Defense makes plays when it needs to in Barrington's victory over New Trier

Barrington came up with a pair of key defensive plays in the final minute to hold off New Trier 22-14 Thursday in Barrington.

Ayden Salley and Matt Marusich each knocked down passes in the end zone for the Broncos (4-0).

"They (New Trier) came out here and stuck around," Barrington coach Joey Sanchez said. "I am proud of our guys, because it wasn't our best execution. But we made the plays when we needed them."

With just over two minutes to play, New Trier had drove from their own 27 to the Barrington 5-yard-line thanks to receiving of Miles Cremascoli (10 receptions, 212 yards).

The Trevians faced second and goal from the five.

The Trevians then misfired on a pass outside of the end zone. They then followed with a fade in the end zone that somehow Marusich reached in and knocked away. On third down, New Trier tried to swing a back out of the backfield, but Salley stayed with him and broke up the pass at the goal line.

"He is a great wide receiver," said Marusich, who also had 2 interceptions.

"We had to find a way to stop him. I am just excited that we got the job done."

New Trier took advantage of some lackluster play by Barrington early in the game to take a 7-0 lead. Trevian backup quarterback Christopher Donnelly threw a perfect pass to Miles Cremascoli for a 49-yard score on the first play of the second quarter.

That seemed to wake the Broncos up.

With New Trier keying running back Dillon Fitzpatrick, Barrington quarterback Nick Peipert pulled off a very successful pair of read option plays. After runs of 62 and 11 yards, Fitzpatrick then covered the last 15 yards on a pair of runs to make it 7-6.

The Broncos then pulled off a fake on the extra point attempt. Holder Will Nazha threw a perfect strike to Charlie Ploder to make it 8-7 with 10:15 left in the first half.

After a defensive stop, Barrington was on the run again. The Broncos went 82 yards on 8 plays with Peipert throwing to Matt Marusich on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The drive was sparked by a nice catch and run by Nazha that covered 36 yards.

Barrington added a touchdown with just under ten minutes to play as Fitzpatrick (21 carries, 60 yards) scored on a 2-yard run to make it 22-7.

New Trier rallied late to make the game close. Jackson McCarey scored on a 24-yard run that was set up by 2 catches by Cremascoli.

"I am proud of our kids keeping their focus," Sanchez said. "I am proud of our defense because they came up big at the end."

Warren 41, Stevenson 16:

Warren lost its quarterback to a knee injury in the second quarter, but three different players broke loose for touchdown runs of 50-plus yards and the host Blue Devils used the ground attack to produce a 41-16 victory over Stevenson in the North Suburban Conference.

Senior quarterback Nate Foster had 104 rushing yards in just over a quarter. But on a keeper early in the second, he was hit hard by Stevenson linebacker Griffin Suren. When the players hit the turf, Foster's knee twisted awkwardly and it was clear right away he wasn't OK.

Foster eventually limped to the sideline and junior Jack Wolf, who had 2 receptions as a wide receiver, took over at QB.

"It was a surprise," Wolf said. "I've been a QB before, but seeing Nate go down was tough. Stepping in, we practiced it before, so we were ready for it."

The 6-foot-4 Wolf played mostly basketball and baseball growing up, but took up football when he started high school and played QB on the freshman and JV teams. His job was clearly to avoid mistakes and let the offensive line do its job, and it worked out well, as Warren piled up more than 400 yards rushing.

Sophomore Aaron Stewart finished with 189 yards on 23 carries, senior Donovan McNeal added 131 yards on 15 attempts, while Foster had 104 yards on 7 carries.

"Our two backs are pound-for-pound the strongest players on our team," Warren coach Brian McNulty said of Stewart and McNeal. "So they're just tough, physical kids. Our offensive line is tough and physical and think that just kind of wore on them after as while."

On the possession before Foster got hurt, Warren lost a fumble and the Patriots took advantage with a short 39-yard drive. Stevenson QB Aiden Crawley rolled out and hit fellow sophomore Zach Becker for a 16-yard touchdown pass to put the Patriots ahead 9-7.

After Foster's injury, the Blue Devils got the ball back in good field position and did what they've been known for the past several years - a long, slow march on the ground. Warren covered 51 yards on 14 running plays and finally scored on a fourth-and-one plunge by fullback Nate Brock with 2:07 left in the second quarter.

After halftime, it looked like Warren might put together a long march, but this time McNeal broke loose and weaved his way for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 20-9. While the Blue Devils defense forced a couple of three-and-outs, Stewart got into the act by bursting through the middle for a 51-yard TD run late in the third quarter. He later added a 37-yard score.

"These guys are big, strong and physical and we knew that coming in," Stevenson coach Brent Becker said. "These guys are going to win a lot of football games. I wouldn't be surprised to see them rip off seven in a row and make a run in the playoffs."

Stewart piled up 261 rushing yards last week in a victory over Libertyville, but started slowly this time as it was Foster who found room to run. A 20-yard scramble set up a 52-yard touchdown on the read option and the Blue Devils finished their first drive with a 7-0 lead.

Stevenson (2-2, 1-1) came close a few times to hitting a big play with senior receiver Armand Burris, but he saw some good coverage from Warren's Dajhir Gordon. Burris finally got on the board with a nice catch in traffic of a 19-yard pass from Crawley in the fourth.

After an 0-2 start in the nonconference schedule, Warren has won two in a row.

"I knew we were going to come back," McNeal said. "We're just a young team. We have about five returning starters. We just have to pick it up as a team."

- Mike McGraw

Buffalo Grove 30, Glenbrook North 18:

Host Buffalo Grove's offense got off to a good start on its opening drive against Glenbrook North in a non-conference football game on Thursday night.

Led by senior quarterback Payton Diaz (12-for-19, 235 yards), the Bison marched 80 yards on 8 plays as a 4-yard TD run on an option keeper gave Buffalo Grove an early 6-0 lead.

From there, Buffalo Grove (3-1) built a 20-0 halftime lead before posting a 30-18 victory over the Spartans, who fell to 1-3 on the season.

After Glenbrook North was forced to punt on its first possession, the Bison got a 59-yard pass play from Diaz to junior Brayden Wong to put the ball on the Spartans' 1-yard-line. On the next play Anthony Palano (41 yards on 12 carries) scored on a 1-yard TD run before Carson Gerhardt's extra point made the score 13-0 with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Palano recorded a school-record 6 touchdowns in a 62-14 rout over Vernon Hills last week.

Buffalo Grove got on the scoreboard again early in the second quarter when Matthew Maradkel (55 yards on 11 rushes) scored on a 10-yard TD run to cap a quick 39-yard scoring drive for a 20-0 lead.

The Spartans stuck with their running game in the third quarter and that proved to be an effective game plan. A 1-yard keeper by Jack Philbin capped a time-consuming 70-yard scoring drive to cut the lead to 20-7 with 3:31 remaining in the period.

But the Bison would answer that by putting together a 66-yard scoring drive on their own. Palano's fumble near the goal line on a 5-yard run was recovered by Maradkel in the end zone for a touchdown before the extra point made the score 27-6 with 11:52 to play.

Glenbrook North cut the gap to 27-12 on a 21-yard TD pass from Philbin to Graham Gottschild in the left corner of the end zone with 8;25 to go.

Then Gerhardt hit a 19-yard field goal with 2:28 left to boost the lead back to 30-12. Philbin scored on a 14-yard TD run with 1:06 remaining to close out the scoring. Diaz rushed for 50 yards on 8 carries.

"I thought we came out really well in the first quarter and we took our foot off the gas a little bit," said Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk, whose team hosts Hersey next Friday. "Payton Diaz is a two-year starter and I'm really happy with what we did."

- John Bumbales

Grayslake C. 34, Grayslake N. 7:

The Battle of Grayslake on Thursday took on significance in regards to how the rest of the season might go.

Grayslake Central and Grayslake North entered with identical 1-2 records, so the winner would have more room for error in making a playoff push. That winner was Grayslake Central, 34-7.

The story of the first half was the brother tandem of Brady and Bryce Carlson. Senior quarterback Brady (137 passing yards, four touchdown passes) hit sophomore receiver Bryce (52 receiving yards) for scoring passes of 12, 9 and 24 yards to account for all the scoring in that half.

That merriment was unceremoniously cut short when Bryce Carlson suffered a right ankle sprain late in the half and ended his evening with a boot and crutches. Still, the brothers had done enough together to give the Rams (2-2) the victory.

With Bryce Carlson out, the Rams turned to their running game in the second half to bring them home. Leading that attack was Romeo Reyes, who picked up 113 yards on 18 carries. Reyes never found the end zone, but Colton Ohm did from 5 yards out in the third quarter.

The Knights (1-3) got on the board on the first possession of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown run by Dominique Pulliam. Quarterback Mitchell Hughes threw for 156 yards with 3 interceptions.

It was a night of highlights for the Rams' defense. Johnny Lindberg-Sage provided the game's first interception to set up the second Carlson-to-Carlson touchdown. The third was made possible when Jordan Cleaves recovered a muffed punt return.

Of most historic significance was a Matty Jens tackle on the Knights' scoring drive that made the senior linebacker the Rams' all-time tackling leader at 151, breaking a record set in 1976.

- Geoffrey Clark

Mundelein 37, Waukegan 22:

For the first time since 2004 the Mundelein football team is undefeated after four games.

The Mustangs used nine different ball carriers and rushed for 219 yards to defeat Waukegan 37-22 Thursday night.

"I think this team is really special," Mundelein junior running back Brody Paluch said. "We are just a brotherhood. I think we have potential, but one game at a time."

The Mustangs, who are 2-0 in North Suburban Conference play, haven't finished a season with a winning record since that 2004 season, and are looking for a stronger finish after starting last year 3-1, and failing to win after the fourth game.

"We have to focus on the everyday, the process," Mundelein coach Vince DeFrancesco said. "We can't focus on where we are going. We have to focus on what we are doing that day."

This season, however, Mundelein has been more dominant in its first four games, leading in every contest by as many as 21 points. Against Waukegan, Mundelein led by as many as 29 and pulled most of their starters early in the third quarter.

Waukegan (1-3. 0-2 NSC) took advantage with a pair of fourth-quarter scores. Timothy Gaddy found his tight end for an 8-yard score and Keeling Murray had his second touchdown late in the game.

At the beginning of the game, it was Mundelein's Jake Junia making big plays. He scored the game's first touchdown on a 37-yard run. Then on the kickoff, he recovered the ball.

Waukegan, however, stopped Junia from a making a third big play, tackling him inches short of the goal line on fourth-and-goal.

The half ended with both team connecting on deep passes. Gaddy found DJ Brown for a 48-yard reception, setting up Murray's 2-yard touchdown. Mundelein responded with Danny McNelly finding Wyatt Soudan for a 55-yard touchdown. McNelly also scored on a 13-yard run up the middle.

The Mustangs had second half touchdowns by Paluch and Ethan Thomas. Paluch, whose role increased due to injuries, led the Mustangs' ground attack with 77 yards on 14 carries.

"He has been awesome and just waiting for his opportunity," DeFrancesco said. "He brings a different element to us. He is long and strong and he keeps his feet driving. He is a smart player. He is a good overall athlete. I am excited to have him."

- Ryan Buchan

Prospect 45, Glenbrook S. 35:

In a thrilling game from start to finish on Thursday night at George Gattas Stadium in Mt. Prospect, the host Knights rallied for a dramatic 45-35 win over previously unbeaten Glenbrook South.

Owen Anderson's second interception in the nonconference game's final three minutes sealed the Knights' third win four tries.

With linemen Aaron Murray, Vincent Sàlerno, Thomas Johl, Malachi Tolliver and James Tsagalis paving the way, Prospect got on the board on its first offensive possession.

Nicholas Carlucci raced 18 yards around left end on a reverse to cap a 52-yard drive. Carter Cremascoli's extra point made it 7-0 with 8:30 on the clock.

The Titans (3-1) answered with a 73-yard scoring drive that ended with Dom Rejkiewicz's 1-yard plunge. Jacob Priegnitz's point after kick tied it at 7-7.

The visitors went ahead 14-7 when they recovered a blocked punt at the Knights' 17-yard line. Four plays later Nate Canning sprinted around left end for the score with 5.6 seconds left in the first quarter.

Prospect came right back with a 69-yard scoring drive, capped by QB Jack Scoog's 2-yard TD run with 7:26 left to intermission.

South went into halftime with a 21-14 lead with an 86-yard drive.

Running behind lineman Patrick Benedict, Alex Casas, Ryan Schroeder, Ben Fish, Hawken Anderson and tight end Wehbe, the Titans landed in the end zone on Nate Cannings' 3-yard run that followed a 31-yard pass from Alan Motoa to Jake Rueckert with 3:20 left in the half.

South wasted no time scoring in the third quarter as Canning (200 yards) burst up the middle for a 57-yard TD with 11:05 left to take a 28-7 advantage.

Cremascoli's 28-yard field goal got Prospect to within 28-17 with 3:52 left in the period.

The Knights closed to within 28-24 with 1:08 left in the third on a 14-yard run by Noah Easter to wrap up a 62-yard drive.

Prospect went ahead 31-28 on Nathan Tader's 4-yard run with 10:21 left on the game.

South answered with a 91-yard drive, capped by Çanning's 3-yard TD run with 5:09 left. The big play of the drive was Tyrone Cotton's 50-yard reception from Motoa.

Easter returned the ensuing kick to the 50. After big completions to Tader and Limbers Griffin, Easter raced 7 yards for the TD that made it 38-35 with 4:41 left.

Owen Anderson's interception gave Prospect the ball at the South 47 with 2:44 left.

Joshua Sherman's interception got the ball back for South with 2:28 left before Jacob Bednarski's pick-6 with 1:49 left made it 45-35 with 1:49 left.

Another interception with 56 seconds left by Anderson sealed the win for Prospect.

Conant 64, Highland Park 34:

There's a good chance that you've probably heard of the saying, "One step forward, two steps back."

For Conant's first-year coach Anthony Donatucci that saying has taken a twist of sorts in the opening third of his debut campaign.

Decked in special camouflage uniforms for Military Appreciation Night, Conant would get their step back prevailing over the visitors 64-34 at Feutz Field that evened each team's mark at 2-2.

Conant broke free from a back-and-forth battle in the first half as the lead changed hands four times before the final one: a 32-yard Matt Maize TD pass to Lennon Johnson with no time left on the clock plus a Maize option-style pitch to Cooper Hanson for a two-point conversion that left the hosts ahead to stay 28-21 at the break.

It was at that point that Donatucci and his unit would gather and discuss what it would need to hold onto the lead it had just regained.

"The last 3 weeks one of our big issues has been not finishing games where we slowed in the second half," Cougar senior running back Cooper Hanson said. "Lennon catching that touchdown before the end of the half was huge for our momentum. We just talked about not stepping on the brake pedal."

Led by Hanson's third and fourth TD runs of 3 and 19 yards plus his second two-point conversion run of the contest in addition to Connor Minogue's 90-yard kickoff return put the game out of range giving them a 50-28 edge after three.

Hanson, who had TD jaunts of 10 yards and 1 yard in the opening quarter, finished the night with 290 yards on 24 carries which earned some plauditory analysis from one of his offensive linemen, Harley Stary.

"He's had a (huge) game (tonight)," Stary said with an impressive look on his face as he and his teammates came off the field in the late stages of the contest.

Highland Park QB David Finfer (22-35 for 232 yards) had three touchdown tosses (27, 14 and 50 yards) plus he ran for two more scores (7 and 5 yards) to finish with 75 yards (13 carries) on the turf.

- Lou Nunez Jr.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.