After a tough first week, in which the Oak Park and River Forest and Fenwick football team each lost a nonconference game (and our intrepid football reporter Melvin Tate picked both of them), the Huskies, Friars and Melvin look to get back on track this weekend with wins.
Here are this week’s game previews and predictions.
St. Ignatius vs. Fenwick at Triton College in River Grove
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Fenwick 0-1; St. Ignatius 1-0
Last Week: Fenwick lost to Kenwood 20-9; St. Ignatius defeated Hammond (Indiana) Gavit 33-0
Outlook: Fenwick suffered a surprising upset at the hands of Kenwood. The Friars’ younger players struggled, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Mitch Lopez had a solid game with 88 yards on 16 carries, but quarterback Danny Cronin had a tough night, completing only 4 of 22 passes for 29 yards.
On defense, there were good contributions turned in by Tom Dvorak (5 1/2 tackles, 1 sack), Tim Carey (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble), Max Forst (4 1/2 tackles), Solomon Singleton (4 tackles), Konrad Skowyra (2 sacks) and Marcus Thomas (3 tackles, 1 interception).
St. Ignatius looked solid last week at home versus Hammond Gavit. The Wolfpack runs the triple-option offense, an old-school running offense rarely seen in today’s game. Given that most defenses these days are geared up to stop pro-style and spread offenses, it’s a challenge trying to adjust to the triple-option in one week. Running back Giorgio Arquilla leads St. Ignatius’ attack. Linebacker Declan Callahan and Zach Allen lead a stout Wolfpack defense.
Fenwick has had recent experience with St. Ignatius’ triple-option. Unfortunately, the Wolfpack walloped the Friars 34-0 loss last November during the Prep Bowl Playoffs. However, with more time to adjust, the Friars’ defense should perform better.
The key to tonight’s game will be the Fenwick offense. With four new starters on the offensive line, Fenwick lost the battle along the line of scrimmage.
Good teams improve between Weeks 1 and 2, and I believe the Friars O-line will put forth a better showing. If it does so, it will have a chance to establish ball control. As long as Fenwick keeps the ball away for as long as possible from St. Ignatius, the Friars will have a good shot at victory. Cronin will bounce back with a strong game. St. Ignatius won’t be easy to beat, but the Friars will get it done.
TATE’S TAKE: FENWICK 24, ST. IGNATIUS 21
Oak Park and River Forest at Downers Grove South
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Records: OPRF 0-1; DGS 0-1
Last Week: OPRF lost at home to Waubonsie Valley 24-17; DGS lost at Bolingbrook 35-0
Outlook: With both OPRF and Downers Grove South are coming off season-opening losses, expect an intense battle tonight in this West Suburban Conference crossover game. The Huskies’ defense had a strong showing overall against Waubonsie, but a handful of big plays given up proved to be costly. Better discipline with assignments and coverage will be a key.
On offense, while sophomore QB Jaden McGill had a good debut last week, the Huskies hope to receive increased production from the running backs.
Downers Grove South was shut out at Bolingbrook. However, the Mustangs are a team filled with dynamic playmakers, including Jayden Lambert, who can line up at quarterback, running back, or wide receiver on any given play. Defensive back/wide receiver Jaelyn Blecke (Northern Michigan recruit) and two-way lineman Shawn Lee are other Mustangs to keep an eye on.
This should be a highly competitive game as neither school wants to start the season 0-2. I’m going with the Huskies tonight. This is a very good team that frankly should’ve beaten Waubonsie Valley. I’m confident OPRF has made the necessary adjustments and should prevail.
TATE’S TAKE: OPRF 28, DGS 14