Minooka vs Oswego Battle for Conference Crown

It's a battle of conference supremacy as Minooka travels to Oswego tonight with the winner taking not only a conference championship but also a higher seed in the state play-offs.

"This seems to always be a huge game," said Oswego coach Dave Keely. "They beat us in overtime last year and the year before that they got us in a close game."

Minooka is led by running back Kalvin Hill (5-10, 180). If Hill is on his game, and he usually is, it could be a long night for the Panthers defense. Junior quarterback Joey Carnagio (6-0, 185) always has to be accounted for.

While Minooka likes to pound the ball on the ground behind bookend tackles Lavell Dean (6-5, 250) and junior Blake King (6-4, 250), Carnagio can hurt you with his arm and he has several capable wide receivers to throw to including Mitch Brozovich (6-2, 180).

"Minooka is a well oiled machine." Keely said. "(Kalvin) Hill is terrific and if you fall asleep, Carnagio can hurt you. They fly around the football field on defense. They have very active linebackers and some size on the defensive line."

The weather is supposed to cooperate and that's good news for quarterback Ryan West 6-3, 195), one of the top quarterback prospects in the state.

"Ryan West is probably the best quarterback we've had in our conference since I've been here," said Minooka coach Bert Kooi.

"West can really throw it and he has a bunch of solid wide receivers. They have very good running back in Mickeel Stewart (6-0, 200) and the offensive line is also sound.

"I don't want to sound cliché but really it's like we say every game, we need to limit mistakes on special teams, don't turn the ball over and control the clock. If we do that, we'll be in a position to win the game."

Ryan West without question is the best quarterback that the Indians have faced all year long and that includes a couple of very good ones in Kurt Palandech (Plainfield North) and Austin Horwath (Plainfield South).

Minooka will need pressure from defensive linemen Alex Hamilton (6-1, 220) and Alec Vesper (6-0, 285) to get West out of rhythm while the linebackers led by Jake Petrovic will need to keep Stewart and the Panthers run game in check.

Kalvin Hill will face his toughest opponent so far this year. The Oswego defensive line has really gelled and is led by junior Chad Burdo (6-2, 235) and linebacker Billy Baker (6-2, 215)

The Panthers are big and fast in the secondary led by strong safety Bryce Holm (6-2, 200) and junior free safety Jack Kwiatkowski (6-4, 190), who also happens to be the top target for Ryan West on the offensive side of the ball.

This is going to be a great game and should end up being another slugfest. What's certain is that it's a great play-off primer for both team with neither team wanting to start the play-off's at 6-3.

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