Bartlett's defense shines in win over Streamwood

Bartlett used some good old-fashioned Bartlett football to win its season opener.

The Hawks used a solid ground game and some stingy defense to upend Streamwood, 19-8, in the season and Upstate Eight opener Friay in Bartlett.

Joe Caputo and Filip Szeszko ran for touchdowns, Aidan Smolenski kicked a pair of first-half field goals, and Marco Incandela snagged a pair of interceptions for Bartlett.

Streamwood's lone score came on an 84-yard kickoff return by Aden Strong.

"The defense played awesome," said Bartlett coach Milan Vuckovich. "And the defense is young. We only have 3 guys with any varsity experience on defense. And they played their butts off."

One of those experienced defenders was Incandela, who also played some wide receiver last year. His second interception doused the Sabres' hopes of a comeback.

Trying to make it a 1-score game, the Sabres had driven into Bartlett territory on the strength of their only completion of the night, a 22-yarder to Alex Trimino and an interference penalty. But Incandela stepped in front of a pass and returned it deep into Streamwood territory with under 2 minutes remaining. The Hawks were able to run out the clock.

Smolenski provided the only first-half scoring, with a 35-yarder in the first quarter and a 40-yarder in the second.

His first kick capped a methodical, 11-play drive to open the game. It stalled at the Streamwood 18 following an incomplete pass, but Smolenski sent a wobbler through the uprights.

"Just to be able to drive down the field like that and only get 3 points out of it just is a killer," said Vuckovich. "I got a little greedy there and tried to pass. I should have just run the ball."

Bartlett finally found the end zone with 6 seconds left in the third quarter as Caputo took it in from 6 yards out.

Streamwood didn't wait long to answer, as Strong took the kickoff, found a seam on the right side and took it all the way. John Ray added the 2-point conversion.

That score held up until late in the fourth quarter. Faced with fourth-and-4 at its own 27, Streamwood went for it but Taro Ishikiawa was stopped short. From there, Bartlett needed just 2 plays to score, with Szeszko covering the final 23 yards.

Caputo finished with 85 yards on 19 carries for Bartlett. Szeszko added 65 yards on the ground. Ishikawa led the Sabres with 61 yards on 14 tries.

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