Cervantes, Buffalo Grove keep playoff hopes alive

Host Buffalo Grove needed a win if the Bison wanted to keep their football playoff hopes alive Friday night against Rolling Meadows.

And Buffalo Grove did just that in very impressive fashion as they stormed ahead of the Mustangs 21-0 after just one quarter in this Mid-Suburban League East Division battle.

Senior multipurpose back Michael Cervantes had an absolutely huge game for the Bison with 5 touchdowns as Buffalo Grove held a commanding 42-7 halftime lead before cruising to a 48-14 MSL East win.

Both the Mustangs (4-4, 1-3) and the Bison (4-4, 2-2) face huge tasks in their final games next week. Rolling Meadows hosts Prospect and Buffalo Grove visits Hersey in must-win situations.

Buffalo Grove quarterback Payton Diaz (12-for-18, 197 yards passing all in the first half) hit Cervantes with an 18-yard TD pass before Cervantes had a 40-yard interception return for the touchdown off of Rolling Meadows quarterback Evan Grace (7-for-14, 80 yards passing) for a quick 14-0 lead.

Then Cervantes (53 yards rushing on 10 carries) scored on a 9-yard TD run before the extra point by Jake Rubino made the score 21-0.

The Mustangs got on the scoreboard on a 5-yard TD run by Devin Owen. But the Bison answered that score when Matt Maradkel (44 yards on 10 carries) scored on a 4-yard TD run for a 28-7 lead.

Buffalo Grove closed out the second quarter with Cervantes catching two 25-yard TD passes from Diaz, including the second one with only 3.3 seconds left in the period.

"I think the biggest thing about our team is they actually came out inspired tonight," said Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk. "Cervantes showed what kind of a player he is, he's awesome, and he's one of my favorite players I've ever coached in 19 years of coaching. He's really the heart and soul of the team and the kids know that. He's such a special kid, and to watch him grow up the last few years has been a pleasure."

Maradkel scored on a 26-yard TD run as the game had a running clock from 9:04 left in the third quarter on. Meadows' Ben Petermann caught a 4-yard TD pass from Grace to account for the final score.

Buffalo Grove's Anthony Palano also had a very big game with 124 yards rushing on 13 attempts while Skip Rozanski had 45 yards on 11 carries for the Mustangs.

"The offensive line did a fantastic job creating the holes, Payton was slinging it, and our receivers were creating lanes so when you play like that it's hard to beat us," said Cervantes. "I trust my coaches 100%, and it was a great team win."

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