The IHSA formally released all football schedules for the 2020 season on Monday.
Here are Jake Bartelson's preseason picks for the top four games for the upcoming season in Kane County.
Week 1: Batavia at Montini, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.
It's difficult to find a more intriguing Week 1 matchup in the western suburbs than these two powerhouses. Batavia has qualified for the postseason 10 consecutive seasons, including a pair of Class 7A state titles in 2013 and 2017 and reached the quarterfinals last year. Montini, meanwhile, has reached the playoffs in 27 consecutive seasons with six titles.
There's plenty of player matchups to watch. Montini rising sophomore quarterback Tre Jones, who was recently offered by Arizona State, could pilot an offense against a Batavia defense led by middle linebacker Matt Weerts, an Arizona recruit.
Montini's DiAndre Harris is electric on both sides of the ball, and could be paired opposite Batavia wideout and NIU commit Trey Urwiler.
Week 8: Batavia at St. Charles East, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Last season's matchup was one of the best games of the season. The Saints, on the arm of sophomore quarterback Nathan Hayes, led a wild fourth quarter comeback that gave the Bulldogs their first conference loss in two years.
Batavia surely hasn't forgotten that.
The Saints are expected to return Hayes under center this season, and he could be the top quarterback in the DuKane Conference after a fabulous sophomore season.
Week 9: St. Charles North at Batavia, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.
The last three years of matchups between these two have come down to momentum-shifting fourth quarters, and we'd expect this year to be no different. The winner of this game could help decide the DuKane Conference champion.
In 2017, the North Stars handed the eventual state champion its only loss of the season, capturing the final Upstate Eight (River) crown. In 2018, Batavia capitalized on a pass interference penalty and won on a go-ahead touchdown with 12.8 seconds left.
Last season, the North Stars led 20-7 going into the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled off the stunner 27-26.
The North Stars have to make a decision on their starting quarterback after Kyler Brown graduated, but expect two-year full-time starting running back Nick DeMarco to be a centerpiece on offense. Defensively, replacing three-year starter linebacker Ben Furtney will be our biggest question mark.
Week 9: IC Catholic Prep at St. Francis, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.
St. Francis hosts an IC Catholic Prep team surely out for revenge. The Spartans last season snapped the Knights' 33-game regular season winning streak. St. Francis returns standout quarterback Tommy Rittenhouse while ICCP has playmakers in running back Kyle Franklin and wideout/defensive back Chauncey Lee.
Other top games
Week 2: St. Charles North at Bolingbrook, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Week 2: Burlington Central at Crystal Lake South, Sept. 4, 7 p.m.
Week 2: Geneva at Kaneland, Sept. 4, 7:15 p.m.
Week 3: Kaneland at Sycamore, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Week 5: Marmion at Mount Carmel, Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Week 7: St. Charles East at St. Charles North, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.