Beth Long -

Friday Night Lights Kickoff: West Aurora at Bartlett

2016 Illinois commit Drake Spears and West Aurora (IL) travel to Bartlett (IL) in a crucial game between the two teams, who both narrowly missed postseason play last year.

For West Aurora and Bartlett, last year's 4-5 records represent a narrow miss of postseason play, but West Aurora, who featured a lot of youth last year, hopes to take another step toward a playoff berth this year.  A win over Bartlett would go a long way toward getting them to postseason action.

West Aurora comes into this matchup at 1-1, coming off of a solid win against Plainfield East (35-14), the Blackhawks hope to harness that momentum at the expense of an 0-2 Bartlett team.

Let's take a closer look at the key contributors for each team from a scouting perspective ahead of this matchup.

West Aurora at a glance...

After growing through his "trial by fire" the last couple years, Drake Spears is ready to lead the charge for the Blackhawks on both sides of the ball.

The senior safety/linebacker also lines up on the offensive side of the ball and is one of the best, if not the best, overall athlete West Aurora has.  The 6'1", 195 pound Spears isn't an extremely explosive athlete, but he plays with intensity and has a knack for making plays.

Bartlett at a glance...

Bartlett isn't afraid to put the ball in the air, evidenced by their quarterback's 39 and 38 attempts in their prior two games, respectively, and protecting him is Western Illinois commit Kyle Sanft.  However, Bartlett has been somewhat turnover-prone and has struggled to finish drives.  To be effective against West Aurora, they will need to convert on their offensive opportunities, and just as important, give their quarterback time to throw.

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