Teonic reaches 100 milestone in South Elgin's first-round blowout

Thirty-five years ago, a young 8-year-old boy along with his family emigrated from the former Yugoslavia to the Chicagoland area where they eventually settled in the west suburbs.

It was there that he developed a love for the game of football - the American kind.

Through playing at Morton High School for Jim Delach and at Harper College for John Eliasik, that love blossomed into an interest in coaching and teaching the game. That first began as an assistant to Otto Zeman at Riverside-Brookfield over 20 years ago and then to Eliasik at Harper where he went on to succeed him in 2006 guiding the now defunct program to its third and final National Junior College Athletic Association non-scholarship national title two years later.

Then, a move to the prep coaching game took place two years later in 2010 beginning at Hersey, then to Larkin four years later followed by a move five miles south to South Elgin High in 2018.

On Saturday afternoon, that individual, Dragan Teonic, won his 100th game as head coach as his squad took care of Chicago Lane Tech 55-6 in Class 8A first round action that sends the No. 6 seeded Storm (9-1) to round two next weekend where it will host No. 10 Warren (8-2), a 39-3 home winner over No. 23 Oswego (6-4).

"It's awesome," said Teonic, now with a mark of 100-66 in his head coaching career, as he held his 4-year-old daughter Elena shortly after the contest concluded. "But more importantly we're really just trying to push through as a program and get to the next level (which) we have yet to do."

On Saturday, South Elgin pushed their way past a Lane Tech program that was making its second straight postseason appearance and 28th overall by finding pay dirt in each of their first six possessions. Sixteen different ball carriers got in the act led by London Leflore's 63 yards on 10 carries which featured a 5-yard TD jaunt in the second quarter. The Storm were comfortably ahead 34-6 with 3:42 remaining until halftime.

South Elgin finished with 265 yards on the ground (329 yards total) behind a line consisting of seniors Joey Cronin, Tommy Roath and Diego Cabello, and juniors Jayvin Thongsakounh and Aaron Ayares.

"On the (offensive) line it's basically like a brotherhood," Cronin said. "Ever since summer camp you try a bunch of guys at different positions and over the season we found the right guys at the right spots and over that time we grew together, learned what we're best at and really just became one big family."

The Storm's defense also kept that family mantra by holding the visiting Champions (6-4) to just 97 yards. Only a 4-yard keeper by quarterback Noah Mayra in the second quarter was the lone blemish.

Lane Tech's season will continue on next weekend as it returns to the CPS/Prep Bowl playoffs while Teonic observed the program's fourth consecutive year with a postseason victory.

"It's unique," he said. "(It's) difficult to do and there's not many schools that have done it and it's hard to be in this position so never take it lightly (and) keep knocking on this door and see if we can burst through."

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