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Northwest Herald football game of the week

Huntley (4-4, 2-3)

at Crystal Lake South (3-5, 1-4)

7:15 p.m. Friday's Lester Johnson breaks down the game:

Huntley scouting report

Need quick start: Huntley was held scoreless by Jacobs in the first half of last week's loss. They scored three TDs in the second half and have to wonder what would have been if they had scored earlier. They need a fast start and have to stop hurting themselves with penalties and turnovers. They had three turnovers last week and had some trouble in the red zone. QB Brandon Jacobs had a good second half and can build off that. He threw for two long TDs and ran one in. Jacobs is fourth in the area in passing yards with 1,229, and has 15 TDs. WRs Josh Esikiel and Brandon Altergot are the main targets. RBs Mitch Kawell and Jake Scalise will handle the running game. The Gators' defensive line played very good against C-G last week and they will challenge Huntley's offensive line.  

Defense holds key: Huntley will have to stop a Gators offense that has been playing well. They need to slow an improved running game from South, and contain QB Austin Rogers, who has been making some big plays on the ground. South scored twice last week through the air, so getting pressure on Rogers and forcing him to make quick reads will be key. Huntley's defensive line will be challenged in the trenches by South, who has a big offensive line. The Raiders have to defend against a pretty balanced offense that should be ready to pull out all the stops.   

CL South scouting report

Offense has nothing to lose: South rushed for 123 yards last week against C-G. That's not bad, but If they can get more out of their running game, it will open up the pass and keep their defense resting on the sideline. Rogers is running more, and that has paid off for the Gators. Chris Ivers and Eric Landis will get the rest of the carries. Tyler Baker, Kyle Bartusch and Dylan Delgado need to make catches to move the chains. The Gators passed for both TDs last week and should throw plenty against Huntley. Backup QB Payton Minogue made the most of his playing time the past two weeks, tossing three TDs. He could get some more chances, especially in the red zone.   

Spotlight on defense: South's defense played well last week against C-G and came up with some big stops despite losing. Huntley has been vulnerable early in games, so South needs to take advantage of any Raiders' mistakes. The Gators need to defend against the big plays the Raiders used to get back in the game last week. Jacobs is a dual threat for Huntley at QB, and South will need to slow him down. The line played well last week and needs to get pressure on Jacobs so he has less time to look downfield. Huntley's running game is good, but the bigger threat is the passing game.  

Final word

Both teams are coming off a loss. South will not make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, so this is its playoff game and it can crush Huntley's playoff hopes with a win. Huntley needs the win to become playoff eligible, and they should have enough playoff points (opponents' wins) to get in. The Raiders can be their own worst enemy with penalties and turnovers, so they need a clean game. The Gators have nothing to lose and should throw caution to the wind.  

Lester's pick: Huntley 21, CL South 20  

Lester's other picks

Ottawa Marquette at Alden-Hebron: Marquette by 9

Genoa-Kingston at Marengo: G-K by 14

Richmond-Burton at Harvard: Harvard by 14

Hampshire at Cary-Grove:C-G by 19

CL Central at Johnsburg: CL Central by 28

Dundee-Crown at Jacobs: Jacobs by 10

Grayslake Central at Woodstock: GLC by 7

Grayslake North at Woodstock North: GLN by 7

Prairie Ridge at McHenry: PR by 21

Wheaton Academy at Marian Central, Marian by 28

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