The Plainfield Central Wildcats (3-1, 1-1) went into Minooka Friday Night as the only undefeated team in the Southwest Prairie, but as I said in an earlier post - they still had to prove that their fast start wasn't a fluke given the soft opposition faced thus far. And if there were ever a time for the Wildcats to believe that the stars had suddenly aligned for them, it had to be going into Friday Night's game. After all Minooka was 0-3 and hadn't exactly been lighting up the scoreboard. Still - I had a feeling that the Minooka Indians (1-3, 1-1) were going to wake up in this game because they weren't nearly as bad as their record indicated.
Sure, the Indians are not the same team from year's past, but they are still a talented bunch just the same. And when you factor in that much of this team's problems centered around an ineffective new offensive scheme introduced for this season, well, it was just a matter of time before someone would make an adjustment. And what an adjustment it was as the Minooka Indians got back to basics and reverted to a tried and true Double-Wing Formation to scalp the Wildcats 45-14. And believe me folks, this is a formation that the Indians not only know how to play well, but one A.A. Milne's Tigger would say - "is the bestest" for them. Hoo hoo hoo hewooo!
By the time Plainfield Central knew what hit them they were already down 10-0. And what makes that so impressive is that the Wildcats received the opening kick-off and Minooka's RB Cory Bee still managed to score barely 2 minutes into the game for a quick 7-0 lead after Wingback Max "the hammer" Brozovich set him up with a 27 yard run down to the 1-yard line. Jacob Stytz then added a 25 Yd Field Goal three minutes later to give the Indians a quick 10-0 lead to stun the Wildcats. Maxwell Brozovich really helped setting the tone for the Indians offense, though. Before getting the ball down to the one-yard line he also peeled-off a 20 yard run as Minooka faked a punt to keep their opening drive alive.
The Indians were pumped-up from the get go as they built a 31-0 halftime lead behind their trio of runners. In all, the switchback to the Double Wing allowed Indian RB's Max Brozovich (8 Carries / 125 Yds, 1 TD), Nathan Gunn (10 Carries /114 Yds, 1 TD) and Cory Bee (12 Carries / 78 Yds, 2 TD) to combine for a nifty 315 rushing yards on 30 carries. Not a bad way to shake off some of those early season offensive woes if you ask me.
But it wasn't just Minooka's running game either. Indians Junior QB Shane Briscoe did a great job filling in for the injured Joe Carnagio while repaying Head Coach Paul Forsythe's confidence in him in spades. Briscoe hit Luke Stovall with a 44 Yard TD Pass shortly after completing a critical 3rd and long pass to Max Brozovich in the first half in what turned out to be the winning points and a 17-0 lead. That took a lot of composure, especially after having taken some lumps in last week's Varsity Debut. What I like about Shane Briscoe is that he is more of a traditional pocket passer able to read defenses fairly well and quickly to compliment his live arm. And the way I see it, Minooka now has a really nice one-two punch at QB when Joe Carnagio gets back into the lineup. Teams would be wise to respect that too.
In addition to Minooka's offense lighting-up, the defense stepped-up big as well. They played aggressively and had Plainfield Central befuddled most of the night. And leading the way for the Indians was Senior Cornerback Corbett Oughton who put together a solid game. Oughton intercepted three passes and even returned one for a momentum stopping Pick-6.
You know, I have learned long ago that you just can't count out the Minooka Indians, especially when they are capable of playing an all-around performance like the one on Friday Night. This may just have been what the doctor ordered too because they sure needed a shot in the arm. Hopefully their confidence has been renewed as they prepare to hit the road versus a "tougher than you think" Plainfield East Bengals (1-3, 1-1) squad. The Bengals will be looking to get back in the win column after losing a tough 28-14 game to their district rivals, the Plainfield North Tigers (3-1, 2-0).
Plainfield Central, meanwhile, will need a little dose of renewal themselves before this week's contest versus SPC Co-Favorites, Plainfield North. Especially after the Minooka's Game Plan may have exposed some weaknesses in Plainfield Central's potent ground game. Wildcat RB's Jordan Ellingwood (21 carries / 78 Yds) and Gino Giarranto (6 Carries / 35 Yds) were basically shut down by an aggressive Minooka Defense and forced to go into the air. But Plainfield Central Wildcats QB Brian Blair (6 of 23 / 57 Yds, 1 TD, 3 Int) didn't fare much better after Corbett Oughton was able to read him like a book all night. And after seeing how the Plainfield North Tigers play, I have to think that there might just be a few more nightmares in store for the Wildcats Offense this week.
Plainfield Central just couldn't get their offense going against Minooka's defensive schemes. Heck, if it weren't for some Special Teams and defensive help they probably would have been blanked in this contest. The Wildcats didn't score until late in the 3rd Quarter (and down 38-0) when KR Dane Moscatelli broke a 75 Yard Punt Return for a touchdown. After Minooka fumbled deep in their own zone, Wildcats' Alex Julian recovered the ball for another chance to score and Brian Blair didn't let this opportunity slip away as he found WR Akwasi Aikins in the endzone for a 15 Yd TD Pass for the Wildcats last points of the night.
Now I hate to belabor this point about Plainfield Central (and Oswego East), but these teams must prove that their records are not a fluke given their early season opponents. Central's opponents: Chicago Amundsen, St. Charles North and Romeoville have a combined record of 1-10 (* Amundsen remains at 0-3 after being idled by the Chicago Teachers Strike this week). Oswego East (3-1, 1-1) an upset 32-27 victor over a fast-fading Plainfield South Cougars (1-3, 0-2) team that could be in real trouble now. But getting back to Oswego East, they have a better shot at earning opposition points than Plainfield Central as Rich South (2-2) and Oak Lawn (1-3) have already surpassed what most thought would be their season's total. One thing is for sure though, the Oswego Panthers (3-1, 2-0) will bring their district rivals down a notch in this week's Oswego Crosstown Classic. Now I am not sure if it will be similar to their 41-0 pasting of the Romeoville Spartans (0-4, 0-2), but it could by a decent margin just the same. The Panthers are still looking like the team to beat in the Southwest Prairie, although Plainfield North will have an awful lot to say regarding that on October 5th.
As for Plainfield Central's chances in the SPC? Well, their loss to Minooka did not help their cause. It is rare to catch a Minooka team as down as they were - but that was exactly when the Wildcats needed to pounce on them the most because their schedule gets tougher from here on out. They must play Plainfield North in a home game this week, an away game at Oswego East the following week and then back home for Homecoming versus Plainfield South. If they are lucky, they can win two out of three although I think the Oswego East and Plainfield South games can still become toss-ups. Especially after the way Oswego East played in their last game. Still, the possibility of Central sitting on 5-2 going into their final two games on the road versus Plainfield East and Oswego aren't out of the realm. But that is where I think they will run into trouble and probably wind up right back onto the IHSA State Playoff Bubble with a 5-4 record for the second consecutive year.
Then again, I could be wrong here too?
Tags: Football, High School Football, High School Sports, IHSA, Illinois High School Association, Minooka Defeats Plainfield Central, Minooka H.S., Minooka Indians, Oswego, Oswego East Wolves, Oswego Panthers, Plainfield Central H.S., Plainfield Central Wildcats, Plainfield East Bengals, Plainfield North Tigers, Plainfield South Cougars, Prep Football, Romeoville Spartans, Southwest Prairie Conference, Sports