Running back steals show in York's victory over Downers Grove North

With the holes his offensive line has been opening up, Jake Melion says it's been getting easier to run the ball each week.

That's scary news for the opposition.

The York senior running back stole the show in Friday's West Suburban Silver showdown of unbeatens, rushing for 257 yards in the Dukes 32-21 road win over Downers Grove North.

Melion scored three touchdowns, two coming on runs of 6 and 69-yards and the third on a 31-yard pass from Sean Winton that gave York (6-0, 3-0) a 19-14 lead at halftime.

"They've (the O-line) been great all year," said Melion, who had 213 yards and three scores last week. "Without them, I couldn't run the ball. Also props to our tight ends and wide receivers, everybody has been doing a great job blocking.

"This feels great; they (DGN) are a heck of a team. They were undefeated for a reason. And it was a great atmosphere on their Homecoming. It was a great win, I'm proud of our team."

The Dukes, who also received a 22-yard score from Jimmy Conners, racked up nearly 350 rushing yards behind the line of Colin Cushing, Adam Nix, Austin Bagdasarian, Gavin Honken and Max Jaras. Cushing and Honken are the only returning starters from a year ago. Conners, who also notched a fumble recovery, finished with 67 yards on eight attempts.

"Our coaches always draw up a great game plan," said Cushing, the Dukes center, "and they do a great job scouting. For us, we've just been playing as a unit every single week. That camaraderie we have on the O-line, we understand what we need to do to execute.

"We are undersized as a line but our technique and our focus this year has been unreal. It's so fun (blocking for these guys). Props to Jake Melion and not just him, Jimmy Connors too. They make us look good, if we miss a block, they make guys miss. Credit to our whole offense, we've got a good thing going."

Winton finished 8-of-12 through the air for 125 yards, also connecting with Luke Mailander for a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Defensively, York held the Trojans to 23 yards rushing.

"One thing about this group, they are competitive and they are confident," York coach Mike Fitzgerald said. "But they stay even keel. They believe in each other and they trust each other.

"That's a great football team we played, a great program. (Joe) Horeni has done a great job.

"We kind of came in at the same time and these games keep getting better and better."

DGN (5-1, 3-1), playing without its star running back Noah Battle, saw quarterback Owen Lansu throw for 223 yards. The sophomore tossed a pair of touchdowns to Oliver Thulin while also finding the end zone on a one-yard sneak.

Thulin had five receptions for 63 yards. Owen Thulin caught seven passes for 113 yards and Vince Davero tallied four catches for 48 yards. Westin Waughop added an interception.

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