Wheaton North at Wheaton South, Joliet Catholic at Providence, Maine South at Montini, Lincoln-Way East at Oak Park River Forest, or even Fenwick at Phillips, although all of those would be good choices.
No, I'll be watching Batavia at Oswego instead.* Huh? Who? What?
Now, I know what you're thinking: But neither team is ranked by the Sun-Times, and Oswego comes in at only No. 19 in the Trib. What gives?
Last year the Panthers of Oswego (9-2) bested the previous year's 6A champs (8-2), 40-38, in the opener in Batavia. It was the Bulldogs' sole defeat until Round One of the 7A playoffs, in which they fell to Mount Carmel, 21-16.
While that would be reason enough to go out there, I'm really more interested in getting an early look at Oswego's quarterback, Steven Frank, arguably the best in the state. (No "three yards and a cloud of dust" for me!)
I had heard a lot about Frank last year and finally got to see him play in the second round of the 8A playoffs at Bolingbrook. I walked into the stadium a skeptic (does Oswego play a good enough schedule in the Southwest Prairie Conference?), but came away a True Believer. Frank almost single-handedly led his team back from a 28-14 fourth quarter deficit (if memory serves) to a 28-28 tie at the end of regulation and a heart-breaking 31-28 loss in overtime. Is this kid the Real Deal? In a word, yes.
According to Beth Long, writing in the Sun-Times:
Steven Frank, Oswego, Sr.
The 6-5, 220-pounder is one is one of the few uncommitted top prospects
left in the local senior class. Frank’s strong arm helped lead the
Panthers to the second round of the state playoffs last year, where they
lost to Bolingbrook in overtime.
For giggles, Ms. Long also mentions Johnny Carnagio of Minooka in that same piece on the state's top ten quarterbacks. Since Oswego plays defending 7A champ Providence in Week Two and Minooka in Week Four, could I possibly be driving out to Kendall County three out of the next four Fridays? Stranger things have happened.
* Weather permitting. If there's rain in the forecast, I'm not driving almost 50 miles to sit out another lightning delay in my car like the last few years. The double-header at Soldier Field -- Malvern (PA) vs. St. Rita and Marist vs. Mount Carmel -- will be my backup. (And I could walk.)