see that QB Dilibe Ekowa finished strong with two well-executed TD Passes; a 7 yarder to Kyle Speas making it 21-9 and the second, a late 34 yard TD strike to Jack O'Connor to make it 21-16.
And that, I believe, will have the team eager to put on a better show this week.
And believe me, the Tigers are a better team than what their record indicates!
Plainfield North 38, Plainfield Central 8
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