Friday night will be a key night in the NIC-10 football race with two big games. One will have unbeaten Auburn taking on 2-1 Belvidere North in our Sports Connection Game Of The Week.
This game will play out at Belvidere North a place where Auburn teams haven’t had much luck under Dan Appino.
“We haven’t won at Belvidere North yet, so that’s our big challenge in front of us is to be the first of the teams that since we’ve been here at Auburn that can put together a good game on that grass,” says Appino.
Both teams are coming off emotional wins last week. Auburn hung on when Boylan missed a last second field goal try to remain unbeaten. The Blue Thunder got a big win over crosstown rival Belvidere to boost their record to 2-1.
“We won by quite a bit so I think right now we’re flying pretty high,” says Belvidere North fullback Clay Davis. “We’re trying to just stay there and keep up the intensity in practice.”
“I think our kids are looking forward to the opportunity,” says Belvidere North coach Jeff Beck.”Right now Auburn is obviously one of the undefeated teams in the conference, so if our kids want to think that they’re a playoff team and think that they’re at the top of this conference you want to play this game.”
The Knights have a few guys that are banged up and top running back DaQwuan Bell will probably miss his third straight game.
“It makes a big difference in what we want to do,” says Auburn quarterback Quay Thompson. “He’s obviously a thousand-plus rushing yards last year. That makes a big difference. We’d love to have him back.”
The Knights are still looking to clean up some of their penalties and their issues with snapping the ball.
The Knights know the Blue Thunder are a dangerous team with a talented quarterback in Callahan Diercks and running back in Davis. He has rushed for 321 yards the last two weeks. And the Blue Thunder have a stingy defense.
“A really disciplined group of kids,” says Appino. “Good size. And they’ve got some big kids running their option attack this year, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
“Whenever you play Auburn you have to try to match their speed and athleticism,” says Beck. “They have athletes all over the place.
“They’ve got a lot of fast, agile kids on their team, but I think we’re pretty good too,” says Davis.
The other key game Friday has 2-1 Boylan taking on 3-0 Hononegah in Rockton.
Catch the highlights Friday night at ten on WTVO 17 and again Saturday on the half-hour Sports Connection. That airs at 10:30 a.m. on Rockford’s MyNetwork TV (digital channel 17.2, Comcast Cable Channel 427) and again on Fox 39 at 11 a.m.