It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Fenwick football team. Entering Week 8 with a 5-2 record, including a 2-0 record in the CCL Green, Fenwick was playing for a conference championship and solid playoff seed. Unfortunately, the Friars lost to Montini and Wheaton-St. Francis to finish 5-4.

More disturbingly, the offense has stalled in recent weeks with too many turnovers and only 21 points in two games. The defense, billed as the team’s strength in the preseason, has had some recent lapses as well.

Fortunately, the Friars have talent on both sides of the ball. While quarterback Jack Beneventi has struggled lately, the Iowa-bound signal caller has the ability to produce big numbers. Running back Pat Donahue is arguably the team’s MVP and the wide receiving corps is deep.

On defense, linebacker Michael Krecek has had a superb season along with solid performances from defensive linemen Chris Hawthorne and Harry Bell. Cornerback Aaron Garland and safety Mike Cahill anchor the back end of the defense.

Beneventi needs to shake off two subpar performances and step it up in the playoffs. In the Friars’ last two games, he’s completed 15 of 41 passes for 118 yards with four interceptions. The wide receivers also have dropped some passes and the entire offense has appeared out of sync.

Still, a sharper Beneventi coupled with Donahue’s customary hard running will hopefully kick start the offense. It will be interesting to see if coach Gene Nudo adds any wrinkles to the play calling.

Reflective of the entire team, it’s been an erratic year for the Friars on defense. Before the season, the unit was praised as a team strength largely due its core of returning starters. There’s no doubt that Fenwick has talent on defense. Krecek, Hawthorne, Bell, Garland, along with Scott Stibich, Ryan Pierson, Justin Rodriguez and John Doherty have all contributed big plays this season.

With the playoffs at hand, the Friars must execute a bit better on defense by minimizing missed tackles and penalties.

Fenwick will visit Highland Park on Saturday, Nov. 1 (6 p.m.) in the first round of the 7A playoffs. The Giants (9-0) are having their best season in school history. If the Friars get past Highland Park, they would face the winner of Carmel vs. Harlem (Fenwick beat Carmel 31-20 during the regular season).

Overall, 7A is loaded with high quality teams like Batavia, Cary-Grove, Lincoln-Way East, Wheaton-Warrenville South and Addison Trail along with Chicago Catholic League powers like Providence and St. Rita.

Mount Carmel, a dangerous 14 seed, visits No. 3 seed Batavia in an intriguing first round matchup.

Nazareth has all the pieces to win Class 6A title

The Roadrunners enter the postseason brimming with confidence. Nazareth (9-0) won the East Suburban Catholic Conference and features a plethora of weapons on offense.

Quarterbacks Carson Bartels and Jonah Beauduy along with running backs Nolan Dean and Julian Love all benefit from probably the best offensive line in the state. John Shutack (6-6, 290), Mike Owens (6-4, 275), Patrick Kilcommons (6-3, 285), John Kilcommons (6-4, 300) and John Brunory (5-11, 275) comprise the Roadrunners’ mammoth offensive line which head coach Tim Racki calls, “the best offensive line I’ve ever coached.”

Linebacker Decxavier Kelly-Martin, defensive lineman Joe Dimitri, along with defensive backs Matt Flach, Kevin Jackson and Love lead the defense.

The Roadunners, who outscored their opponents 309-155 during the regular season, host Rockford Boylan in the first round of the 6A playoffs.

Lions draw Stevenson in formidable first round matchup

For the third straight season, the Lions needed to win their regular season finale to secure a playoff berth. Mission accomplished. The Lions cruised past Proviso West 42-20 on Friday to earn their spot in the 8A playoffs.

LTHS takes on host No. 1 seed Stevenson in the first round. The Lions (5-4, 3-3) have made the playoffs all six seasons since head coach Kurt Weinberg took over the program.

While defeating Stevenson featuring star quarterback Willie Bourbon will be difficult at best, LTHS has some enough offense to trouble any opponent.

Quarterback Tommy Fiedler and Miami of Ohio-bound running back Leonard Ross provide a formidable one-two punch offensively. Ross ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns and Fiedler threw two TD passes to Michael Grace against Proviso West.

Led by three-year starting defensive lineman Dante Stefanini, the Lions look to pressure opposing quarterbacks as much as possible.