DeKalb High School Ethan Tierney (43) makes an extra point after a touchdown in the fourth quarter Sep. 13. while taking on Edwardsville.
DeKalb High School Ethan Tierney (43) makes an extra point after a touchdown in the fourth quarter Sep. 13. while taking on Edwardsville. — David Toney - For Shaw Media

DeKalb Barbs (2-1,
0-0 DuPage Valley Conference)
at Neuqua Valley (2-1, 0-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First matchup since at least 1995

About the Barbs: The Barbs lost, 44-21, last week to Edwardsville, the No. 10 team in Class 8A. Now, they face the No. 11 team, Neuqua Valley – a Wildcats squad that pushed East St. Louis to the limit last week, 50-48. The Tigers kept Jalon Redmond in check last week, but he’s still rushed for 219 yards on the season. Quarterback Trenton Kyler threw his first interceptions of the year last week against Edwardsville. This week will be the first conference game for the Barbs as members of the DVC.

About the Wildcats: Mark Gronowski had a career game against East. St. Louis, throwing five touchdown passes and rushing for two more. His two-point conversion pass with 13 seconds left fell short in the loss though. The Wildcats also have wins against Glenbard North (27-10) and Stevenson (28-21).

Friday Night Drive pick: Neuqua Valley

Ottawa Pirates
(1-2, 0-1 Interstate Eight)
at Sycamore Spartans (2-1, 1-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The Spartans were 35-0 winners in 2015 in Sycamore.

About the Pirates: Ottawa snapped a 16-game losing streak in Week 1 with a 61-0 victory over Chicago Juarez, but has gone 0-2 since and scored only one touchdown in losses to Woodstock and new conference foe Plano. There are weapons on offense – most notably quarterback Brett Galletti, running backs Cedric Fairrow, Bryant Schomas and Damonte Coleman, and kicker Kyle Szewczuk – and the defense has played quite well, allowing only 9.3 points a game, but the Pirates have yet to find a way to put it all together against a quality opponent.

About the Spartans: After a 13-0 loss to DeKalb without Manny Dominguez, the running back and safety returned for the Spartans, as did some offensive punch in a 35-14 win against Kaneland. Dominguez had 116 yards of total offense with a receiving touchdown and rushing touchdown as Sycamore found a rhythm – something coach Joe Ryan said was missing in the first two games of the year. Quarterback Grant McConkey had one of his best games as a passer, going 13 for 14 for 245 yards and two touchdowns – although the one incompletion was an interception.

Friday Night Drive pick: Sycamore

Kaneland Knights (2-1, 0-1 I-8)
at Sandwich Indians (2-1, 0-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: First meeting since at least 1995.

About the Knights: The defense was rolling in the first two weeks but faltered in the I-8 opener, a 35-14 loss to Sycamore. The run game failed to find any consistency as the Knights rushed for only 54 yards as a team. The passing game had some success, with quarterback Joe Smith completing 16 of his 32 passes for 209 yards, an interception, and no touchdowns. He’s completed 61.7% of his passes for 629 yards, four scores and two picks on the season.

About the Indians: They had a rude welcome to the new-look Interstate Eight Conference, a 52-7 loss to LaSalle-Peru. Sandwich managed 174 yards of total offense, with Nic Lidinsky accounting for 99, bringing his season total to 361. The Indians need to establish their ball control wing-T offense with Lidinsky, Jackson Murphy and James Coleman to keep Kaneland’s offense off the field.

Friday Night Drive pick: Kaneland

Mendota Trojans (0-3 overall and Big Northern Conference)
at Genoa-Kingston Cogs (3-0, 3-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: The Cogs were 42-6 winners last year in Mendota.

About the Trojans: Mendota has struggled to stop the run, allowing 254.3 yards a game on the ground, while also struggling to get its rushing attack going as the Trojans average only 79.3 yards a game, including 16 yards in Week 3. Quarterback Ted Landgraf has completed 15-of-38 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, while Cody Jenner has scored two rushing TDs and a receiving TD. Mendota has lost 16 games in a row and has not played within single digits of an opponent during that stretch.

About the Cogs: They have been running all over their competition this year, outscoring Rock Falls, Oregon and North Boone by a combined 131-13. In the 46-13 win over the Vikings, the Cogs had their first 100 yard rusher of the season, and have four players – Jake Stojan, Justin Peters, Sam Rice and Will Franson – averaging at least 50 yards a game. Peters, the quarterback, has thrown 10 passes this year and completed six for four touchdowns.

Friday Night Drive pick: Genoa-Kingston

Rockford Christian Royal Lions (1-2 overall, 1-0 Northeastern Athletic Conference) at Hiawatha Hawks (2-1, 0-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday

Last matchup: Hiawatha fell by a touchdown, 28-21, in Rockford

About the Royal Lions: They’re coming off their first win of the year, 45-28 against South Beloit. The SoBos led 21-20 at halftime, but Noah Ross returned an interception 93 yards for a score to swing the momentum. Caden Norquist has thrown for 882 yards already this year, completing 58.4% of his passes for four touchdowns and five interceptions. The team has a total of 164 rushing yards in three games.

About the Hawks: With both teams propensity to pass, this has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. Hiawatha is averaging more than 50 points a game, even after a 41-35 loss to Marquette last week. Quarterback Matt Korb has a couple of weapons at his disposal – Ty Killcullen has 231 receiving yards and five scores on 16 catches, while Kyle Thompson has 567 rushing yards on 62 carries and eight touchdowns.

Friday Night Drive pick: Hiawatha