Opening night of H.S. football offers some great matchups in the Rockford area

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Are you ready for some high school football? It all begins Friday night and there are some games on the schedule in the Rockford area that should be outstanding!

Start with the two-time defending NIC-10 champion Hononegah Indians on the road at Harlem. The Indians haven’t lost a conference game in two years. The Huskies will pose a major threat to that streak with the likes of James Cooper at quarterback and a strong supporting cast on offense.

“They haven’t lost a conference game in the conference in two years, so we’re going to have to do what we do and hopefully get a couple breaks and we’ll be alright,” said Harlem coach Bob Moynihan.

“They’ve got a new head coach so we don’t quite know what to expect out of them which is always exciting but at the same time it’s a little nerve-wracking so we’ll just have to see how it all plays out,” said Hononegah coach Brian Zimmerman.

Another interesting matchup will have East hosting Belvidere North. These two teams are power squads that love to line up and run the football.

“They’ve dominated us five years in a row so we’ve got to plan hard, work hard and be ready to go week one,” said East coach Gary Griffin.

“They have a dynamite home run hitter at running back in Tayvion Lake, so we know we have a big challenge ahead of us and that offense just like ours when it’s run the right way they canmove the chains and possess the ball,” said Belvidere North coach Jeff Beck.

Defending Big Northern Conference champion Byron will open on the road against Winnebago. The Tigers have won 27 straight conference games. With Drake Snodgrass, Isaac Stickler, Tyler Elsbury and company back they’ll be tough to beat again.

Stillman Valley should be improved this year. We’ll see how much when Mike Lalor’s guys open at home against Dixon. Stillman beat the Dukes twice last season including a first-round playoff matchup.

“I view it as a very, very concerning matchup,” said Lalor. “We were able to get them week one (last year) and we got them week ten, so I’m sure we’re circled on their calendar pretty good.”

In the NUIC defending 1A state champion Forreston will travel to Dakota. It’s a rematch of last year’s playoff quarterfinals… a game that went down to the wire with Forreston prevailing by two points.

“They’re going to be a very talented team and until someone knocks them off they’re the reigning state champs,” says Dakota coach Joe Free.

“It’s a great challenge week one versus a great team,” says Forreston coach Kyle Zick. “It’s a good measuring stick to see where we’re at.”

Another interesting matchup in the NUIC will have Lena-Winslow hosting Eastland-Pearl City.

Look for highlights Friday night at ten on WTVO 17 and this weekend on the half hour Sports Connection show (Sat. on MyNetwork TV at 10:30am and Sunday on Fox 39 at 9am.)

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