2015 IHSA Football Semifinals

Posted on November 22, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , |

winners head to S-T-A-T-E!

November 21, 2015

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Loyola 24, Palatine 22

Loyola is headed to NIU!!!!
The top-ranked Ramblers subsequently ran out the final 2 minutes, 33 seconds, allowing them to hold on for a 24-22 Class 8A semifinal road win and advance to Saturday 7 p.m. state final against Marist in DeKalb.

The Ramblers (13-0) scored a touchdown with 5:46 left to play to lead 24-9 but “quit” has not been in the Palatine vocabulary this year.

Palatine drove 81 yards in 14 plays to make it 24-16 with 3:42 to left.

Zach Oles completed seven passes in the drive, six of which went to Johnny O’Shea, including a 1-yard scoring strike. Oles finished the game going 18-for-32, 210 yards, 2 total TDs.

After a failed onside kick, the Palatine defense came up big again for the Pirates.

Led by Mikey Williams, Dillon McHugh, Ethan Senner, McKenzie Balanganayi and Ben Riddle, the Pirates forced a punt from the Loyola 46.

And for the second time in the game, the Loyola long snapper sailed his snap over the punter’s head.

The ball slid on the slick turf to the Loyola end zone, where Senner was credited with falling on it for a Palatine touchdown.

Trailing 24-22 with 2:36 to play, Palatine was forced to go for a 2-point conversion. However, Oles’ jump pass was tipped by a Loyola defender and was incomplete.

Loyola took over the ball at its own 45 and was able to run out the clock. The team was lead by ground game of Dara Laja who carried the ball 34 times for 209 yards and a score, followed by Emmett Clifford, who tossed the ball 16-for-20 for 174 yards and a TD.

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Marist 31, Waubonsie Valley 16

Marist punched their ticket to State finals!
Brendan Skalitzky and the Marist passing attack shined brightly defeating Waubonsie Valley 31-16 to advance to the Class 8A State Finals next week. Skalitzky rushed for 186 yards and threw his 37th and 38th touchdown passes.

The RedHawks took the lead on its first possession and kept it all night, going up 17-9 at halftime on a pair of Skalitzky touchdown passes to Liam Keffer. And in the second half, he attempted only seven passes in the second half as the RedHawks ran lead draw time and again.

“We saw at halftime we were going to run more,” Skalitzky said. “We spread them out and left the middle of the field open. I told Coach I wanted to run more; I wanted to whatever I could to help us win this game.”

Skalitzky finished the semifinal game going 10-for-20 for 103 yards and two scores in the air, and he ran the ball 22 times for 186 yards and an additional score. During the contest, he also went over 3,500 passing yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards this season.

Waubonsie Valley was led by Max Ihry who rushed 17 times for 118 yards and QB Jack Connolly tossed teh ball for over 120 yards and a score.

After slipping into the playoffs with a 5-4 record and winning its first three playoff games by three points apiece, Marist (9-4) will take on Loyola (13-0) for the title at 7 p.m. Saturday in DeKalb.

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Crete-Monee 42, Hinsdale 37

Comeback road win for the Warriors!!!
Hinsdale made a late charge with a little over 90 seconds left in the contest when Xavier Ledet ran the ball in from 8-yards out. Shortly after that Warriors senior Kevin Pate made an exception late play to seal the 42-37 victory as he intercepted a pass.

But first, Crete-Monee senior Clint Ratkovich fueled the Warriors’ victory with his play at running back and quarterback. He carried the ball 38 times for 227 yards and scored on first-half runs of 30 yards and 56 yards.

The Hornets moved the ball at will, but four turnovers spoiled their opportunity for their first state appearance since finishing second in 1980. Sean McCormack passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and Robert Hall had eight receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown.

Crete-Monee junior defensive back Juawan Treadwell turned the momentum around in the second quarter with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Pate intercepted a wobbly pass by Hinsdale South quarterback McCormack ended a back-and-forth contest. Pate said it was his first interception of his high-school career.

“I’ll do whatever I need to help the team win, whether on offense or defense,” Pate said. “We practiced watching that play all week, and we knew (McCormack) would try and sneak out, and I knew exactly where he would go to. I was ready to make a play.”

The Warriors (11-2) advance to the 6A state final, where they will play Montini (13-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

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IHSA Football Quarterfinals Recap

Posted on November 15, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Quarterfinals… who’s still playing?

November 14, 2015

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Loyola 34, Homewood-Flossmoor 28

Loyola senior Dara Laja, the all-time leading rusher in school history, is quick to smile and admirably humble. He’s clearly an incredibly well-liked figure among the student body and also the focal point of the Ramblers’ offense.

So things looked bleak as the Loyola student section chanted Laja’s name with 11:06 to play in the fourth quarter Saturday in Wilmette. The running back was laying down on the field, suffering from cramps in his legs. He eventually limped to the sideline, leaving the Ramblers without their key offensive weapon for the most important drive of the season.

Senior quarterback, Emmett Clifford, put his name out on the circuit in bright lights this weekend and the Ramblers knocked off the stingy Vikings. Clifford led the Ramblers down the field, finally connecting with Jack Loper on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:52 to play that gave Loyola the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter.

On the next drive, senior Dara Laja, returned for the next drive, which he took it in from seven yards out to seal the victory and advance to the semifinals.

Laja finished with 30 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Loyola’s game-plan was to limit the Vikings’ offensive possessions. Keeping H-F’s high-powered offense off the field was the key to victory, so that meant long drives kept alive by Laja’s quick, cunning runnings.

“It was definitely a long, hard game that was fought in the trenches,” Laja said. “Like every game, I have to give the offensive line credit. They are tough and hard-nosed, great guys and I’m lucky to have them protecting me.”

Homewood-Flossmoor’s offense more than lived up to its reputation. Running back Deante Harley-Hampton and wide receiver Kendric Pryor, a Wisconsin recruit, were focused and tuned in.

Harley-Hampton had 14 carries for 140 yards and three touchdowns. But the truly eye-popping play was his 34-yard touchdown reception late in the game. The pass went about three yards in the air. The rest was all speed, style and elusiveness. He changed directions midway through, running the entire width of the field to eventually find the corner of the end zone.

Pryor caught eight passes for 154 yards. H-F quarterback Bryce Gray was 15-for-28 for 265 yards and one touchdown.

“They held the ball,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Craig Buzea said. “We certainly didn’t get many chances, that was the key. We knew they were capable of doing that. A lot of people tried that, but they have the folks to do it. They have us outmanned by maybe 80 pounds on the line.”

Up next for Loyola is Palatine who rallied back for the win.

 

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Palatine 28, Brother Rice 24

What a comeback this Saturday afternoon as Palatine rallies back from the 17-point deficit late in the the third quarter to stun Brother Rice.

Brother Rice (9-2) had everything going its way early. The Crusaders piled up 281 yards of offense in the first half. They took the lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Camren Miller to Ricky Smalling, a 1-yard run by Miller and a 29-yard field goal.

Palatine had hoped to come out of the locker room with new spirit and they did as they ran off 28 points in the games’ final 10 minutes of play.

“We talked at halftime about wanting to win the game,” said Palatine coach Rick Splitt, whose team trailed 17-0 at the break. “We talked about doing the little things. We just needed momentum on our side. And we got it – we fast-forwarded from there.”

Zach Oles, who struggled for two and a half quarters, threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two others as Palatine wore down Brother Rice down the stretch.

 

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Nazareth 35, Joliet Catholic 21

Four turnovers and one great player made the difference in Nazareth’s win against Joliet Catholic on Saturday.

Each of the Hilltoppers’ four miscues played a huge role in the Roadrunners’ 35-21 win in a Class 5A quarterfinal in LaGrange Park. So did Julian Love, who ran for 111 yards, had 95 receiving yards and made six tackles for loss.

Nazareth (10-2) installed the Wildcat offense for this week to get its Notre Dame recruit more touches. Love rushed nine times, mostly in the second half, and his 77-yard touchdown run straight up the middle with 5 minutes, 36 seconds to play gave the Roadrunners their final cushion after their lead had held steady for most of the afternoon.

Love also caught a short pass from Carson Bartels that turned into a zigzagging 66-yard TD to put Nazareth ahead 21-7 late in the second quarter.

“We’ve been practicing the Wildcat for a couple of weeks,” Love said, “and I’ve just been begging for it.”

Love finished the game with 9 carries for 111 yards and a score on the ground and in the air.

Michael Johnson rushed for a game-high 150 yards on 27 carries for JCA.

Nazareth will play St. Laurence or Tinley Park in next week’s semifinals.

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Marist 38, Oswego 35

The RedHawks win even after they totally played two different halves…

With a 38-7 at halftime lead, the RedHawks didn’t seal the victory until Robert Topps intercepted a Steven Frank pass at the Marist 30 with less than a minute to play as Oswego stormed back with four scores in the second half.

“I knew I had to attack that ball,” Topps said of his leaping pick on the left sideline, the first of his career. “We’re going to work hard this week to make sure we play hard for four quarters from now on.”

Brendan Skalitzky of Marist finished the game going 25-for-35, 288 yards, 4 total TDs. Teammate Darshon McCullough caught 15 receptions for 191 yards and 2 TDs. On the other side of the ball, Oswego were led by Steven Frank who went 21-for-35 for 280 yards and a total of 4 TDs

Marist will host Waubonsie Valley in next weekend’s semifinals.

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Hinsdale South 42, Lincoln-Way North 35

Lincoln-Way North’s undefeated season came to an end in the Class 6A quarters’ as they lost to Hinsdale South 42-35.

That clicking resulted in 506 yards for the Hornets, who had the Phoenix (11-1) on their heels from the game’s first drive — a nine-play, 90-yard jaunt finished by McCormack hitting Robert Hall, who broke a tackle and scored easily from 37 yards out.

Two South drives later, McCormack found senior wideout Ravon Johnson, who broke a tackle and outran the defense for an 81-yard touchdown. McCormack connected with Johnson nine times for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The final blow came late in the fourth quarter. With the score 35-28, North attempted an onside kick that was returned all the way to its 20-yard-line. Two plays later, Marcus Curry scored from 13 yards.

Sean McCormack led South going 15-for-22 for 289 yards and 4 TDs. Teammate WR Ravon Johnson caught 9 receptions for 218 yards and 3 TDs. The ground game was there too as Marcus Curry carried the ball 26 times for 176 yards and a score.

The Phoenix were led by Jake Arthur in the air as he went 22-for-40 for 270 yards and two scores.

This loss also marks the final game in North’s history, as the school will close after this school year.

“You saw tonight what the season was all about,” said George Czart, the only coach in Lincoln-Way North’s eight-year history. “Our kids really are a bunch of determined young men. We never gave up, always gave our best effort, love playing the game of football. If they carry on and do things in school and in their job the way they play football, they’re going to be very successful people. I’m proud to be associated with them. I’m gonna miss them.”

The Hornets (9-3) will host Crete-Monee (10-2), an upset winner against Sacred Heart-Griffin in next week’s semifinals.

 

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IHSA Week 6 Summary

Posted on October 3, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

IHSA Conference play in full throttle…

October 2, 2015

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Brother Rice 34, Mount Carmel 14

After this big win there shouldn’t be any questions about the yong men at Brother Rice as they are 5-1 after knocking off Mount Carmel Friday night 34-14.

Behind the fine play of Cam Miller and Ricky Smalling continued their offensive attack. They connected 13 times for over 160 yards and three touchdowns.

His first score can on a 22-yard pass-and-throw from Miller as the Crusaders took an early 7-0 lead. His second score, he took a short pass and bolted through the Caravan secondary, creating an extraordinary amount of space along the way to give Rice the lead for good at 14-7.

“This feels great,” Smalling said. “It is amazing. We played as a team. It was a wonderful thing, just us playing our game. We have a great rivalry with Mount Carmel. We had to prove we can play with the big dogs.”

And his final score came with the score of 24-14 and less than three minutes to play, as he snagged a quick out and hit the ‘X’ button, the Square button and L1, as he embarrassed two Caravan defenders, stiff-arming the first to the ground and badly juking the second for a 17-yard score that put its second straight victory over the Caravan on ice.

“Oh my God,” Miller said. “He is ridiculous. I can’t even explain it. The kid is out of this world.”

Miller finished the contest going 21-for-30 passing, 254 yards and 3 TDs.

On the other side of the ball, A.J. Ries ran the ball very well on 21 carries for 95 yards and two scores.

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Loyola 31, Providence 7

Seems like a broken reocrd but Loyola is undefeated again and alone atop the Catholic League Blue as they defeated Class 7A champs Providence Friday night handily 31-7.

The Ramblers (6-0, 2-0) dominated the contest with the fine play of Dara Laja, who rushed for 169 yards on 25 carries including a 74-yard touchdown run.

“We just want to keep getting better and better,” Laja said. “Every game we go into is as important as any other.”

The Celtics (2-4, 1-2) got on the board on a 93-yard kickoff return by Mike Markasovic.

“It’s always tough to play here,” Loyola coach John Holecek said. “They had some momentum on their side. If we’re healthy, we could beat anybody. We have to make sure we keep getting better.”

It is being reported that Laja is only 301 yards shy of the Loyola career rushing record. If he continues to play like this, he’ll easily get this before the end of the season.

The Ramblers  are the only team without a conference loss after Mount Carmel fell to Brother Rice.

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Joliet Catholic 53, Marian Catholic 9
Michael Johnson had 10 carries for 142 yards and 2 TDs, Ke’Von Johnson had 74 rushing yards and a TD, and Cade Earl threw for 103 yards and a TD for JCA (6-0, 4-0).

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IHSA Week3 Football Summary

Posted on September 12, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 3 often labeled adjustment week was just that…

September 11, 2015

Mount Carmel 13, Providence 0
CHICAGO – Can you believe it, three quarters of a scoreless contest between these two schools? Not to mention, it was a perfect, fall evening of play… in the end it was the Caravan on top behind the fine play of A.J. Ries, who carried the ball 17 times for 61 yards and a score. On the other side of the ball, the Caravan’s defense forced five turnovers and finished with five sacks on the night.

And again, who would have ever thought the Celtics would be 0-3 at this time? Still a lot of football left in this tough conference.

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Montini 38, St. Rita 7

Montini controlled this contest from start to finish as they roll 38-7 in Chicago Catholic League crossover.

Broncos (3-0) were led by Justin Blake, who tossed 12-for-16 for 122 yards and one TD. Another key performer was Reed Taylor, who snagged a 78-yard interception return.

The Mustangs (1-2) just seem to come up short and the best way to explain this is trailing by three touchdowns and facing a fourth-and-goal at the Broncos 4-yard line, Connor Kelly tossed a nice spiral pass to Kurt Zeiger at the goal line that appeared to bring the Mustangs to within two scores, but instead, he was stopped short by junior linebacker Christian Pirog with 52 seconds remaining in the half.

“Sometimes we come out slow, but as soon as someone makes a big play, something just clicks and it seems unstoppable,” Pirog said. “It’s like no one can stop us.”

And on top of that four turnovers by the Mustangs, including two in the first half, put them in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.

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Richards 28, Lemont 24

The Bulldogs trailed the Indians by 14 points early but then got a spark and ran off four-straight scores to secure the win.

Lemont’s defense ruled the first half, as it held Richards (1-2) to two first downs and seven total yards while taking a 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs’ rally was forged through the air, as quarterback Jake Moran had touchdown passes of 27, 76 and 77 yards to three receivers before Anthony Quinn’s winner.

“We knew we just had to keep coming at them,” said Quinn, whose 2-yard plunge with 58 seconds left was the winner. “As bad as it looked, everyone on the team had faith.”

Two second-half fumble recoveries also helped build momentum. The first led to Moran’s 27-yard pass to Jared Moore midway through the third quarter that got Richards on the board. A Spencer Nagel sneak put Lemont ahead 21-7, but the Bulldogs outscored the Indians 21-3 the rest of the way.

Moran finished the contest going 9-for-18 passing for 222 yards and 3 TDs.

On the other side of the ball, Lemont’s Jake Kirkman finished with 24 carries, 105 yards.

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Loyola 28, Brother Rice 0

The Ramblers set the tone of this contest early on the legs of Dara Laja, who ran 31 times for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday afternoon as Loyola opened Catholic League Blue play with a 28-0 shutout of No. 14 Brother Rice in Wilmette.

All the scoring came in the first half, when Laja caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Emmett Clifford and ran for scores of 2 and 46 yards. Clifford also threw a 17-yard TD pass to Jonah Isaac.

“Going into the game, we knew we were going to run the ball a lot,” Laja said. “We were practicing a lot of different looks. We were going to trap, we were going to pull a lot.”

He had 11 carries in the first quarter and 24 in the first half, both unusual totals for Loyola (3-0), which likes to spread the touches.

On the other side of the ball, Loyola’s first-team defense, which has 10 new starters this season, still hasn’t given up a point. The Ramblers forced Rice (2-1) to abandon the run game, which produced 29 yards on 17 carries. Crusaders quarterback Camren Miller was 28-for-49 passing for 193 yards.

“That’s a terrific offense,” Loyola coach John Holecek said of Rice. “Their scheme’s good, their skills are good. No. 2 (Ricky Smalling) is a special player. To keep them out of the end zone is impressive.”

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Lincoln-Way West 28, Lincoln-Way Central 0
NEW LENOX – Gabe Montalvo rushed for 233 yards and two touchdowns and the Lincoln-Way West defense came up big Friday night in a 28-0 SouthWest Suburban Red victory over Lincoln-Way Central.

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IHSA Week 4 Recap

Posted on September 20, 2014. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Separation week….

WEEK 4

This week, many team are trying to separate themselves from the pack… who were successful? who wasn’t? Week 4… whew!!!!

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Building Men and Women via Athletics…

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rich Central 42, Rich South 0

The Southland cross-town classic started with lots of tensions, but NOT on the field, as police presence was VERY visible at the stadium due to past tensions between the schools. On the field… no tension as the Olympians handled the Stars in a shutout.

Quarterback DaQuan Richie ran 12 yards for a touchdown and also threw a 60-yard scoring pass to DeQuan Dudley to lift visiting Rich Central (3-1) in the Southland opener for both teams. Rich South just couldn’t get anything going during the contest and fell to 1-3.

Rich East 40, Gary Roosevelt (Ind.) 6

The Rockets red glare went bursting in the air on Saturday afternoon as Rich East knock off Panthers 40-6 as thunderstorms rolled in. The first Rockets’ TD was set up by a blocked Roosevelt punt. B.J. Stewart scored from 4 yards out for East and then scored again with a 48-yarder on the next possession.

“It was a good victory for us. We came out and executed a few things well,” said Rich East coach Barry Reade, who also got two TDs each from Marcel McDonald and Kendall Miller. “We ran the ball well and got a few turnovers on defense. We did what we came here to do, which is win [going] interconference play next week.”

Defensively, Rich East (4-0) held Roosevelt to only 56 yards and two first downs in the two quarters. The first came with 3:15 left in the half, the second produced a 15-yard passing TD for Roosevelt (1-3), with Young hitting Ronald White Jr.

Loyola 42, Fenwick 0

Loyola (3-1) scored on its first two possessions, both scores set up with the run, to race out to an early 14-0 and NEVER locked back. Junior Dara Laja gained 29 yards on his first carry and finished with 135 of his game-best 147 yards in the first half. On the Ramblers’ second series, they ran the ball all 10 plays, with senior Cal Falkenhayn scoring from one yard out. Laja carried the ball seven consecutive times for 70 yards on the drive

Friday, September 19, 2014

St. Rita 23, Mount Carmel 21

Crosstown rivalry like none other as the Mustangs grabbed the lead early but fault back against the Caravan winning 23-21 in front of a jammed pack stadium Friday night.

Things got started with an acrobatic 43-yard touchdown catch by Lee from a pass from C.J. Weydeman to go up 7-0. Then they struck again with a little more than 8 minutes in the second on a Brandon Gaston 25-yard TD pass to Dion Bobo.

St Rita had a 14-0 lead, but you know the Caravan were going to adjust and make a run which including three lead changes in the final 6 minutes of the game.

They got on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run by A.J. Lewis, who finished with 17 carries, 83 yards, with 14.9 seconds left in the first half. Anthony Ries tied it at 14 with a 4-yard scoring run at 5:18 of the third quarter. And they took the lead on a 5-yard TD pass from Anthony Thompson (6 of 12, 74 yards) to Demetrius Lewis with 2:01 remaining.

But when the Mustangs kicker Bailey Marth, who missed an extra point after St. Rita’s go-ahead touchdown with under six minutes to go, but he redeemed himself with just 23.1 seconds left to play by kicking the winning field goal from  about 30 yards out.

Mustangs quarterback Weydeman completed 12 of 29 passes for 194 yards, including that touchdown pass to Lee. And Gaston threw a touchdown pass in the first half before running for the go-ahead score at 5:55 of the fourth.

“We were fine,” Gaston said of Mount Carmel’s comeback. “It was just our team chemistry was off a little bit. We’re all brothers. We all will come together in the end to make it up.”

The Caravan had one last chance, but ran out of time at the St. Rita 39. This is the first time they are 1-3 under coach Frank Lenti’s tenure.

“We did everything we possibly could do wrong in the first half,” Lenti said. “You’ve got to say our kids showed a lot of character coming back from 14-0 down and taking the lead in the last few minutes.”

A bright spot is Mount Carmel’s (1-3, 0-2) defense held St. Rita’s Tyre Lee — who was coming off back-to-back 200-yard rushing games against Dunbar and Montini — to 48 yards on 17 carries.

And if you thought St. Rita used everything in the playbook Friday night, wide receiver Gaston has some news.

“We’ve still got a couple more up our sleeve,” Gaston said after throwing for one touchdown and running for another in a stirring 23-21 Catholic League Blue home win over Mount Carmel.

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Richards 46, Oak Lawn 21

Who throws a screen on third and long (22)? The Bulldogs…. as they executed the perfect screen from Hasan Muhammad-Rogers to Pat Doyle turned into a 65-yard touchdown and a 26-0 lead. Richards went on to post a 46-21 South Suburban Red road win over Oak Lawn on Friday.

“I thought we played a good first half, did a lot of good things, then got complacent,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “We have to learn to put the hammer down.”

Muhammad-Rogers completed 14-of-21 passes for 273 yards.

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Carmel 41, Marian Catholic 0

Carmel (2-2, 1-1): Noah Turner 56-yard TD reception, 55-yard TD reception; Rondel Jamison 51-yard TD reception, 20-yard run for TD; Michael Huiras 2 TDs

T.F. South 32, Bremen 0

T.F. South (2-2, 1-1): Devon Cathcart 45-yard TD reception, 3 sacks, tackle for safety; Sterling Smith 2 TDs

Shepard 41, Hillcrest 14

Shepard (2-2): Demetrius Harrison 23 carries, 173 yards, 2 TDs.

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