Every week throughout the high school football regular season, we release our 13 WREX FNF Top 13 Teams Poll, in which we rank the top teams in our area regardless of class. Here’s how we see things after six weeks.
13. Dixon Dukes (4-2) – After dropping their first two games of the season, the Dukes have stormed back to win four in a row, setting them up for a playoff push in the final third of the season.
12. Polo Marcos (6-0) – The move to 8-man football has been a smooth transition for the former NUIC team, as the Marcos have steamrolled the competition through six weeks.
11. Hononegah Indians (4-2) – Hononegah has lost two straight games after starting the season 4-0, so the Indians are looking to regroup as they gear up for the final stretch of the regular season.
10. Harlem Huskies (4-2) – The Huskies’ potent offense was slowed down a bit in a loss to Boylan last week, leaving the Huskies in a tie for third place in the NIC-10.
9. Hiawatha Hawks (5-1) – Jason Keneway’s team has reached the 5-win plateau for the 4th straight season, and Kyle Thompson is a touchdown machine as the Hawks continue to soar in the Northeastern Athletic Conference.
8. Aquin Bulldogs (6-0) – Aquin survived a tough one with E/PC last week to stay unbeaten, as Will Gustafson continues to put up eye-popping numbers for the Bulldogs.
7. Belvidere North Blue Thunder (5-1) – Jeff Beck’s team is hitting its stride, winning four in a row after a week 2 loss to Boylan. North’s running game is as tough as they come, with someone different stepping up every week to lead the Thunder into sole possession of 2nd place in the NIC-10. And their defense has allowed the 2nd fewest points in the conference.
6. Genoa-Kingston Cogs (6-0) – The Cogs are a well-oiled machine, winning all of their games by at least 20 points this season. Tough tests remain with Dixon, Byron and Stillman Valley to finish the season.
5. Byron Tigers (5-1) – Byron bounced back from its week 2 loss to Stillman Valley with four straight dominant performances, as the Tigers look to hit top form as the postseason approaches. They’ve dealt with some injuries, but players are starting to get healthy, which could spell trouble for their opponents.
4. Forreston Cardinals (6-0) – The defending 1-A state champs narrowly escaped a tough test from West Carroll last week, winning by 2 points to remain undefeated. The Cardinals will find out a lot about themselves in the final three games against Lena-Winslow, Aquin and Eastland/Pearl City. Kyle Zick will have his guys ready to play in those big games.
3. Boylan Titans (6-0) – The Titans have passed every test this season, beating the likes of Belvidere North, Hononegah, Auburn and Harlem to remain undefeated. Those are the next four top teams in the NIC-10. Boylan’s offense is well-rounded with a solid passing game complementing a strong rushing attack, and Boylan boasts the stingiest defense in the conference, allowing just 10 points per game. Only Harlem and Hononegah have cracked double digits against them.
2. Lena-Winslow Panthers (6-0) – The Panthers continue to dominate the competition, outscoring their opponents by an average of about 40 points per game. Their defense has allowed just 39 total points through six games, while their offense has only been held under 40 points once, and that was a 30-0 win at rival Stockton. The Panthers face their toughest test of the season this week on the road at Forreston in a rematch of last year’s 1-A state semifinal, which propelled Forreston to a state championship. Revenge is on the mind of the Panthers.
1. Stillman Valley Cardinals (6-0) – The Cardinals have been impressive in all phases of the game, as Mike Lalor’s team is reminding people there’s another contender in Ogle Co. Chad Gerig is leading the way at quarterback both throwing and running the football, with several backs carrying the load in the run game. They have a signature win over rival Byron on their resume, and a date with Genoa-Kingston looms in the season finale in a game that could decide the conference title.