SPC Week 5 Round-Up: Plainfield South Scalped By Minooka Defense and Offensive Mistakes

SPC Week 5 Round-Up: Plainfield South Scalped By Minooka Defense and Offensive Mistakes

Plainfield South Scalped By Minooka 23-7

The long-anticipated Rumble on Ridge looked more like Custer's Last Stand as the Minooka Indians (3-2-0, 3-0-0 SPC) scalped the Plainfield South Cougars (3-2-0, 2-1-0 SPC) on Friday Night. That scalping, though, was mostly self-induced as the Cougars committed way too many mistakes on the offensive side of the ball to give their defense much of a chance of keeping them in the game. The Cougar Defense has improved steadily since the season began and this loss was not due to any serious defensive lapses. Instead, this was an erratic performance by the Plainfield South Offense. Each time it appeared as if the Cougars would score they would make another costly mistake to assure Minooka's 23-7 victory.

But before we look too deep into the woes of the Cougars offense, we shouldn't take anything away from Minooka. The Indians earned their victory the old-fashioned way as they played nearly error-free ball for the entire game. Head Coach Kooi and his staff prepared their squad well for this game and the Indians took advantage of every mistake, forced or otherwise, that Plainfield South made. Adding to Plainfield South's woes was the fact that Minooka's Kicking Game was exceptional too, South was forced to start deep from within their own territory for much of the evening.

The Hammer and the Nail, though was Minooka's Defense! They came up big all night long and the play that would set the tone for the entire evening was a huge interception to end the 1st Quarter. After the Cougars had driven down to the Indian 2 Yard Line, Luke Carey was able to intercept an Austin Howarth  pass over the middle and return it 58 yards just as the quarter ended. That interception led to the second TD of the evening for RB Kalvin Hill.

Although Hill's run was a thing of beauty - but I think the officials muddied it by blowing a 34 yard hold on his interior lineman who held a Cougar defender the entire 34 yards to the goal line with an official looking straight into the play. Absolutely Terrible! As a matter of fact - this was one of the worst officiating crews I have seen in quite a while and just confirms to me that the IHSA still has some consistency issues with its' crews.

So in spite of the fact that Minooka played a brilliant game  many people will be left with that image of a "HOLD" that wasn't called as well as some other obvious ones. And that is a doggone shame because as bad as the officiating was - it had very little to do with the Cougars losing. It really did come down to the Cougars making costly mistakes at the wrong time! Although Plainfield South was able to clamp down on the Minooka Offense as the game progressed, it was the inspired play of the Indian Defense that kept them in control. Luke Carey, Alex Hamilton, Walter Vesper, Jake Residori and Jake Petrovic all played a B-I-G games on Friday Night as they won the battles, big and small. As I have said before - Minooka is the cream of the crop in the Southwest Prairie Conference and until another team can elevate their game to match -  they will continue to win the big games.

Still, I would be remiss in saying that even though Minooka's performance was brutally efficient, their game plan is not unbeatable. It is a power running game and the Cougar Defense, in spite of playing a good game, didn't fill the gaps at times and that led to to some big rushing gains. Then again, when defenses are left on the field for long stretches at a time, well, something has to give. And I really don't care what level of football we may be talking about (Prep To Pro) - if you keep a defense on the field for three-fourths of a game you will have a very hard time winning against a quality team.

In spite of it all, though, the Plainfield South's defense was able to limit Kalvin Hill to a fraction of what he rushed for the week before. Hill was held to 117 yards on 23 carries. Normally when a defense can contain another teams primary offensive weapon it should bode well, at least in theory. Somehow though, that didn't happen Friday Night as the Cougars stalled one offensive drive after another with bad or dropped passes, bad snaps, fumbles, interceptions and even a muffed fair catch.

Meanwhile, Cougar QB Austin Howarth's offensive numbers were decent as he completed 20 of 33 passes for 241 yards. Austin Howarth, though, made the bulk of his yardage on long-gainers in this contest. Many of his shorter passes were off the mark at times, but I have to wonder if that isn't due to an offensive scheme that isn't exactly scaring-off too many defenses right now. Then again, Minooka's defense was on fire and the offensive line was having a problem getting the job done and protecting him. I just don't know what it is but the O-Line has struggled these first few games and weren't working very well together Friday Night. Dantrell Wright was limited to 10 yards rushing on 10 carries and 5 receptions for 73 yards. And one of those catches was a 45 yarder. So as you can see, the Minooka defense keyed on Dantrell Wright all evening while dominating the Cougar O-Line. I suppose when you take both of those elements out of the game - well, things are going to go from good to bad in a hurry.

Still, the bright side for the Plainfield South Cougars was their defense and right now they are the team's strength. Hopefully the offense will be able to come around for their next match-up versus district rivals, Plainfield Central because it absolutely essential for Plainfield South to elevate their game. Mistakes (mostly silly) have killed them all season. However, if the Cougars finally figure out how to play without making those mistakes - they are as dangerous as any team in the area.

And if they don't? Then the Cougars will have a hard time the rest of the way.

It is Week Six and every game now becomes a must win!

In Friday's Other SPC Action:

Plainfield Central Wildcats Edge Oswego East Wolves 14-13:

The Plainfield Central Wildcats (3-2-0, 1-2-0 SPC) defeated the Oswego East Wolves (2-3-0, 0-3-0 SPC) 14-13 after erasing a 13-0 4th Quarter deficit. After playing a scoreless 1st Half, QB Dakota Skenendore (13 of 24 for 132 Yards) was able to put the Wolves on the board when he ran for an 88 Yard TD and later hit his brother Chase Skenendore for a 37 Yard TD, however they missed the PAT. Plainfield Central scored their 1st TD early in the 4th Quarter when Tyler Erdman ran it in on a 2 Yard scamper. QB Tim Blake (9 of 20 for 75 Yards) scored the tying TD on a 1 Yard Run and Kicker Mike Fischer converted the PAT for the win. RB Jordan Ellingwood added 109 Yards on 20 Carries for the Wildcats.

Oswego Wins Wild One With Plainfiield East 43-36:

The Oswego Panthers (3-2-0, 3-0-0 SPC) eked out a come from behind 43-36 victory versus the Plainfield East Bengals (1-4-0, 1-2-0 SPC). Plainfield East's Myles Walters stunned Oswego with a game opening 94 Yard TD Return and recovered an onside kick immediately afterwards to take a quick 9-0 lead. However, both teams waged a slugfest the rest of the way with Oswego winning their third consecutive conference game. Oswego QB Ryan West was 15 of 24 for 205 yards and 3 TD's, while  Jack Kwiakowski had five catches for 80 yards and 2 TD's (the 2nd being the game-winner). Oswego's Brett Wainwright had a combined 105 yards (82 Receiving / 33 Rushing).  Bengals QB Robert Zamora went 27 of 45 for 236 Yards and 2 TD's and Juwan Straughter had 11 catches for 109 Yards  and Shekeal Taylor added 170 Yards Rushing on 22 carries.

Plainfield North Demolishes Romeoville 42-0:

The Plainfield North Tigers (3-2-0,  2-1-0 SPC) blasted the Romeoville Spartans (1-4-0, 0-3-0 SPC) 42-0 to ruin their Homecoming Game. A balanced attack let the Tigers spread the scoring around to pound the host Spartans. Plainfield North QB Kurt Palandech completed 9 of 10 Passes for 194 Yards and Jay Roberts carried the ball 17 times for 128 Yards and 2 TD's. But, it was Alex Starks who really made the Spartans pay with his 7 carries and 30 Yards as he scored 3 TD's! Romeoville QB James Rooks completed just 3 of 10 for 45 Yards and an Interception while Perez and Miguel Ford were held to 19 Rushing Yards!


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  • It's always something isn't it. Now it's the officiating that costs South against Minooka. You could call holding on virtually every play in high school football. It's about gaining an advantage, not the actual holding itself. If every hold that occured in a high school football game was actually called, the game would last 5-6 hours! I will admit that you did give Minooka's defense credit but come on, Mike. It's high school football and none of these officials do this full time for a living. It is what it is. I officiate high school baseball and believe me, there are good umpires and bad ones but again, it is what it is. The IHSA does what it can but it is impossible to ensure NFL or NCAA caliber officiating at every high school contest throughout the state. I am no defender of the IHSA-they have their issues-but as far as this matter goes, they do the best they can. Plus, the conference hires an assignment chairman to assign officiating crews for games, including football. So if anyone is to blame for a conference varsity contest having "subpar" officials, it would be that person, not the IHSA. And many times, that person has to hire whoever is availbale. Availability is the most important aspect of working high school sporting events. If you're available, you're going to work because a lot of guys have spotty availability or are picky about where they work or what level they work (as in the guys who only feel they should have to work varsity games). It is very rarely (if ever) an official's fault when a team loses a game. Even a bad call at the worst possible time that APPEARS to decide a game perhaps wouldn't appear as such had a team not made mistakes earlier in the game. High school football is 48 minutes, not one or two calls. I know you have loyalty to South but the degree that it comes through in your writing is often nauseating. I have a friend who is in the newspaper business. He has told me that total objectivity is the most important aspect of reporting. As a blogger, one is afforded a few more liberties but the main idea should still be to report, not editorialize. After all, it IS called the Prairie State Preps REPORT, right? The site is great though and it is nice to have someone that covers the SPC as closely as you do. Keep up the good work.

  • Actually I was very clear - I said the officiating was NOT THE REASON. Read it again! You are cherry picking. I also said I think it is a doggone shame that that image of the game must exist because the Indians played a brilliant game. So what do you mean?

    First, thanks for being an official. It isn't easy by any measure.

    Look I have had numerous conversations with Anderson and Hickman about the officiating. Yes they have a protocol, but they need to do more. I am also looking at it more from a safety thing too. Violent face mask jerks are as bad as getting a concussion from a straight on hit.

    Yes I agree - every play could in theory be a hold - but come on! I am talking BLATANT and LOOKING RIGHT AT IT. When you have officials like that then we have a bigger problem than the assignment chair. Besides, I work those sidelines and let me tell you I have seen everything from Big Ten Crews to I don't know what being used.

    Now let me ask you a question. Lets take an upcoming game like Minooka versus Oswego which appears to me the game that will decide the conference championship - would you feel good if your team lost the conference because of an incompetent officiating crew? I doubt it.

    I think, especially the big, big games should be viewed by the assignment chair as being important enough to put his best crew out there. Certain games deserve that!

    Last but not least, I am an unpaid blogger who writes this site and Chicago Political Commentary. Yes I tend to editorialize but I think I have been fair more times than not. Now I would go back and reread the article from the point where I said - "that is a doggone shame because as bad as the officiating was - it had very little to do with the Cougars losing. It really was all about the Cougars making costly mistakes...."

  • Ok, fair enough. I'll be sure to get the whole picture a little more clearly. But as far as officiating goes (and this is in mostif not all high school sports) you are talking about amateur officials, not professionals. No one that I know can possibly make a sustainable income only officiating high school sports. And the outcomes REALLY aren't important enough to justify paying enough for a guy to make a good living only officiating high school sports. I wish there were something that could be done but in reality, what we have is amateur athletes being officiated by amateur officials-some good, some ok, some bad-that's just the nature of the beast. Even in the pros, there are those officials/umpires that are much better or worse than others. I can only speak to baseball but I know the IHSA does take player safety VERY seriously. I sit through a clinic every year and go through a rules meeting every year too where this is beaten into our brains repeatedly-safety and sportsmanship comes first. I do know of several baseball umpires who are only allowed to officiate freshman level games because they do not work to improve their craft and/or are poor at managing a contest. The baseball assignors I work for are pretty good about giving guys a chance but putting the hammer down if they aren't making the grade. As far as football goes, I've seen good and bad officiating. The biggest complaint that I would have is inconsistent enforcement of pass interference. Contact does not necessarily constitute interference. And it drives me nuts to see a great defensive play penalized just because there is negligable contact that happens in any sport. I think many referees just get excited at the chance to call P.I. because so many high school teams do nothing but run, run, run the ball all the time. As for South this year, I'd say that even with Coach Bublitz being a solid coach, they were bound to take a step back from last year. The talent is still solid (not what it was a year ago though) but Mike Briscoe is as good as it gets as a high school coach. Those are tough shoes to fill. Just ask Bert Kooi. His first few years at Minooka were tough because many of the kids just wouldn't fully buy into what they wanted to do. It took a few years but he's got it going now. South will be fine in the long run though-too much talent not to be. Minooka-Plainfield South should be great for years to come!

  • I hear you on filling the shoes of Coach Briscoe - tough. I spoke with him the week before versus Romeoville as he always seeks me out when I wear the "vest" lol, but we were looking at his Blackberry and we were both stunned at Plainfield East being down 21-26 to Minooka - but like I told him, they may be getting better - but I expect Minooka to blow them up in 2nd half and sure enough...boy did they ever. He is still so proud of what he built there and the fact his son is doing well as a sophomore QB you had to feel for him. Yes he gave South a beautiful program - but I suspect his heart has always been in Minooka.

    Perhaps that is why it is such a great rivalry too, as most of our coaches were with Briscoe and are still teaching the same principles with Bublitzes vision. He has instilled something new too - just like Kooi. But both men are sharp and it takes a while for something new to reach fruition. It frustrates me that sometimes the players don't understand the greatness of the rivalry for what it is - football! I hate to hear comments like "we have to pop him or we gotta get him outta there" - I mean - play hard - but play fair. High school are the times a kid remembers most when it comes to sports so it should be special.

    I hear you too on the officials. Yes it hard to grasp sometimes that it is amateurs vs. amateurs out there and some leeway has to be given. But you have to admit - man sometimes it is more than a person can stand. Even amateurs should be able to react to the obvious. But I accept your explanation for what it is.

    And yes, contact does not mean interference. My rule of thumb is was the player make a clear intent for the ball? was the defender looking back at the ball?

    Thanks for the comment - and I will try and temper the bias lol.

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