College of DuPage stays unbeaten in Red Grange Bowl
Lazerick Eatman knows a little something about big games, having been a part of back-to-back state championships at IC Catholic Prep.
On Saturday Eatman added another special moment to his football resume. He and his College of DuPage teammates defeated Itasca Community College 14-0 in the fourth annual Red Grange Bowl in Glen Ellyn.
The Chaparrals, who won their final five games to finish 8-4, also improved to a perfect 3-0 in the bowl game, which honors the legacy of Red Grange. COD notched precious wins in 2016 and 2017.
"It was crazy," said Eatman, who caught 14 passes for 328 yards and a team-high 5 receiving touchdowns this fall. "My first college bowl game. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"We had some ups and downs in the beginning of the season, but we stayed together as a team and we prevailed."
COD emerged victorious in large part due to an outstanding effort by the defense, which notched a trio of interceptions by Alaric Wooten, Anthony Fordham and Ethan Perakis.
Christian Wills registered a pair of sacks. Also contributing a sack was Jack Baka, who played his high school football at Glenbard East. The Chaparrals made a goal-line stand late in the third quarter to protect their 7-0 lead at the time.
"We've been working every single day for the past month for this game," Baka said. "At the start of the season, I didn't know some of these guys. Everybody was kind of trying to work their own thing. But after about Week 5 or Week 6, we started bonding and everything started to click."
COD, which lost three fumbles, got all the points it needed in the second quarter when quarterback Benjamin Little ran for a 45-yard score. Lavale Hill added a 15-yard scamper to the end zone midway through the fourth.
Hill finished with 119 yards rushing on 13 carries and Little totaled 96 on 6 attempts.
"This was great," Baka said. "I've never played a football game in December before. It was cold, but I loved every second of it. I'm glad I could be out there today."
Itasca, from Grand Rapids, Minn., wrapped up the campaign with a mark of 8-4.