By Greg Halbleib
The annual Unit 5 rivalry highlights the second week of the WJBC Friday Night High School Football Extravaganza as Normal Community visits Normal West in the annual Chili Bowl game.
The Ironmen and the Wildcats each posted opening week victories, Normal Community over Richwoods 30-7 on Friday and Normal West over Peoria Notre Dame 36-6 on Saturday. NCHS coach Jason Drengwitz said the Ironmen offense performed well despite having to overcome penalties.
“Penalties masked some of the good things that were going on,” Drengwitz said. “We obviously know we’ve got to get better. We got a good first start out of our quarterback and the running backs ran hard. The guys played hard, just a little bit anxious at times.”
West coach Nathan Fincham said the game plan this week is to keep it simple.
“The diverse nature of their offense and their defense is that they’re going to change it up and they’re going to attack you in different ways,” Fincham said of Normal Community, “which makes you as an offense and a defense have to prepare for multiple things. That’s what they try to do because that’s what we try to do. It’s effective. That’s our challenge this week to make it as simple as possible and just play our game.”
Central Catholic plays its home opener against Prairie Central, who rolled over Rantoul 42-20 while the Saints dropped an 8-7 decision to Pontiac.
“They have an excellent offensive line,” Saints coach Kevin Braucht said of the visiting Hawks. “(They have) a very dynamic quarterback and tailback that can take any play to the house. They run the double wing so it’s three, four, five yards and before you know it they pop a 30-yarder on you.”
Perennial power Rochester travels to Hancock Stadium to face U-High while other games featured on the Extravaganza include El Paso-Gridley at Deer Creek-Mackinaw and LeRoy against Ridgeview-Lexington in Lexington. Scene-setters begin at 6:05 p.m. with around-the-horn updates every quarter hour and postgame until 11 p.m.
Bloomington steps out of conference play to host Lincoln-Way Central Saturday at 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on WJBC.com by clicking here.
Scores will also be updated through the evening on the WJBC Sports Twitter feed (@SportsWJBC, #WJBCHSFB).
Week 2 high school football schedule (all 7 p.m. unless noted):
Normal Community at Normal West
Champaign Centennial at Champaign Central
Peoria Notre Dame at Peoria
Urbana at Danville
Central State Eight:
Rochester at U-High
Decatur MacArthur at Jacksonville
Springfield Lanphier at Decatur Eisenhower
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin at Chatham Glenwood
Springfield Southeast at Springfield
Prairie Central at Central Catholic
Monticello at Illinois Valley Central
Pontiac at Tolono Unity
St. Joseph-Ogden at Rantoul
Olympia at St. Thomas More
Heart of Illinois Large:
El Paso-Gridley at Deer Creek-Mackinaw
Eureka at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
Fieldcrest at Tri-Valley
Heart of Illinois Small:
Fisher at Tremont
LeRoy at Ridgeview-Lexington (at Lexington)
Lincoln at Effingham
Reed-Custer at Dwight
Heyworth at Monmouth United
Blue Ridge at Oblong
Pawnee at Flanagan-Cornell
Lincoln-Way Central at Bloomington, 1 p.m. (live WJBC.com)
Sports Director Greg Halbleib can be reached at email@example.com.