Get unlimited digital access to $0.99 for 4 weeks.

Week 6 | Helfgot's 5 games to watch

No. 1 Mount Carmel at No. 2 Loyola

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Records: Mount Carmel 5-0, Loyola 5-0.

On the offensive

Matt Domer, Mount Carmel's Illinois-bound running back, has lived up to his reputation. His speed as the dive man in the option and Mount Carmel's overpowering offensive line make for a confounding combination to scheme against. Julius Holley and the Ramblers' ground game need to be at least effective enough to keep the defense guessing.

On the defensive

Loyola has a knack for slowing down high-scoring offenses by figuring out what to take away and what to live with from a matchup perspective. The veer option is designed to prevent that because, in theory, taking something away always leaves something else open. Caravan LB Nick Johnson and DB Deontae Brown have helped Big Ten-bound tackles Steve Richardson and Enoch Smith rush the passer.

The number: 1.

Mount Carmel loss — to Loyola in overtime — on the way to its 11th state-championship last fall. Also the ranking of the winner of this game.

The talk

There will be plenty of it before the game as Loyola is staging an ESPN Gameday-type event starting at noon.

Helfgot's pick: Loyola 21-20. No conviction here, but Ramblers rate the edge only because Mount Carmel is coming off an emotional road win against St. Rita.

No. 9 Naperville Central at No. 12 Wheaton Warrenville South

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Records: Naperville Central 5-0, Wheaton South 4-1.

On the offensive

Naperville Central has achieved an almost perfect 50-50 balance of rushing and passing yardage, with Illinois State-bound QB Jake Kolbe leading the way in both departments. Kolbe has thrown 11 touchdowns passes — six to Mike Kolzow and four to Ben Andreas — without an interception. Wheaton South likes to win low-scoring games with defense and special teams, but it needs to run the ball effectively with Isaiah Campos and Ryan Graham to trigger that plan.

On the defensive

Averaging 45.6 points per game has taken the focus off how good Naperville Central has been on this side of the ball. The Redhawks have recorded three shutouts against the lower rung of the DuPage Valley Conference. Wheaton South gave up a season-high total in its surprising 21-14 loss to Naperville North last week.

The number: 12.

Seasons since Naperville Central's last DVC championship. The Redhawks won their first 13 games in 2001 before falling to Downers Grove South in the first Class 8A championship game.

The talk

It's tempting but premature to say the winner is in the driver's seat in the loaded DuPage Valley Conference. Naperville Central finishes with Glenbard North, Wheaton North and Naperville North. Wheaton South plays Glenbard North in Week 8.

Helfgot's pick: Naperville Central 27-21. Kolbe gets it done again.

No. 5 Glenbard West at No. 15 Oak Park

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Records: Glenbard West 4-1, Oak Park 5-0.

On the offensive

Oak Park quarterback Lloyd Yates and running back Jamal Baggett can go the distance at any time, and the Huskies may need big plays to score because sustained drives don't happen often against Glenbard West. Running back Donahvon Vaughn, a transfer from Glenbard North, and receiver Hayden Carlson, an All-State safety, have emerged as playmakers for West.

On the defensive

Aside from one quarter in the opener against Wheaton South, Glenbard West's "Hitters" have been as ferocious as ever. Defense has been at the root of Oak Park's rise. A host of future college players have limited opponents to an average of eight points a game.

The number: .913.

Glenbard West's winning percentage since 2008. The Hilltoppers have lost one conference game in that time.

The talk

Is there still a gap between Glenbard West and the rest of the West Suburban Silver? The Hilltoppers already have dominated three teams expected to challenge their throne.

Helfgot's pick: Glenbard West 19-13. Stanford-bound kicker Hayden Lekacz could be the X-factor.

Stevenson at Warren

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Records: Stevenson 3-2, Warren 4-1.

On the offensive

Plagued by turnovers during its surprising 0-2 start, Stevenson is averaging 50 points a game during its three-game winning streak. Quarterback Willie Bourbon has a pair of Division I recruits to throw to in Matt Morrissey (Michigan State) and junior Cameron Green. Andrew Nickell has thrown for over 1,200 yards and 11 TDs for Warren's big-play offense.

On the defensive

Warren's Kyle Whitmer and Lucas Fulton will try to apply pressure on Bourbon from the defensive line. Morrissey is an outstanding safety for Stevenson, but he'll need help in the secondary as Nickell spreads the ball around to different receivers.

The number: 4.

Consecutive seasons Stevenson has won at least a share of the North Suburban Lake title since Warren won its last conference championship in 2008. The Patriots still have to play Lake Forest and Lake Zurich, while Lake Zurich owns victories over Warren and Lake Forest.

The talk

Stevenson is making do without two of its best offensive lineman. Western Michigan recruit Zach Novoselsky suffered a broken fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle in Week 3. Center Henry Sise went down with a knee injury opening night.

Helfgot's pick: Stevenson 42-35. Late defensive stop sends Patriots home happy.

Plainfield East at Oswego

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Records: Plainfield East 4-1, Oswego 3-2.

On the offensive: Oswego quarterback Steven Frank is among the most productive sophomores in the area, thanks in no small part to the contributions of big-play receivers Trevor Matczak and Zach West and versatile RB Tyler Walsh. The Panthers are averaging 40 points during their three-game winning streak. Plainfield East RBs Cullen Rompa and Jake Mayon are game-breakers, and QB Cole Kotopka is coming off perhaps his best game of the season in a 37-27 victory over Minooka.

On the defensive: Oswego's Bryce Holm, a four-year starter, is one of the area's better linebackers. He's helped limit the opposition to an average of 12 points a game in Oswego's three conference victories. Jordan Plantz, who returned an interception for a score last week, and the rest of the Plainfield East secondary will be challenged by the best passing attack they've seen this season.

The number: 17.

Oswego's Southwest Prairie Conference winning streak. The Panthers went 7-0 in league play each of the last two years.

The talk

Plainfield East is one win away from becoming playoff-eligible for the first time. The Bengals went 1-8, 1-8, 3-6 and 2-7 in their first four varsity seasons.

Helfgot's pick: Oswego 34-21. Plainfield East's time may be coming, but Oswego isn't ready to cooperate.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content