Maine South shuts down Belleville East in second half, emerges with 33-21 win
At halftime of Friday night's Class 8A playoff game against visiting Belleville East, Maine South trailed 21-20 and Logan Tomlinson wasn't happy.
"It was just sloppy," the Hawks' standout senior linebacker said. "We were missing some open field tackles, sloppy. We talked it over and we really focused on sharpening how we tackle, how we move, how we play fast. We did a good job in the second half."
So did Maine South's offense - especially on the ground - and the end result was a 33-21 win over the Lancers.
Sparked by several big plays from Tomlinson, who had an interception late in the game, linebacker Gavin Smith and linemen Tommy Behzad and Tyler Fortis, the Hawks shut out Belleville East after the break while finally putting elusive Lancers quarterback Armon Vinson and running back Chase Boyd on the ground.
In the second quarter, Boyd stunned Maine South with a 61-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one that put BEHS in front 14-10.
"Definitely one of the better offenses we've seen," Tomlinson said. "Nothing crazy, nothing we can't handle. I don't think we should have given up 21 points, maybe seven. We did a great job in the second half, in all aspects."
Receiving the ball in the third quarter, the Hawks shifted into run mode.
"They were loading the box and if you get by that initial push, you're going to get some yardage," Maine South coach David Inserra said. "The offensive line (Mikey Santoro, Jimmy Garcia, Eddie Dase, Luke Pedersen, John Mallory) was outstanding and the play-calling was fantastic."
Running back Michael Dellumo and quarterback Constantine Coines ran the ball nine straight times to open the second half and the junior duo hooked up again on a 10-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive and give Maine South a 27-21 lead.
"They were switching up their coverage a bunch and the run was working, so we kind of stuck with it," said Dellumo, who also had a 29-yard scoring run in the second quarter and a 17-yard TD catch in the fourth. "I love it. I just kept running my feet, trying to get as many yards as I could."
With the win over a No. 11 Belleville East team that trounced East Aurora 70-0 in the first round of the playoffs, the No. 6 Hawks (10-1) play the winner of Saturday night's matchup between No. 3 Barrington (10-0) and No. 14 Naperville Central (8-2).
"I think our team is going to come away from this really confident going into next week," Dellumo said. "It's really high. In the first half, we were kind of out of it, not really together on the sideline. In the second half, we came out and scored and everything went well from there."