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FOOTBALL GAME DAY: Season in Balance as Vikings Face North Stars Under Friday Night Lights

With matching 1-3 records overall and 1-1 starts in the Upstate Eight River Division, it's a must-win for both teams Friday night.

This game is huge for both the Vikings and the North Stars.

With 1-3 starts by both teams, the winner still has a chance to run the table and earn a spot in the playoffs. The loser will be looking squarely at a 1-2 start in the Upstate Eight River Division and most likely a middle-of-the-pack finish in 2012.

And these teams are evenly matched. Both rely on a strong running game. Both are coming off victories last week against Elgin schools. The North Stars beat Elgin 49-0; the Vikings defeated Larkin 56-23 to notch their first win at the new Burgess Field.

St. Charles North has three backs that can can carry the load: Evan Kurtz, George Edlund and Tim Hausl, who combined for 212 yards against the Maroons. Geneva has Bobby Hess, who scored 243 yards and five touchdowns last week, and Joe Boenzi, who added 84 yards and a touchdown on four carries against the Royals.

Defensively, the North Stars might have the edge, with strong showings in two of their first four games—last week's shutout and holding Plainfeild Central to 14 points in Week 2.

North probably has the edge in its passing attack, as well, with quarterback Ryan Fischbach and receiver Zach Kirby beginning to click. Geneva brought up freshman Nick Derr as quarterback last week after Dan Santacaterina was injured in Week 3 against Batavia. Derr completed two touchdown passes against Larkin, but the Vikings won't have the element of surprise or homefield advantage working for them this week.

The North Stars have another advantage: It's the last season of retiring coach Mark Gould, and a win tonight against Geneva would be memorable.

For Geneva, the question might be which team shows up: the one that fumbled the ball away five times against Oswego in Week 1, or the one that dominated Larkin in Week 4.

Two years ago, the Vikings edged the North Stars 35-34 in a Freaky Friday contest that went down to the wire. Expect no less tonight.

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