CN100 Sports Football Preview: Week 9 - Neuqua Valley vs. Glenbard North

stephanie kifowit
CN100 Game of the Week: Neuqua Valley vs. Glenbard North

IHSA Football Week 9 – Neuqua Valley vs. Glenbard North

– Neuqua Valley tries to cap a perfect regular season and a DuPage Valley Conference championship in its first season in the league Friday against Glenbard North.

The Wildcats go for those marks in a game that can be seen on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24. You can also watch it anytime in HD with Xfinity On Demand by clicking Get Local and CN100. X1 users, look for Get Local under the Xfinity Services tab.

Neuqua enters the game with some major star power. Senior wide receiver and free safety Isaiah Robertson is committed to Notre Dame. His offensive production is down to just 22 catches for 300 yards and four touchdowns due to his work on defense, where he’s racked up 40 tackles, 28 solo, and an interception.

Senior wide receiver Owen Piche, a Navy commit, has caught only six passes in four games this season, but Piche is in the starting lineup Friday.

Senior Donald Navarro III has picked up the slack in the receiving game with Piche and Robertson limited. He leads the team with 41 catches for 647 yards and four touchdowns, while also handling kick and punt returns.

The Wildcats use a pair of quarterbacks to trigger the offense. Junior Jake Eskoff is 47-for-74 for 772 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior Jack Bastable has gone 51-for-79 for 599 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Each quarterback has appeared in all eight games. Junior running back Cameron Raupach carries the load in the backfield with 710 yards and 10 touchdowns in 114 carries.

Defensively, Neuqua (8-0, 7-0) is carried by its linebackers. Senior Anthony Ippolito leads the team with 71 tackles, 55 solo, with six tackles for loss and an interception returned for an 86-yard touchdown. Senior Jon Rhattigan adds 70 tackles, 56 solo, with eight tackles for loss. Senior Casey Larson has 42 tackles, 27 solo, and two sacks.

Up front, senior defensive lineman Tommy Ciesla contributed 42 tackles, 24 solo, with three sacks and 10 tackles for loss, while junior cornerback Ryan Wheeler picked off four pass for 89 yards of returns.

"Neuqua Valley is a very talented team," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "Their defense is senior-heavy and that unit has played well all year."

That defense will be tasked with trying to slow down Glenbard North senior running back Vittorio Tricase. He has dominated the DVC this season, rushing for 1,507 yards and 29 touchdowns on 239 carries. He’s also caught seven passes for 174 yards and three more scores. Senior running back Isaiah Hawkins contributed 330 yards and three touchdowns in 67 carries.

Senior quarterback Shane Conway runs the show, throwing 60-for-103 for 1,097 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

Conway’s favorite target is senior receiver Jace James (36 receptions for 761 yards and three touchdowns). He’s also picked off seven passes defensively.

Like Neuqua, the Panthers (6-2, 5-2) are led by their linebackers. Seniors Zach Bachara (37 tackles) and Dmyreo Mitchell (36 tackles, eight tackles for loss), junior Anthony Marre (37 tackles) and sophomore Mike Wellman (42 tackles) lead the way. Senior defensive end Chris Chino-Noeun has 30 tackles.

"The team has improved throughout the season," Wilkens said. "It has been a learning experience up front offensively, and they’re going to have a challenge this week."

- Paul Johnson, CN100 Sports Correspondent


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