The Southwest Prairie opened conference play Friday Night with some predictable results, but there was one game that no one would have predicted (unless of course you are a fan). Plainfield East, as the newest member of the Plainfield School District, had never beaten a district rival in a Varsity Football Game. Well that all changed in a very big way as the Plainfield East Bengals (1-2, 1-0) devoured their crosstown rivals, the Plainfield North Tigers (1-2, 0-1) by a lop-sided 38-12 score. Even though the Tigers went into the game as the favorite, the Bengals turned the tables on them by scoring 31 unanswered points and forcing seven turnovers!
Plainfield North scored first in the contest but Plainfield East RB Shekeal Taylor (129 Yds / 2 TD) gave the home team a 7-6 lead with a little over 5 minutes to go in the 1st Quarter with a 10 yd run. North would go on to take a 12-7 lead but with four and one-half minutes remaining before half-time, Bengal QB Robert Zamora found WR Juwan Straughter and tossed him a 26 yard TD to go into the locker room with a 14-12 lead. The big play, though, came in the 4th Quarter when Zamora (169 Yds / 2TD's) again found Straughter in the flat - but this time Straughter pitched the ball back to teammate Myles Walters who took it up the sideline for a 59 Yd TD. The "hook and ladder" play came on a 3rd and long from their 41 and gave the Bengals a 24-12 lead with about 9 minutes to go in the game. Myles Walters finished the game with 104 Yds Rushing / Receiving and 2 TD's.
Plainfield North, one of last season's Tri-Champions, just couldn't get it together against the Bengal Defense. Jr. QB Kurt Palendech had an off night after being picked-off 4 times. He finished the evening with 82 Yds on 7 of 19 passing. Adding to North's woes was a sub-par game from RB Jay Roberts - who was only able to muster 77 Yds on 24 Attempts. Roberts had averaged 7.5 Yards a carry coming into the game.
Plainfield East played the game of their lives Friday Night - but they must now face Minooka on the road next. The Minooka Indians (1-2, 1-0), who started the season 0-2, also came out of their conference opener in a very big way Friday Night by shredding the Plainfield Central Wildcats (2-1, 0-1) 52-20. The Indians could very easily have been 3-0 at this point had they not started the season with a case of "Fumblitis." Minooka narrowly lost to Morris (27-21) and Providence Catholic (7-0) primarily because they gave those games away in untypical fashion. Minooka, though, is the cream of the Southwest Prairie Conference and their domination of Plainfield Central just puts an exclamation point on the term - a sleeping giant has awoken!
Even though the Plainfield Central took a 7-0 lead after receiving the opening kickoff, it didn't take long for the Indians to light up the Wildcat defense. Minooka QB Joe Carnagio threw a 69 TD Yd Bomb to Luke Stovall on the Indians first play from scrimmage. After the Wildcats went nowhere on the next possession, Minooka's Luke Carey returned their punt 51 Yds for another TD and a quick 14-7 Lead. Although there had been early questions about Carnigio's ability to lead the Indians as a 1st year QB - tonight's game should put those questions to rest. In addition to the opening bomb, Carnagio threw another TD strike (30 Yds) to Max Brozovich and ran for another (41 Yds). Carnagio finished with 111 Yds Passing.
Minooka's strength was its balanced game plan. RB Kalvin Hill rushed for 156 Yds on 6 Carries! Hill's biggest chunk of real estate were achieved by scoring on 52 and 40 Yd. runs. In addition to Hill's scores, Nate McGuire added a 10 Yd TD run and PK Jake Stytz split the uprights from 30 Yds out. And you wonder why I call the Indians the cream of the crop? This is an exceptionally well-coached team and Coach Kooi knows how to get the best out of his players. Not only that - Minooka also played an errorless game Friday! The Indians, though, did give up an uncharacteristic 307 offensive yards to the Wildcats. Plainfield Central's Jordan Ellingwood was the one bright spot for Coach Jackson on Friday Night. Ellingwood finished with 85 Yds Rushing, 25 Receiving and scored 3 TD's.
The Plainfield South Cougars (2-1, 1-0), meanwhile, were also able to keep pace with Minooka, Oswego (a 25-14 winner over Romeoville) and Plainfield East for the conference lead. The Cougars defeated the host Oswego East Wolves (2-1, 0-1) 34-27, but it wasn't easy nor was it very pretty at times. Cougars DB Brandon Davis got burned on 2 Pass Interference calls. Unfortunately those calls kept Oswego East's drives alive, as well as keeping them in the game. Brandon Davis, though, is a good athlete and atoned for one of those calls by making a huge interception later in the game! I have to tell you too - the defense as a whole played with some great intensity this week. Bad penalties are about the only damper on an otherwise good performance. But things really worked out for the squad this week after some shaky performances in the first two games. The defense could be a strength this season! Individually, Jake Meeder and Angelo Cervantes put in solid performances.
I will say this, I was impressed with Plainfield South. They are getting better each week and mistakes are becoming fewer. That, to me, is by far the the most positive trend thus far and helps take the pressure off an offense that still struggles at times to find their stride. Then again, it is always difficult when a team loses so many core players to graduation. But as I have said before - this is a team that is loaded with talent. As such, they have the luxury of being able to spread the ball around among many players and confuse the opposition with different schemes. In the early going, though, the offense has been centered mainly around a very athletic Dantrell Wright. And believe me - he has not disappointed anyone in the least. By the way - his 4th Quarter TD was the game-winner! There was a nice shift in this week's game plan, too. Plainfield South spread it around nicely on Friday Night and it did make them more dangerous.
Friday Night's Game was exciting. Plainfield South and Oswego East played a see-saw game and the outcome wasn't decided until late in the game. The Cougars were able to score three times in the 1st Half but the Wolves refused to go away and you must give them credit. There was, however, a low-light or two too. The officiating crew let both teams down by making erratic calls and not being able to keep track of team time-outs! And get this - there was even, what I believe, as a little home team shenanigans being played when the Oswego East Time-Keeper failed to restart the game clock numerous times in each half. Hmm...what was that all about?
Still, the Cougars held a 21-12 lead at half after Sr. QB Austin Howarth found Ricky Luna (26 Yds) and Jason Ochoa (44 Yds). Howarth also unloaded an 80 Yd Bomb to Josh Harris to give the Cougars a 27-19 lead. But Oswego East came storming back in the 4th when Wolves QB Dakota Skenadore threw a 13 Yd. TD to Scooter Smith. After Jordan Sullivan caught Skenadore's 2-Point Conversion Toss - the game was knotted-up at 27 All.
As I said earlier, though, Dantrell Wright was the difference in this game. He took an Austin Howarth pass in the flat and broke tackles all the way down to the 2 Yd. Line. 1st and Goal to go! But Wait A Flag!! Whew, Oswego East was charged with a Face Mask Penalty! After the call, Dantrell Wright took a hand-off and crossed the goal-line for the go ahead score. K Matt Imburgia added the PAT and the Cougars led 34-27.
Oswego East made one last attempt to get down field, however, the Cougar Defense were able to stop the Wolves and the Offense ran out the clock for the win.
In the last conference opener of the night, the Oswego Panthers (1-2, 1-0) defeated the Romeoville Spartans (1-2, 0-1) 25-14 to earn a share of the conference lead. The Spartans had taken a 14-13 lead with a little over 6 minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter and it looked as if they would stun the Panthers after Miles White was able to force a fumble on the ensuing kick-off. With two players in position to grab the fumble - Oswego was able to gather it back in and keep possession. The Panthers then went 72 Yds. in 9 plays to take a 19-14 lead.
After Romeoville was forced to punt the ball back to Oswego, the Panthers scored thier last TD for the final margin of victory. Romeoville's Perez Ford accounted for both Spartan TD's, one on a run and the other a 20 Yd. TD Pass from QB James Rook.
Next Weeks Schedule:
(All Games Friday 7PM)
Oswego East @ Oswego
Plainfield East @ Minooka
Romeoville @ Plainfield South
Plainfield Central @ Plainfield North
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