Five things we learned in Week 7 of the local football season:
1. The Class 5A state title goes through Woodstock: Marian Central made an emphatic statement Friday in its 49-24 victory over Montini, the three-time defending Class 5A state champion and top-ranked team.
The Hurricanes fell behind, 17-0, then proceeded to steamroll the Broncos for the final three quarters.
Montini coach Chris Andriano was mightily impressed with Marian’s team speed, both on offense and defense.
The Hurricanes turned the ball over three times in the first half, but did not panic. Quarterback Chris Streveler, who committed to Minnesota, showed he is one of the best players in the state while leading the comeback.
Marian’s defense stopped the Broncos cold, the offensive line moved Montini out and running back Ephraim Lee and wide receiver Greg Walczak had huge games.
“Beating Montini is a great accomplishment,” Walczak said. “We knew we had it in us.”
2. R-B gets what it wants: Richmond-Burton graduated most of its starters from the Class 4A state runner-up and started 1-2 while new starters learned on the job.
The Rockets’ 28-0 victory at Burlington Central Friday put them in prime position to win their fourth consecutive Big Northern Conference East Division championship (if they win out, they’ll probably have to share with North Boone or Burlington).
R-B (5-2, 3-1) will have a tough game at North Boone (7-0, 4-0) this week. Vikings quarterback Austin Baden is a third-year starter and has thrown for 1,526 yards and 19 touchdowns.
But it’s a great position for R-B, which doesn’t need any help from anyone else.
3. Marszal as tough as they come: Cary-Grove wide receiver-safety Zach Marszal got the attention for the three kinds of touchdowns he scored against Huntley in Saturday’s 41-14 victory in a Fox Valley Conference Valley Division game.
In hockey, it’s called the natural hat trick (three straight scores by the same player). Marszal scored on a pass reception, interception return and a rushing touchdown on a reverse.
What was almost as important was the job Marszal did playing cornerback on Huntley wide receiver Bryce Beschorner, the area’s leading receiver. Beschorner had four receptions for 60 yards, one 30-yard catch came on a fake punt.
Marszal had two passes defended while covering Beschorner, a 6-foot-3 receiver who is a difficult matchup for most defensive backs.
“We were very aware of his ability,” C-G coach Brad Seaburg said. “We’ve played against some good receivers in the last few years and we know you have to shut them down.”
Therefore, Marszal moved from safety to the outside to take on the area’s top passcatcher, and he showed why he was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team performer last season and still is one of the area’s top defenders.
4. Woodstock North has a shot: The Thunder lost to Crystal Lake Central, 21-14, in Week 4, but will still has a shot at grabbing a share of the FVC Fox title with two more wins. North (5-2, 3-1) hosts Hampshire (3-4, 2-2) this week and then could face Grayslake North (6-1, 4-0) in Week 9.
Grayslake North had piled up big points and yards on most of its opponents, scoring 32 points in every game after the opener.
Woodstock North, in its fourth year of varsity football, is guaranteed another winning season and likely will make the playoffs. The Thunder can even share the title again with two more wins.
5. Folliard plays new role: Prairie Ridge safety Sean Folliard committed to Northern Illinois University over the summer with a reputation for making big plays on defense. On Friday, with two quarterbacks knocked out with injuries, Folliard took on a different role.
He ran the Wolves’ option at quarterback, rushing for 22 times for 137 yards and an 80-yard touchdown. Folliard’s touchdown gave the Wolves (2-5, 0-4) a 16-14 lead on Jacobs (4-3, 2-2) late in the third quarter. The Golden Eagles finished strong with 20 fourth-quarter points to greatly help their playoff hopes.
Last year’s Class 6A state champions will not make the playoffs, but the offense could get a boost from Folliard in the remaining games at McHenry and at Cary-Grove.
– Joe Stevenson