Hononegah and Boylan ready to crank it up for another NIC-10 showdown

High School Football

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –We will learn a lot about the NIC-10 football race Friday night when Hononegah plays at Boylan. Can the 4-0 Indians take another big step toward a possible conference championship or will the 3-1 Titans throw the conference race wide open? It’s our “Overtime” Game of the Week.

Few rivalries can match the intensity of a Hononegah-Boylan football game…on the field, or in the stands.

“It’s louder. A little bit crazier,” said Boylan senior defensive back Joey Appino. “It brings an atmosphere. They bring fans. We bring fans.”

“It’s really, always a dogfight,” said Hononegah running back Stuart Hale. “It’s never, ever a bad game. Never a blowout really.”

The Titans have bounced back well from a week two loss to Belvidere North to position themselves to get back into the conference championship race.

“If you go back to that North game, we didn’t tackle very good. There wasn’t a sense of urgency,” said Boylan coach John Cacciatore.

But the Titans have since blasted Belvidere, and last week they shutout Auburn 40-0.

“We had a game against Belvidere, we had a game against Auburn where you can tell we made strides,” said Cacciatore. “We’re trying to get to that standard.”

“I feel the biggest thing we preach now is consistency,” said Appino. “Every snap we’ve got to play to the whistle. Know your assignments. Get your guy.”

Hononegah already had one blockbuster battle in the season opener against Harlem which the Indians won. Their last three games they’ve been able to pretty much coast to wins, and this team can still get better especially on offense.

“I think with a new offensive coordinator Jeremy Warren this year that we had a little bit of a learning curve with some of the new stuff that we installed,” said Hononegah head coach Brian Zimmerman. “I think (now) just our offense is getting more confidence.”

“In the run game we’ve got some work to do, keep being physical,” said Hononegah offensive lineman Connor Thorne. “Obviously, we’ve got some size, but I think we have a lot more to get better on.”

Hononegah is wary of the playmaking ability of Boylan quarterback Conor Dennis and running back Mekhi Glover. Hononegah also is aware of how well Boylan’s defense has been playing.

“They’re a very talented defense,” said Thorne.

The Titans have praise for Hononegah’s big offensive line and total respect for the playmaking ability of Bryce Goodwine.

“If you don’t know where he is…we’re waiting to see what have they invented this week,” said Cacciatorie. “We find him at split end. We find him in the slot. We find him at running back. We’re going to make sure that’s a priority to find out where he is.”

“Hononegah always comes to play,” said Boylan linebacker Tyler Mathias. “They’ve got a big line. They’re not undersized at all. It’s always a big rivalry against Boylan and Hononegah.”

NOTE: Catch the highlights of the game Friday night on “Overtime” live at 11:00 p.m. on Fox 39. (Rebroadcast Sunday morning at 9 a.m. on Fox 39.)

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