West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

93 Days to Kickoff: West Aurora

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: West Aurora

Head coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant coaches: Tony Melchiori, DC Bob Fowler, DL Patrick Stremel, LB Charlie Graves, DB Mike Runge, OL Joe Howell, RB Ron Murphy and QB Alex Shaw

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (4-1 Upstate Eight Valley Conference). West Aurora made the IHSA Class 8A playoff field last season. The Blackhawks lost to Naperville Central 35-14 in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Larkin

Aug. 31 @ West Chicago

Sept. 7 vs Streamwood

Sept. 14 @ Glenbard East

Sept. 21 vs Bartlett

Sept. 28 vs Glenbard South

Oct. 5 @ Elgin

Oct. 12 vs East Aurora

Oct. 19 vs South Elgin

[MORE: 94 Days to Kickoff - Kaneland]

Biggest storyline: Game 11. Can the Blackhawks get back to the IHSA state playoffs for the fourth straight season and then advance past the opening round?

Names to watch this season: QB Will Tammaru, RB/DB JaQuan Buchanan and DT Denver Warren

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks welcome back an impressive 17 starters (nine offense, eight defense) to the mix. However, the group will be a bit inexperienced in some spots on both the offensive and defensive line.  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blackhawks' turnaround under head coach Nate Eimer and staff has been a terrific story to follow. That said, the bar for West Aurora football has also been raised. No longer are they satisfied by just "getting" to state. The Blackhawks welcome back a deep group on both sides of the football led by a potentially high powered, balanced offense. On paper, this team has the makings of being one of the better Blackhawks teams in their history. They will challenge for the Upstate Eight conference title and get another shot at the Class 8A playoff field. 

By the numbers: three weeks of IHSA football

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By the numbers: three weeks of IHSA football

Here are some numbers, factoids and surprises from the first three weeks of the IHSA football season:

Point Taken: Top 10 IHSA Scoring Offenses

Shelbyville: 174 points
Dixon: 174 
Peoria: 173 
Princeville: 167 
Fithian (Oakwood): 162 
Herscher: 160
Highland: 155
Homewood-Flossmoor: 154
Ottawa Marquette: 153
Naperville North: 152

Making Stops: Top 10 IHSA Scoring Defenses

St. Ignatius & North Chicago: 0 points allowed
West Aurora: 3 
T.F. South: 6
Raby: 6
Monticello: 7
Coal City: 7
Lanark (Eastland): 7
North Lawndale: 8
Batavia: 10
Lake Zurich: 10

[MORE: Edgy Tim's Week Four Power Rankings]

Familiar Names, Unfamiliar Records

Peoria (1-2): Defending 5A state champs are scoring points in bunches but the defense has been a work in progress. 

Highland Park (0-3): The Giants have played a strong non-conference slate and still have a chance to right the ship in the Central Suburban North.

New Trier (1-2): Not many saw this coming. I didn't. The strong schedule, along with early season injuries, have slowed the Trevians. 

Vernon Hills (1-2): Last year's 5A runner-ups in have struggled on defense the past two weeks.

Brother Rice (1-2): The Crusaders' schedule won't get any easier with Montini, Providence Catholic and Mount Carmel lurking the next three weeks.

Providence Catholic (1-2): A huge last-second, come-from-behind win last Friday over St. Rita 28-21 gives the Celtics hope.

Joliet Catholic (1-2): The Hilltoppers look better this fall compared to last year's 1-8 team, but they're still a work in progress. 

Simeon (0-3): A rough schedule and turnovers have done in the Wolverines in so far this season. 

Glenbard North (1-2): The Panthers offense struggled the first two weeks. Hopefully they're back on track after last week's crucial 28-21 win over Wheaton South.

Waubonsie Valley (1-2): The Warriors play Naperville Central (3-0) this week. They still have to deal with Naperville North and Lincoln-Way Central (both 3-0) on the remaining schedule.
 
Carmel (0-3): The Corsairs' schedule has been brutal so far (Richards, DeKalb and Marist). And now, Carmel hosts Nazareth Academy (3-0) on Friday.

Glenbard South (1-2): The Raiders picked up a key win last Friday over Aurora Central Catholic. GBS is capable of getting on a roll.

Metamora (0-3): One of the state's top 4A/5A-sized powers is now in very unfamiliar territory. Up next: a date with rival Washington (2-1) on Friday.

Fremd (0-3): The Vikings' schedule has been rough so far. 

Libertyville (1-2): The Wildcats have dropped two straight games. The always-tough North Suburban slate looms ahead. 

Joliet West (1-2): Many felt the Tigers could be a preseason Top 25 team but so far turnovers have plagued West. The Tigers still have time to right the ship but the clock is ticking. 

Bradley (1-2): The Boilermakers graduated a ton of key players from the 2016 state playoff team, plus the remaining schedule is stacked.  

Edwardsville (0-3): Very strange to see the Tigers at 0-3 in any sport. 

O'Fallon (0-3): Graduation losses along with having several lost transfers is not helping the Panthers in 2017. 

Geneva (1-2): The Vikings two losses have been tight and the Vikings still have a good shot at challenging for a state playoff spot yet challenges still remain on the schedule. 

From 0-3 To…Playoffs?!?

Simeon: The Wolverines have lost to Oak Park-River Forest (2-1), Detroit's Cass Tech (2-1) and Phillips (3-0). They played all three teams tough. Turnovers have been Simeon's biggest issue in 2017, but once they get that corrected this team is very capable of winning six straight regular season games and a possible IHSA playoff berth

46 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

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46 Days To Kickoff: West Aurora

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: West Aurora

Head Coach: Nate Eimer

Assistant Coaches: Tony Melchiori, Joe Howell, Mike Runge, Bob Fowler, Charlie Graves, Nate Banks, Ron Murphy and Alex Shaw

How they fared in 2016: 9-1 (5-0 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), made the Class 8A state playoffs and lost to eventual state champion Maine South in opening round action.

[MORE: 47 Days to Kickoff: Glenbrook North]

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Yorkville

Sept. 1 – vs Waukegan

Sept. 8 – @ East Aurora

Sept. 15 - vs Glenbard East

Sept. 22 - @ South Elgin

Sept. 29 – vs Huntley

Oct. 6 - vs West Chicago

Oct. 13 - @ Bartlett

Oct. 21- @ Geneva

Biggest storyline: Can the Blackhawks keep its program-changing momentum going from last season?

Names to watch this season: Senior RB/DB JaQuan Buchanan and Senior OL Owen Thomas

Biggest holes to fill: The Blackhawks will need to replace some big game-breaker types with the graduation of the Cross twins (Daquan and Davion) from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: West Aurora has been one of the more-impressive turnaround stories in Chicagoland over the past handful of seasons. While the Blackhawks have a few questions heading into 2017, they also have a stable of talented kids at the school and a football program on the right path. Look for the Blackhawks to challenge for a top 25-30 spot in several preseason polls.