Host Grant was not about to let injuries plague its Class 6A football playoff opener Friday night against No. 12 seed Chicago Lake View.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs started off fast offensively with mostly young, reserve skill players doing the damage against the overmatched Wildcats and they never looked back as they built a huge 45-0 halftime lead before cruising to a 59-0 victory.
Grant (8-2) will face the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 4 Crystal Lake Central and No. 13 Hyde Park next weekend in the second round.
The Bulldogs’ offense featured a great ground attack Friday as 437 of their 512 total yards came via the run.
Lake View (6-3) fell behind 7-0 2:32 into the game when junior quarterback Jason Bach threw a short, quick pass to Keion Miller, who bolted 75 yards down the right sideline for the touchdown on Grant’s only pass attempt of the contest.
A safety on a blocked punt out of the end zone made the score 9-0 before sophomore running back Jeremy Bredwood scored the first of his 4 touchdowns on a 13-yard counter play up the middle with 3:53 left in the first quarter. The first of 6 extra points by Cody Meyer made the score 16-0.
Grant’s offense struck again on its next possession when senior Kris Smith (125 yards on 6 carries) scored on a 27-yard TD run off left tackle for a 23-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
Senior Andy Cacchione (82 yards on 13 attempts) kept the momentum going with a 1-yard TD run 1:23 later before Miller ran in the 2-point conversion for a 31-0 advantage.
Then the Bulldogs marched 72 yards on 6 plays with Bredwood scoring on a 19-yard run the second time he touched the ball despite running into Bach when he took the handoff.
That scoring drive proved to be potentially costly though as Smith sprained his left ankle following a 10-yard run and he never returned to the game after that point.
“I think I’ll be fine (for next week) as long as I keep up with therapy and ice,” said Smith. “Our offense looked great, everybody was clicking, the line was driving, and we were just doing our job.”
Playing in only his second varsity game, Bredwood (83 yards on 6 rushes) scored again the third time he carried the ball, this time on a 17-yard run to give Grant a 45-0 lead 2:25 before the intermission.
“The coach (Kurt Rous) had faith in us so we’ve just been going hard and leaving it all on the field,” said Bredwood, who stepped up in place of injured teammate Jonathan Wells in the backfield. “We’re confident we can win next week, we’ve got a good team, and in my eyes we can go all the way to state.”
With the second half played with a running clock, Bredwood worked his magic again as he scored on a 25-yard TD run for a 52-0 lead with 8:41 left in the third quarter.
Junior quarterback Taylor Zielinski (94 yards on 6 carries) closed out the scoring with a 70-yard keeper down the left sideline late in the third quarter.
Lake View was held to only 86 total yards of offense and 4 first downs in its first state playoff appearance since 1996.
Rous was happy with his team’s offense but concerned that he has yet another key player injured. Starting senior quarterback Kyle Whitman is out for the season with a knee injury.
“Our offensive line did a good job blocking and our defense did a good job again,” said Rous, whose team made its seventh playoff appearance in the last eight years. “That’s what we do here at Grant (run) so it’s kind of nice to see that we were able to re-establish the ground game.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.