ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Four weeks into this football season the Auburn Knights have proven to be the most improved team in the NIC-10. Now the question is, have they improved enough to challenge for the very top of the conference? We’ll get a good idea Friday night when they take on the 4-0 Boylan Titans in our “Overtime” Gilley’s Heating and Air Conditioning game of the week.

The Knights are sitting with a 3-1 record, one game behind the Titans and Hononegah. Their only loss came in week one to Harlem 12-6. They were their own worst enemy that game with multiple fumbled punt snaps and a blocked punt. Since then, the Knights have reeled off wins over Guilford, Freeport, and East winning all three games comfortably.

“It’s very exciting,” said Auburn coach Willie Tolon. “I’m happy for my kids, and they deserve everything their getting right now.”

“You can see their progression from week to week,” said Boylan head coach John Cacciatore. “They’ve done more and more, and they’re getting better at it.”

Auburn hasn’t beaten Boylan in football since the 2017 season. A key to being a contender in the NIC-10 conference is having strong, talented guys in the trenches. The Knights have them this season in guys like Omar Ellis, Jabari Woods, and Alejandro Gomez.

“They’re a great team,” said Boylan receiver/defensive back Santana English. “I expect them to come out and play us how they play us every year. They come out and be physical.”

“They are physical in all phases of their football right now, which is why they’re where they are,” said Cacciatore.

“We basically just come into this game like any other game,” said Auburn running back/linebacker Patrick DuBose. “We’re just, we’re going to play how we play everybody else. We know we’ve just got to put a little more into what we’ve got going against them.”

From the Titans’ perspective, this is a game that they need to sharpen them. Other than Belvidere North two weeks ago, the Titans have faced a weak schedule. Coach Cacciatore wants his guys to come out Friday night and play four strong quarters. This game is the beginning of a tough stretch for them. They’ve got Hononegah and Harlem the next two weeks. 

“We still have plenty of things we have to get ready for,” said Cacciatore. “So, we try not to think about necessarily who is on that schedule, but how will we practice when we come out here? How are we playing on Friday night? That’s what our focus has been.”

“We haven’t really played to our full potential,” said English. “I just feel like we can, there’s always room for improvement.”

NOTE: For highlights and analysis of this game Friday night watch “Overtime” live at 11 p.m. on Fox 39.