FOOTBALL

Predicting every Illinois high school football game in the Peoria area for Week 1 of 2022

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

Last season, the picks in this space went 115-44 (.723). Here is a look at all the Week 1 high school football predictions for Peoria-area games. All games are Friday unless noted. Last year's records are in parentheses.

BIG 12

Metamora (5-5) at Peoria High (7-3), 7 p.m.: The Redbirds cross the river and play at Peoria Stadium against Peoria High for the first time since 1991. Kaden Hartnett moves from WR to QB for Metamora, looking to snap a five-game losing streak. Lions QB Tino Gist is back under center with new RB Malachi Washington, but Peoria High's strongest unit maybe its defense returning starters including DL Landon Newby-Holesome and Tejuan Smith. Peoria High 49, Metamora 48

Bloomington (4-5) at Richwoods (1-8), 7 p.m.: Richwoods has nine starters back for second-year coach Jim Ulrich on defense led by LB Kaizon Davis and DT Jared Culberson. QB Greg Burnside and RB Cory Wysinger lead eight offensive starters. The Knights are looking for their first on-the-field victory since Week 7 of the 2019 season, beating Urbana 43-20. In Bloomington's four wins last season, the Purple Raiders allowed just seven total points. Richwoods 14, Bloomington 13

Peoria Notre Dame (6-4) at Manual (1-8), 1 p.m. Saturday: PND hasn't won a Week 1 game since a 2016 victory over Rock Island Alleman. New Irish QB Liam O'Neil will have great options in the backfield led by FB Liam Ludolph. Manual's strongest core is its offensive line highlighted by Jeremiah Clements, Louis Bailey and Nas King. The Rams haven't beaten PND since 2010, winning 36-28 and coinciding with Manual's last playoff appearance. PND 42, Manual 28

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MID-ILLINI

Canton (3-6) at Eureka (6-4), 7 p.m.: Canton has a potent offense with RBs LaShawn Wallace and Joseph Norton, TE Malakia Correa and WR Kaden Otto with new QB Cale Barnhart. The Little Giants ride the momentum from last season after beating Metamora, 35-30 in Week 9. Eureka has 20 returning starters including QB Jake Morin and DE Dakota Wiegand. The Hornets will debut their new turf field, giving an already speedy squad more of an advantage. Eureka 49, Canton 21

Galesburg (4-5) at Dunlap (5-5), 7 p.m.: Dunlap's big three — QB Madyn Burke, RB Brayden Orr and WR Graham Glover — team with OL Sam Morgan and Diego Pantoja. The Eagles grinded out a 7-6 victory last season over Galesburg in Week 1. The Silver Streaks enter the season riding a two-game win streak, beating East Moline and Rock Island Alleman. Division-I hopefuls Cameron Aguirre and Noah Wright will lead Galesburg. Dunlap 21, Galesburg 13

Streator (3-6) at East Peoria (0-9), 7:30 p.m.: This could be the week EP snaps its 25-game losing streak, dating back to Week 4's 19-6 victory in Canton. The Raiders boast a talented senior class with Gabe Zeigler-Harris, Brodie Windell and Josh Knight all returning. Streator has a prolific QB Christian Benning, throwing for 1,314 passing yards and speedy RB Aneefy Ford. Last season, Streator beat East Peoria 14-12 with neither team scoring in the second half. Streator 34, East Peoria 20

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New Limestone head coach Jeff Schmider talks with offensive coordinator Loren Peacock during the Rockets' time on the field at the 7-on-7 football camp Saturday, July 23, 2022 at Washington Community High School.

Mt. Zion (6-4) at Limestone (1-8), 7:30 p.m.: The Jeff Schmider era begins at Limestone, which enters the season on a four-game skid, with some good skill guys looking to put ups. QB Caleb Bieneman takes over the offense with RB Izzy Nunez along with WRs Kenyon Johnson, Virgil Powell and Chase Harper. Mt. Zion was a Class 4A playoff qualifier last season. The Braves' four losses were all by 14 points or less including a pair of single-digit defeats. Limestone 22, Mt. Zion 21

Morton (10-3) at Mahomet-Seymour (11-1), 7 p.m.: This is a rematch of last season's Class 5A quarterfinal won by Morton, 40-28. The Potters will be starting a new QB and RB with the graduation of Layne Kaufman and Seth Glatz. The Bulldogs will be out for revenge after an undefeated run to the quarters. All-state QB Wyatt Bohm is one of eight returning starters on offense, while the defense has eight as well. Mahomet-Seymour 42, Morton 39

Rock Island (6-4) at Pekin (8-3), 7:30 p.m.: Expectations are sky high for the Dragons, who led in their Class 7A second-round playoff loss to then-undefeated Rockton Hononegah. Look for RB Kanye Tyler, RB Tanner Sprecher, QB Scotty Jordan and Bo Benassi to put lots and lots of points on the board. Rocky was shutout last season by Pekin, losing 21-0 in Week 1. This is first of two Mid-Illini opponents for the Rocks, who face Dunlap in Week 2. Pekin 56, Rock Island 27

Highland (5-5) at Washington (9-3), 7:30 p.m.: The Panthers come off yet another quarterfinal appearance, making it to the final eight in Class 6A. Washington has QB battle with four candidates — Jake Stewart, Preston Nelson II, Madden Mendoza and Tyler Humphrey — looking for the start. Highland ended its season to Morton in the 5A playoffs. The Bulldogs' 2021 opening-season loss to Washington was the first of a three-game losing streak. Washington 27, Highland 20

PRAIRIELAND

Illini West (4-5) at Elmwood/Brimfield (6-4), 7 p.m.: The Trojans are loaded this season, returning 16 starters — split evenly between eight on each side. Three of the key returnees for Todd Hollis is OL/DL Caleb Hollis, LB Slone Windish and RB Aidian Frail. IW lost starting quarterback Nick Manzo to graduation. One of Illini West's key defensive players is all-Prairieland Conference DB Max Dittmer. E/B won last season's Week 1 meeting, 22-14. Elmwood/Brimfield 36, Illini West 13

Aledo Mercer County (6-4) at Farmington (11-1), 7 p.m.: The Farmers made a run to the Class 2A quarterfinals following another undefeated Prairieland Conference championship. Coach Toby Vallas returns experience in QB Gage Renken, OL Virgil Haggard, OL Sam Gronewold and WR Lorgan Morse. Mercer County lost the 2021 Week 1's matchup with Farmington, 41-0. After starting the 1-3 last season, the Golden Eagles went 5-0 to make the playoffs. Farmington 48, Aledo Mercer County 14

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Farmington's Gage Renken runs the ball as Tremont's Thomas Conn tries to tackle him during the class 2A second round playoff game at Farmington High on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Farmers beat the Turks 35-12.

HEART OF ILLINOIS

Colfax Ridgeview/Lexington (8-5) at Deer Creek-Mackinaw, 7 p.m.: The Chiefs have a big-time RB back in junior Brent Denniston, who ran for 1,147 yards and 16 TDs, along with senior Lucas Blumeyer. Senior Connor Huff will be a very big factor on the offensive line. Former Morton coach Hal Chiodo coaches the Mustangs, who made a run to the Class 1A semifinals. This is the first of four 2021 playoff teams on Dee-Mack's schedule. Dee-Mack 14, Colfax Ridgeview/Lexington 8

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (4-5) at Fieldcrest (0-9), 7 p.m.: Nick Meyer, a 2011 Fieldcrest grad, takes over as the Knights coach. Fieldcrest is looking to rebound from last season's winless campaign, averaging just 10.2 points a game. Look for WRs Landon Modro and Eddie Lorton along with OL Aidan Harstead, Carter Stimpert and Ayden Stimpert to give Fieldcrest some offensive firepower. GCMS ended a four-game losing streak with a 2021 Week 9 win. Fieldcrest 27, GCMS 24

Niantic Sangamon Valley/Buffalo Tri-City (1-8) at Tremont (8-3), 7 p.m.: Turks coach Zach Zehr has a stable full of running backs headed by junior Ty Fuller along with Casey Guard, Riley Miller and Caleb Edwards. They will run behind a sturdy OL of AJ Jones, Jay Ridings, Alex Garcia and Thomas Conn. Tremont made a run last season to the Class 2A playoffs second-round, losing to Farmington 35-12. A 2021 Week 3 win over Argenta-Oreana was the Storm's lone win. Tremont 49, Niantic Sangamon Valley 13

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ILLINI PRAIRIE

Illinois Valley Central (4-5) at Paxton Buckley-Loda (7-4), 7 p.m.: The Grey Ghosts enter the season having won their final four games of 2021. IVC and coach Tim Heinz will hang its hat on defense, getting David Russell, Aidan Fulton and Michael Conklin. Fulton could take some snaps under center along with Nate Dennison. PBL ended its season with a loss to fellow IP member Tolono Unity, 21-14 in the second round of last season's 3A playoffs. IVC 20, Paxton Buckley-Loda 14

LINCOLN TRAIL

Princeville (5-5) at Knoxville (8-2), 7 p.m.: Fundamentals for the Princes were stressed this offseason under coach Jon Carruthers. His son and junior Logan Carruthers takes over as QB with Jordan Johnson now playing WR. Princeville's two featured RBs in Marcel Primera and Tayshaun Kieser. A strong OL will feature Kellen Francis, Leo Johnson and Zach Menold. Knoxville won the 2021 meeting, 42-7 in Week 1. Princeville 22, Knoxville 15

8-PLAYER

Peoria Heights (3-6) vs. Lowpoint-Washburn/Henry: Peoria Heights will receive forfeit win following L-W/H not being able to field a team this season.

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at aduvall@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.