The weather may be cooling off, but Illinois high school football is heating up. De La Salle and Brother Rice, both with 3-3 records, meet Friday evening in a matchup of very even teams. However their styles differ quite a bit.
For De La Salle, it all starts with the run game and junior running back Mikale Wilbon (no relation to Mike for all you ESPN fanatics). And he has a serious line to run behind, anchored by juniors Jamarco Jones, Aaron Roberts, and sophomore Javon Burruss. Taking the snaps is quarterback Shelby Spence, who is intriguing as a prospect.
On the other side, Brother Rice likes to air the ball out this year, evidenced by 52 pass attempts last week against Providence Catholic in a loss. De La Salle isn’t one of the more stalwart defenses in the Chicago area, so they’ll really have to play error-free football on defense to limit the Brother Rice passing attack.
This game is critical for both teams. With only 3 regular season games left, these teams each need two wins just to be eligible for a playoff spot, and three just to guarantee a spot. Neither of these teams wants to be sitting at home in November, so you can bet this one will be hard-fought.
We take a deeper look at some of the key players for De La Salle:
Wilbon is a tank. But he's a tank with a turbocharger. He's powerful, compact, fast, and cuts on a dime. If his output last weekend was any indication of the rest of his season, he started the season hot with a couple big games, but teams are on to him now and it’s slowed his numbers down a bit.
Jamarco Jones isn't just a big body. At 6'-6" tall and 285 pounds, he moves well and possesses great strength. A majority of the time he controls his side of the line of scrimmage and is one of the facilitators of Wilbon's success.
Wilbon's right hand man is second-year starter Shelby Spence. Spence has the speed to be a threat with his feet and can also use his arm to hurt opponents. With Wilbon's emergence, look for Spence to get more opportunities to shine.
Consider Burruss the understudy to Jamarco Jones. Amazing to think that De La Salle's four main offensive linemen are three juniors and a sophomore, but their youth is seemingly an afterthought. Burruss checks in at 6'-5" tall and 310 pounds. Needless to say, Burruss is getting some valuable experience while also being a valuable member of the De La Salle offensive line.
Brother Rice High School
Game Time: 7:30 PM, Friday October 5th