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Week 4 Football Capsules

Minooka’s (7) Connor Etzkorn looks down field for some running room against Joliet Central last Friday. Minooka will look to run its winning streak to two games with a win this week.
Minooka’s (7) Connor Etzkorn looks down field for some running room against Joliet Central last Friday. Minooka will look to run its winning streak to two games with a win this week.

Carmel (1-2) vs. Joliet Catholic (2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Radio: WJOL-AM 1340

Last season: Did not play

The skinny: Things have been up and down for the Hilltoppers to start the season, but last week’s win over St. Viator was definitely up. From the looks of things, it is hard to call a Week 4 game a must win, but it might be considering the back half of the Hilltopper schedule. Joliet Catholic is honestly hoping to get through the game intact as each week seems to be bringing another major injury into its ranks.

The pick: Joliet Catholic

Joliet Central (1-3)
at Oswego East (3-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Oswego East 35, Joliet Central 0

The skinny: Since a win in Week 1, Joliet Central has struggled to keep itself in games. That trend will have a hard time reversing against what has been a very good Oswego East team, particularly on defense. Oswego East has allowed only one touchdown in its first three games, and that doesn’t bode well for a scuffling Steelmen offense.

The pick: Oswego East

Minooka (1-2) at Plainfield East (2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Minooka 21, Plainfield East 0

The skinny: This quickly has become a pivotal game for both teams. Minooka strives to get back to the .500 mark after playing two currently undefeated teams to start the season. They got healthy in a hurry in a 55-6 win last week over Joliet Central and would like to continue that ride. Plainfield East pulled off a bit of a surprise in its narrow win over Plainfield Central, and the Bengals would like nothing more than to run their winning streak to three.

The pick: Minooka

Plainfield South (3-0)
at Plainfield Central (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Plainfield Central 21, Plainfield South 14

The skinny: Plainfield South is off to a tremendous start, but it will be challenged to maintain a high level of play against a Plainfield Central team that probably is feeling a bit spurned by a narrow one-point loss to Plainfield East last week. If anything, Central is likely to find the sledding a little tough against a South defense that has been stingy with yards and points this season.

The pick: Plainfield South

Romeoville (0-3) at
Plainfield North (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Plainfield North 47, Romeoville 0

The skinny: Plainfield North is a bit banged up right now but has an opportunity to get healthy both literally and figuratively against a Romeovillle team that really has been scuffling. Evan Heine was put under center for the first time last week, filling in for an injured Greg Budig. If he’s still in that role, he might be able to build some confidence against a Romeoville defense that has been surrendering points in bunches.

The pick: Plainfield North

Oswego (3-0) at Joliet West (0-3)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last season: Oswego 25, Joliet West 6

The skinny: Joliet West’s schedule was considerably front-loaded, but this Week 4 matchup could not come at a worse time for a team that needs some positive reinforcement right now. Oswego still is the class of the conference, and running back Charles Coleman continues to batter the defenses of the SouthWest Prairie conference. The Tigers would need a massive effort from their defensive unit to hang in there.

The pick: Oswego

Providence Catholic (3-0)
at St. Rita (1-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last season: Providence Catholic 26,
St. Rita 21

The skinny: Before the season, if you would have told Providence that it would be facing a sub .500 team in St. Rita in Week 4, it probably would have gotten a good laugh out of it. But the Mustangs have labored with a tough schedule, while Providence has flourished behind its running game, the same thing that St. Rita had a lot of trouble stopping in a Week 1 loss to Joliet Catholic.

The pick: Providence Catholic

Homewood-Flossmoor (3-0)
at Bolingbrook (3-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last season: Homewood-Flossmoor 48, Bolingbrook 20

The skinny: This should be an epic battle between two highly talented teams. Homewood-Flossmoor grinded out two wins against quality out-of-state opponents and seems primed to make a run at the conference crown. But it will have to dispatch a hungry and talented Bolingbrook team to stay on that path. The Raiders’ backfield tandem of Anthony Williams and Quentin Pringle could be the difference.

The pick: Homewood-Flossmoor

Lincoln-Way Central (2-1)
at Lockport (0-3)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last season: Lincoln-Way Central 42, Lockport 0

The skinny: The Knights simply went about their business of dismantling an inferior Thornwood team in a 35-0 victory. They will try to stay on that workman-like path against a Lockport squad that still seems to be searching for its identity. Progress was definitely made by the Porters in a 20-16 loss to Thornton, and running back Austin Hubert showed real flashes of being a potential difference maker for the Porter offense.

The pick: Lincoln-Way Central

Lincoln-Way East (3-0)
at Sandburg (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last season: Lincoln-Way East 46, Sandburg 7

The skinny: Sandburg appeared to make some strides early, but definitely took some steps backward in a loss to Bolingbrook. The Eagles have no time to lick their wounds, however, as Lincoln-Way East appears to be a runaway train right now, steamrolling Andrew in a Week 3 victory. The Griffins still have been without top offensive performer A.J. Henning due to a hip injury, but it would be surprising if they risked his return in this game unless he was 100 percent.

The pick: Lincoln-Way East

Thornridge (1-2) at
Lincoln-Way West (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last season: Lincoln-Way West 49, Thornridge 8

The skinny: The Warriors claimed a win over Bradley-Bourbonnais without the services of their leading rusher, Donte Barber. They switched over to what they had to when Barber missed his entire junior season and inserted Caleb Marconi as the primary runner. If Barber’s injury is long term, both Marconi and Anthony Izzarelli should be expected to shoulder more of the load.

The pick: Lincoln-Way West

Yorkville (3-0) at Morris (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:15 p.m. Friday

Last season: Morris 13, Yorkville 0

The skinny: Morris survived a tough nonconference schedule admirably and now enters another potential minefield in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East, as none of the other four teams has lost a game yet. The success of Morris in this game likely hinges on its ability to break through against a Yorkville defense that hasn’t been too free in allowing points thus far.

The pick: Morris

Lemont (1-2) at Tinley Park (2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Lemont 42, Tinley Park 0

The skinny: After a less than spectacular nonconference slate, Lemont certainly is looking forward to getting into the swing of things in the South Suburban Blue, a league that it typically finds itself at the top or near the top of every season. Tinley Park is off to a solid start but hasn’t played anywhere near the level of competition that Lemont has played.

The pick: Lemont

Coal City (2-1) at Streator (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Coal City 45, Streator 0

The skinny: The Coalers are riding high right now, particularly on the defensive side of the football. Limiting Herscher to seven points is a good sign even if the Tigers’ offensive attack isn’t quite what it has been in years past. Quarterback Payton Hutchings threw three touchdown passes in last week’s win, but the status of leading rusher Connor Skubic is in question after he left last week’s game early with an injury.

The pick: Coal City

Herscher (2-1) at Reed-Custer (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Did not play

The skinny: Reed-Custer has made some strides under new coach Gavin Johnston, but they still have some work to do to elbow their way into the upper echelon in the Interstate Eight. Quarterback Josh Loomis has had a solid season leading the attack, but the Comets have continued to struggle against the conference’s better teams, which Herscher still can include themselves among.

The pick: Herscher

Peotone (2-1) vs. Lisle (3-0) at Benedictine University

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Peotone 27, Lisle 7

The skinny: Peotone quickly regrouped from a narrow loss in Week 2 by relying on its potent ground game. Anchored by the bruising running style of Ryan Brewer that’s what Peotone will look to accentuate moving forward. They’ll need that facet of its game in top flight shape against a Lisle team that is surging right now. The Lions ended a long drought against Wilmington with a win in Week 3 and Lisle’s home turf tends to be a tough place for visitors to play.

The pick: Lisle

Wilmington (1-2) at Sandwich (3-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Wilmington 40, Sandwich 14

The skinny: The Wildcats are in a situation that they haven’t found themselves in quite some time, below the .500 mark. In order to stop the slide, the Wildcats will have to topple an undefeated team in the Indians. That seems like a daunting proposition, but Wilmington’s schedule has been a bit tougher to start and a three-game losing streak for the Wildcats seems almost impossible to fathom.

The pick: Wilmington

Clifton Central (1-2) at Dwight (1-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last season: Clifton Central 49, Dwight 12

The skinny: On the surface it appears like this is another toss-up game for Dwight in Sangamon Valley Conference play. The two have a common opponent as both handled winless Westville fairly easily. But Clifton Central’s defense has been consistently pretty solid this season and might be the difference in this one. Logan Graham has been a steady performer for Dwight this season, but he could use some assistance.

The pick: Clifton Central

Paxton (2-1) at Seneca (2-1)

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Saturday

Last season: Did not play

The skinny: The Fighting Irish should get an indication of how they really stack up in the Sangamon Valley Conference race against Paxton, who looks like the league frontrunner at this time. Seneca’s ground game has proven to be up to the task for much of the season to this point and it will be called upon once again to give them a chance here.

The pick: Paxton