IHSA Football: Southwest Prairie Conference Week Two Game Summaries

IHSA Football: Southwest Prairie Conference Week Two Game Summaries
Plainfield South's Terrance Russell (#5) Prevents Joliet West's Niko Messino (#31) From Scoring at End of Game

Plainfield South 31, Joliet West 27

The Plainfield South Cougars (1-1) and Joliet West Tigers (1-1) played an exciting and see-saw battle from the opening kickoff until 39 seconds remained in the contest before a victor was determined. In all, the lead changed hands seven times before the Plainfield South Cougars defeated their area rivals 31-27. After Cougars Sr. QB Ricky Luna (3 Carries for 103 Yds Rushing, 2 TD's & 1 TD Passing) scored the winning touchdown with 1:40 to go.

But, the Joliet West Tigers still wouldn't go away quietly as they nearly broke the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown return. Luckily the tackle was made, but the Cougar Defense still needed to come up big one last time against a team who had made it a habit of scoring tit-for-tat this evening. This time, though, it would be up to Joliet West's QB Ashton McCullough to engineer the final drive even though the second of their QB Tandem, Anthony DiNardo had tossed two long TD's earlier. Tough call, but I do understand it as McCullough probably gives the Tigers more offensive options with his ability to pass and run. But Ashton McCollough didn't run and he couldn't complete a pass against a now fired-up Cougar Defense. Four straight passes would fall incomplete, including the last one which was thrown into the end zone. Plainfield South had held and took over on downs with 39 seconds remaining.

The game was finally over, but it sure was one heck of a barn-burner!

The game began with Joliet West fumbling the opening kickoff and the Cougars' Mason Matesevic recovering inside Tiger territory. Plainfield South then moved the ball towards the goal line. With a little more than a minute and one-half off the clock, QB Ricky Luna attempted to run the ball in for the score but was hit at the one yard line and coughed-up the ball. WR Mike Valentine, though, was able to recover for the TD. 6-0! PK Matt Imburgia made the PAT and the Cougars were up 7-0!

Joliet West, though, would go on to match the Cougars nearly score-for-score the rest of the evening. On the 1st play of the 2nd Quarter, RB Korey Rogers busted a long 76 Yard TD Run up the middle and after the PAT the score was tied at 7-7. With 7 minutes remaining in the Half, Cougars QB Ricky Luna ran 16 yards for the TD (Imburgia PAT) and the Cougars were up 14-7. The Cougars and Tigers were both moving the ball well, but drives stalled as 11 Penalties (8 by South and 3 by West) were called in the 1st Half by an officiating crew that at times resembled the NFL replacements we have been seeing of late. But hey, penalties (real or perceived) are part of the game and after a penalty was called on South before the half, RB Korey Rogers scored from the 1 yard line and then caught the 2 Point Conversion Pass from QB Ashton McCullough as the Joliet West Tigers took a 15-14 lead at the Half.

Man, what a 1st Half! Plainfield South's Ricky Luna and Joliet West's Korey Rogers were giving the fans one heck of a show and there was still another half to go. You could just sense that this was not going to end, you know? Sure enough too as Cougars QB Ricky Luna hit RB John Kosirog with a 26 Yard TD Pass (Imburgia PAT) and Plainfield South had re-taken the lead at 21-15 with 8 minutes to go in the 3rd Quarter. But you guessed it - Joliet West did it again a minute later as Tigers' QB Anthony DiNardo threw a 66 yard bomb for a TD and tied the score at 21-21. Joliet West then attempted another 2 Point Conversion but failed to score. With 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd, Plainfield South's Matt Imburgia split the uprights for a 24-21 lead.

Joliet West wasn't going to let that bother them though. With 10 minutes remaining, QB Anthony DiNardo uncorked another bomb, this time for 49 Yards to retake the lead at 27-24 (PAT Failed). Plainfield South, though, weren't going to give up. This is a tight unit and know how to play during crunch time. On the game-winning drive the Cougars not only moved the ball effectively but did so in a confident manner to get closer to the goal line. With a little less than 2 minutes on the Game Clock, QB Ricky Luna again scampered into the end zone for a TD (Imburgia PAT) and the Cougars took the lead for good at 31-27. But the fans had to be holding their breathes at this point because Joliet West would be getting the ball back. So, if there were ever a time for the Plainfield South Defense to really step-it-up - this was it!

Especially after the Tigers had played them tit-for-tat all night.

And it looked as if they were going to do it again after Joliet West's WR Niko Messino received the kickoff and nearly broke it for a Kick Return down the Cougar Sidelines. Plainfield South's CB Terrance Russell had other ideas and was able to come up with a game-saving tackle on Messino near the Cougar 30 Yard Line. Now it would be up to the defense to stop QB Ashton McCullough (instead of DiNardo who had tossed 2 TDs earlier) from pulling out a win for the Tigers. The Cougar Defense, though, had other ideas as they forced the speedy QB into throwing 4 Pass Incompletions, including the last one into the end zone.

Plainfield South took over on downs with 39 seconds remaining and ran out the clock. Joliet West had finally been stopped after trading scores with the Cougars all night. The Tigers were no doubt disappointed, but I gotta strange feelin' that the teams of the Southwest Suburban Blue are not going to look at this team as the same pushover from year's past. Head Coach Jason Aubrey has not only improved this Joliet West Football Program, but he also has a group of talented athletes who will be making some noise this season.

As for Plainfield South, QB Ricky Luna has now established himself as the leader of this squad and that is not by accident. He has worked hard ever since joining the program and has his earned his chance to lead this team. And he will succeed because his teammates not only respect him, but they trust him too! Of course it doesn't hurt that Ricky Luna is as tough as nails either. And while we are the subject of toughness, how about the mental toughness displayed by Cougars PK Matt Imburgia? This kid is a weapon in his own right ( 1 FG / 4 PAT's) That was a pretty big 7 Points!

Next Up: @ Plainfield North Tigers (1-1)

Plainfield North 35, Lockport Township 2

The Plainfield North Tigers (1-1-0) and Lockport Porters (0-2-0) were both reeling from Week One defeats and were hoping to turn it around on Friday Night. Unfortunately, the Lockport Porters weren't up to the task as Plainfield North demolished them 35-2. The Tigers were led by QB Kurt Palendech who threw for 150 Yards (9/11, 1 TD) will rushing for another 107 Yards ( 1 TD). In addition to Palendech, Sr. RB Jay Roberts (8 / 115 Yards, TD) and Jr. RB Trenton Cavin added another two touchdowns (2 Yds, 4 Yds). Cavin, who scored two touchdowns versus Bradley-Bourbonnais has given himself a memorable beginning to his Varsity Career. Nice Job Trenton! Your late Grandfather would have been very proud and is no doubt smiling down upon you.

Lockport, meanwhile, just don't have much to smile about after their first two games of the season. Not only are the Porters off to a slow start, but they must be wondering where their offense is hiding. They have scored a total of 9 points with 2 being the result of a Safety. Lockport, who had not lost a season-opening game since 2002, allowed the Downers Grove North Trojans (2-0-0) score on every possession while putting together one sustained drive of 80 yards in 15 plays for a 17 Yard TD Pass to Brendan Reed from QB Ryan Dalton. That's it - the only offensive points thus far in the season! That drive was also the only possession the Porters would have in the 2nd Half. The only offensive bright spot for Lockport has been a very respectable 6.6 Yards per carry average by RB Brenden Bays who has managed a 6/54 and 15/85 performance versus Lockport's first two opponents.

I have to believe that things will also get worse for the Porters before they get better. Lockport must now face the Lincoln-Way East Griffins who are off to a solid 2-0 start with victories against Mundelein Carmel (31-6) and the three time (consecutively) defending IHSA Class 5A State Champions Lombard Montini (20-14). I don't know for sure but Lockport should be able to get into the win column in Week Four versus Joliet Central (0-2-0).

Then again, that is not a certainty either because the Steelmen have been pretty competitive in their first two losses to Rich Central (24-14) and Reavis (7-6).

Plainfield North, meanwhile, will meet their district rivals, the Plainfield South Cougars (1-1-0) at home this Friday Night. And the way I see it, this could very well be one of those "classic games." Both teams are more than capable of producing points and this one could come down to whichever offensive unit has the last possession of the game. Of course we mustn't forget that these two teams already have a pretty good history of sticking-it to one or the other in "Big Game Situations." Now I am not exactly sure which rivalry is bigger for South (Plainfield North or Minooka), but I do get the feeling that North has always viewed South as their biggest and natural rivals. Either way, these kids will show up ready to play! Good Luck Guys.

Next Up: Home vs Plainfield South (1-1)

Oswego East 31, Oak Lawn Community 6

The Oswego East Wolves (2-0-0) have now completed a repeat of last season's start, against the same opponents. And if there is one thing I am fairly confident about here is that the Rich South Stars' (0-2-0) and Oak Lawn Community Spartans' (0-2-0) season won't be helping Oswego East accumulate too many opposition points used to determine potential State Playoff Tie-breakers. Thus - if the Oswego East Wolves are to qualify for their first ever IHSA State Playoffs - then they must win a number of conference games this season. Pretty straight forward if you ask me.

In Oswego East's 31-6 victory over Oak Lawn this past Friday, the Wolves used a combination of big plays and smash-mouth football. On the Wolves 1st possession, QB Sean Kennedy found Scooter Smith with a short pass and he turned it into a 54 Yard TD up the sidelines for a 6-0 lead (PAT failed). On the second possession, QB Sean Kennedy found Chase Skenendore in the end zone and after a 2 Point Conversion by Cooper Fell, the Wolves led 13-0.

But it was Branden Lowe (16 Att / 115 Yds, 2 TDs & 1 TD Passing), who was playing in the place of injured Chris Cooper, who would propel the Wolves offense. After rushing for 2 TD's (6 Yds, 2 Yds) in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters, Lowe shocked the Spartans by throwing a 26 Yard Halfback Option Pass to Chase Skenendore to close out the scoring. Oswego East had built a 31-0 Halftime lead and the Oak Lawn Spartans couldn't muster much of anything versus the Wolves Defense. The Spartans did put together one 15 play - 60 yard drive but turned the ball over on downs at the 20 yard line after being stopped on a 4th and 6 play. Oak Lawn finally scored on a 1 Yd run by Spartans QB Bob Oleson in the 4th Quarter after the Spartans recovered an Oswego East fumble.

It appears that new Head Coach Tyson LeBlanc has gotten the Oswego East Wolves to buy into his winning methods resulting in two positive results. Tyson LeBlanc compiled a 33-27 career record at Chicago Curie, but that record is misleading. LeBlanc built Curie into a winning program as they made the IHSA State Playoffs in each of his five seasons there. In 2010-2011, Chicago Curie won the Chicago Public League Championship while competing in the ultra-tough CPL Illini-Red. He gets his teams to play that's for sure. In last season's State Playoffs, Chicago Curie played Maine South incredibly tough before losing 35-13 in the First Round. No wonder people in Oswego are feeling that the Wolves program is in good hands.

But as I stated earlier, Rich South and Oak Lawn aren't exactly tough competition for any team in the SPC. But Tyson LeBlanc is a winner and the Wolves will benefit in the long run. The Wolves will now face an 0-2 Plainfield East Bengals Team that is hungry for a win and a coach known for getting the most out of his club. And the Bengals will give Oswego East a good game Friday Night and are way better than their record indicates.

Who wins? Hmm...I think I have to go with the Bengals.

But hey - we'll see right?

Next Up: @ Plainfield East Bengals (0-2)

Plainfield Central 14, St. Charles North 7

Like Oswego East, the Plainfield Central Wildcats have wrapped-up their non-conference schedule against the same competition as the year before. And like the Wolves, won't be getting too many of those precious opposition points from Chicago Amundsen and/or St. Charles North - but I like Coach John Jackson's chances this season because he has three of his most important offensive weapons back intact. Matter of fact, I think the Wildcats have the opportunity to go 5-1 going into the toughest part of their schedule requiring only one more victory. Will it happen? Not sure - but it is possible.

The Plainfield Central Wildcats (2-0-0) did not need a last second score against the St. Charles North North Stars (0-2-0) to win this year. But they did need some late defensive heroics to stop a North Stars rally late in the game in their 14-7 victory. I don't know folks, but these two teams seem to play some close games even though I thought this would be more of a blowout for the Wildcats. Well, at least I got the win part right.

St. Charles North played a solid defensive game, especially by Nick McCullough. But after forcing two Wildcat turnovers, a fumble recovery by Rich Mix and an interception by Nick McCollough in the 1st Quarter the North Stars could not convert them into scores. Plainfield Central eventually settled down and were able to score when Jordan Ellingwood ran it from the 1 Yard line with D1 Recruit Bryce Douglas leading the way after lining up in the backfield. The Wildcats led 7-0. With 30 seconds remaining in the half, Gino Giarratano scored from 2 Yards out with Bryce Douglas leading the way again. 14-0!

St. Charles North's offense was anemic in the 1st Half netting only 3 first downs. Central, meanwhile, racked up 13 while out-gaining the North Stars 201 - 53. After the half, though, St. Charles North started getting their offense going with an old-fashioned 6 minute drive that went 73 yards on 14 plays. A pass interference penalty against the Wildcats, though, kept the drive alive on a 3rd and 19 play. North Stars Jr. QB Erik Miller then threw a 31 Yard TD Pass to Zach Kirby just out of the reach of CB Akwasi Aikens who was defending. 14-7!

With a quarter and one-half to go, the North Stars would get the ball back a total of 4 times and could not get the equalizer. Plainfield Central had an opportunity to extend their lead with a Field Goal with 6 minutes to go, but Nick McCullough blocked the 32 yard attempt to keep the margin at 7. Bryce Douglas was equally as effective for the Wildcats defensively, but it was his punting that stifled the North Stars. With 4 minutes remaining, Douglas nailed a booming 56 yard coffin corner that pinned St Charles North at the 5. But QB Erik Miller (12/33 157 Yds, 1 TD) made an effort to get the North Stars down field and was able to engineer 3 first downs on their final drive with RB's George Edlund and Matt Prestemon combining for 56 Total Yards. After Miller hit Ben Kaplan with a 26 yard pass to get the North Stars out to the Wildcats 41. The drive ended, though, when the Central Defense was able to sack Miller and then force him into 3 pass incompletions.

Next Up: Home vs. Romeoville Spartans (0-2)

Waubonsie Valley 54, Oswego 28

This game was actually much closer than the score would indicate. But the Oswego Panthers (1-1-0) committed three crucial turnovers in the 2nd Half and could not keep the Waubonsie Valley Warriors (2-0-0) from capitalizing on them and opening the floodgates. The Warriors led 19-14 at the half on the strength of two Austin Guido touchdowns. For the night, RB Austin Guido rushed for 214 yards (4 TDs) and caught 3 Passes for 52 Yards (1 TD). But he wasn't the Warriors only weapon either as QB Dylan Warden Passed for 183 Yards (2 TDs) and Rushed for 66 Yards, Jr. RB Demario Webb Rushed for another 57 Yards (2TDs) and Troy Fumagalli had 4 Receptions for 79 Yards. This is one potent offense! But hey, so is Oswego's! QB's Steven Frank and Brett Wainwright combined for 170 Yards and Sr. RB Mikeel Stewart Rushed for 190 Yards, including a 65 Yard TD Run.

After going into the half trailing 19-14, Oswego forced Waubonsie Valley to punt after their 1st possession of the 2nd Half, but immediately forced a fumble at the 7 Yard Line in what became a turning point. Austin Guido scored on the very next play to make it 26-14. After the Oswego Panthers was able to cut the lead to 26-21 in the 3rd Quarter, the Waubonsie Valley Warriors blew it open with a 28-7 surge. And what a surge it was as Dylan Warden hit Christian Gibbs with a 52 Yard TD Pass and Austin Guido exploded with TD Runs of 41 and 88 Yards.

You have to give Waubonsie credit though, this is an extremely potent team that could very well go deep into the IHSA State Playoffs. Oswego, will now travel to Minooka for an early SPC Conference Showdown and don't kid yourselves this will be a very tough game in an hostile environment. However, I don't think all the pressure is on Oswego here, especially given the way Minooka (0-2) has opened their season with an anemic offense. But one does get the feeling Minooka will be trying to make a statement here because an 0-3 start is not only a possibility, but one I predicted before the season began.

As for Oswego, well, I still believe that they are one of the premier teams of the Southwest Prairie despite losing to Waubonsie since I predicted that that was also a probability this early in the season. The Panthers are still adjusting to the loss of Ryan West, but Steven Frank and Brett Wainwright will provide plenty of offense. And if they keep from making turnovers versus Minooka, they should emerge 2-1.

Next Up: @ Minooka Indians (0-2)

Batavia 30, Plainfield East 14

You really have to feel for Coach Mike Romeli's guys. They could have been 1-1 going into their conference opener versus Oswego East, but they were their own worst enemy against the Metea Valley Mustangs in the Season Opener. The Bengals fumbled the ball 7 times and losing 4 of them. But none were bigger than the final two as they were trying to protect a slim 22-21 lead and looking to run out the clock. Metea Valley's Tamal Kumar first fumble recovery with 6 minutes left led to the game-winning field goal. After the Bengals got the ball back - Kumar recovered yet another fumble with 4 minutes left that allowed the Mustangs to then run out the clock. That was a tough loss for the Bengals!

The Plainfield East Bengals (0-2-0) were on the road again this past Friday versus the Batavia Bulldogs (2-0-0). But they lost 30-14 as Anthony Scaccia racked-up 176 Yards Rushing (2 TDs) and 112 Yards Receiving (1 TD) in a dominating performance. The Bengals, who lost 48-7 to the Bulldogs last season,  kept this year's game close for the 1st Half. The Bulldogs went up 10-0 after Anthony Scaccia scored the first of his two rushing TD's from the One Yard Line with 10 minutes left in the 2nd Quarter and Daniel Albrecht kicked a 22 Yard FG with three minutes remaining in the half. On the ensuing Kickoff, Bengals WR Aris Irazarry unleashed an 85 yard Kickoff Return, but the PAT attempt failed giving the home team a 10-6 Halftime lead.

Batavia would extend their lead to 16-6 after Anthony Scaccia caught a 12 Yard TD Pass from QB Micah Coffey (PAT Failed) with 8 minutes left in the 3rd. And four minutes later, QB Micah Coffey  (16/31 195 Yds, 2 TD) completed a 20 Yard TD Pass to Zachary Strittmatter (PAT Good) for a 23-6 lead. Shortly after the 4th Quarter began, Bengals RB Cullen Rompa busted loose for a 51 Yard TD Run (2 Point Conversion Good) to cut the lead to 23-14. But 3 minutes before the end of the game, Anthony Scaccia scored his second Rushing TD from 2 Yards out (PAT Good) to make the score 30-14 after the Bulldogs put together one final time consuming 11 Play Drive. The Bulldogs will meet their conference arch rival Geneva Vikings (0-2) in their conference opener next.

Next Up: Home versus Oswego East Wolves (2-0)

Bolingbrook 46, Romeoville 10

Was there ever any doubt in this one folks? After all, the Bolingbrook Raiders (2-0-0) and Aaron Bailey are the #1 Team in the State according to the Associated Press and play at an entirely different level than most schools in the area. Matter of fact, they are so good that Bailey only wound up playing a half against the Spartans and will probably do the same Saturday Afternoon versus the Joliet Central Steelmen (0-2). Aaron Bailey (8 Att/113 Yards, 1 TD) pretty much let his teammates carry the load.

And carry the load they did. With 7:38 remaining in the 1st Quarter, RB Omar Stover (7 Att/141 Yards, 2 TDs) peeled-off a 92 Yard TD run (PAT Failed) for a 6-0 lead. With 2 minutes left in the quarter, the Romeoville Spartans cut the lead in half when Steve Derdzinski kicked a 3 Yard FG. 6-3! Bolingbrook, though, weren't too concerned as they went on to score 3 TD's in less than four minutes to blow the game open to start the 2nd Quarter.

RB John Hall started the onslaught with 11 minutes to go in the 2nd on a 2 Yard TD Run (PAT Adam Klein) and a 13-3 lead. With 10 minutes to go, Aaron Bailey threw an 8 Yard TD Pass to John Howard (PAT Klein) for a 20-3 lead and then peeled-off a 63 Yard TD Run (PAT Klein) to extend the lead to 27-3 with 8 minutes to go. Then a minute before the half, Freshman Linebacker Tuf Borland made it 34-3 (PAT Klein) after a 45 Yard Interception Return.

G-A-M-E-O-V-E-R!

Well, not really because there was another to play and Bolingbrook hadn't established a running clock yet. But hey - that was coming. On the Raiders first possession of the 2nd Half, Omar Stover scored from 10 Yards out (PAT Failed) and it was 40-3. Four Minutes later, Sophomore QB Quincy Woods scored from the 1 Yard Line (PAT Failed). It was 46-3 and the running clock began. Romeoville was able to punch home a TD when Miguel Ford scored from the 2 Yard Line (PAT Derdzinski) to end the scoring at 46-10.

For Romeoville, well they now know what it feels like to be run over by a Mack Truck - but this was no embarrassment because Bolingbrook is just that good and Coach Jeff Kuna knows that unless his teams play high caliber competition they won't grow as program. Now many people have picked the Spartans to be finish at the bottom this season and might just do so. But, the Spartans have also lost a ton of players to graduation and they are in a rebuilding mode. Understandable. But I will say this - I still think the Spartans will come out and play some of their conference foes tough I am not sure if they will be able to repeat last year's season ending victory against Plainfield Central this Friday - but you just never know maybe some of that "Magic Bailey Dust" rubbed off on a few players. Right?

Next Up: @ Plainfield Central Wildcats (2-0)

Providence Catholic 28 Minooka 10

The Minooka Indians (0-2-0) have a new coach, a new offensive scheme and no victories thus far. Although this isn't the first time Minooka has started winless against the same teams (last year), this team will have a hard time duplicating their 6-4 record of 2011. Super RB Kalvin Hill and his nearly 9 Yards per Carry are gone and that is hard to replace. Yes Minooka still has Joe Carnagio, their fine running quarterback, WR Max Brozovich, WR Luke Stovall and RB Nathan Gunn - what they don't have though is an offense that is scoring points. Opposing teams know who their go-to guys are and have a fine job shutting them down as well as keeping the Offensive Line on their heels. If Minooka doesn't figure out a different strategy then they could be in trouble, especially with Oswego coming to town for the conference opener on Friday Night.

Providence Catholic (2-0-0) barely squeaked by with a 7-0 victory last season, but had no such trouble this past Friday Night as they scored a solid 28-10 win. Junior QB, Dominic Lagone (9/11, 106 Yds, 2 TD and 13 Att/69 Yds, TD) put together another good game for the Celtics and seems to be steadily improving. Providence have a balanced attack this season and could surprise quite a few more teams than Joliet Catholic.

The Celtics took a 14 -0 lead on the Indians when Chad Weaver ran it in from the 3 Yrd Line with 3 minutes remaining in 1st. It was 7-0 (PAT Regan). The Celtics made it 14-0 one minute into the 2nd when David Kaminski took it in from the 15 (PAT Regan). The Indians, however, didn't buckle as RB Nathan Gunn (5 Att/38 Yds, TD) rambled in from the 24 Yard line one play after Dionte Reed recovered a Lagone fumble. It was 14-7 (PAT Stytz). And just before the half, PK Jacob Stytz split the uprights with a 38 Yard FG to cut the lead to 14-10.

Perhaps Minooka could pull this game out after all. The Indians clearly had the momentum and Providence were playing without RB Brandon Price and WR Miles Boykin due to ankle injuries even though Chad Weaver (23 Att/107 Yds, TD) and WR David Kaminski (TD) had done a great job thus far and Cody Kirby had also contributed with 3 Receptions for 59 Yards.

But Minooka wouldn't threaten again after running only 9 plays from scrimmage in the 2nd Half. Providence Catholic was able to stop Minooka's momentum when, on their second possession of the 2nd Half, executed a 10 minute, 96 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Much of the credit goes to the Celtics Offensive Line, for opening up holes against the Indians. Lagone picked up 35 yards rushing on that drive and that included two consecutive runs of 11 and 12 yards after the Celtics had a 2nd and 17 situation. The end of the drive came when Lagone hit Brandon Denler for a 15 Yard TD. It was now 21-10 (PAT Regan). With a minute to go in the contest, Celtic QB Lagone ran the ball in from the 1 Yard line to make the final score 28-10 (PAT Reagan).

This was a heck of game by Providence Catholic and they are a much better team than some thought they would be. Dominic Lagone will only get better as the season progresses. Minooka, though, have shown little thus far for the talent they have and that must concern coaches, players and fans alike. Minooka will open their SPC Conference Schedule Friday Night versus an Oswego Panthers team that is playing much better than the Indians. A loss wouldn't necessarily end the Indians season - but the SPC figures to be tougher this year and that could have more teams scrambling for a state playoff spot in the end. The time has come for the Minooka Indians to Kick Out The Jams!

Next Up: Home vs Oswego Panthers

 

Comments

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  • Hello, Mike.....after 2 weeks, I have decided one thing...the SPC is WEAK. Minooka has, in my opinion, played the best schedule so far, though one could certainly make an argument for Oswego as well (though I have been told by a couple of people that Geneva is a bit down this year). South played Bolingbrook but then had to squeak by Joliet West who hasn't exactly been winning much in recent years. Plainfield North lost to Bradley on the road and smeared what so far looks like a subpar Lockport team so still no definitive answers there either. Plainfield East has shown signs but probably should have beaten Metea Valley who is average at best. Plainfield Central and Oswego East have each played 2 teams that anyone should be able to beat and Romoeville looks like, well, Romeoville.
    As is my custom, I will turn to Minooka here...The Indians have looked confused on offense at times so far. When they line up multiple receivers and spread out the defense, they have looked better. They have been able to run out of this formation but pass protection was a BIG problem against Morris, though it did look better against Providence. When Joey has had time to throw, he has been OK...certainly good enough to move the ball. He has missed a few throws but that will happen in high school football.
    When Minooka tries to force the run up the middle or run QB keeper after QB keeper, their offense bogs down pretty quick. I have been watching Minooka football for 25+ years and I honestly cannot remember the offensive and defensive lines being this small across the board. The d-line has trouble with the power running game, as evidenced by the first 2 weeks BUT they have been getting very good pressure on the opponents QB, which is never a bad thing. If the ends can continue to beat their guys with their first step or move and the linebackers can help with the run stopping, the defense may be ok.
    But the offense REALLY needs work. Nathan Gunn has run the ball well when he's been given the chance but he is not getting enough carries. I would also like to see fewer sideline routes/passes and more tries over the middle on some crossing routes. Minooka has a copuple of receivers with good size, speed, and hands...they need to be utilized more effectively. The offense looks as though they only have about 4-5 plays...it's the same thing over and over again and again. Beating one's head against a brick wall repeatedly will probably not get one to the other side of said wall...you have to find another way. The Indians offense faces a similar dilemma.
    So to the week at hand: Oswego looks as though they still play little to no defense so I like Minooka's chances of being able to figure out something offensively this week. If Oswego reverts to a power game, the Indians could struggle on defense but it appears as though that style of offense has been abandoned by the Panthers (which I think is a HUGE mistake). I see this one shaking out somewhere in the neighborhood of a 24-20 final...hopefully the home field will give the Indians the edge to get into the "W" column. Despite the 0-2 start, I still like this team's chances of going at least 6-3 because like I said before, the conference looks pretty bad as a whole.
    From my perspective, the Indians have been their own worst enemy in the early going. No disrespect to Morris or Providence but Minooka hasn't really made their defenses have to think too much or work too hard. The offensive playcalling HAS to be better...end of story. The Indians only ran 12 offensive plays the entire second half against Providence because bad play calls on first down led to second and third and longs. The offensive staff has to put the kids in a better position to succeed. The defense, while it has had it's issues, has actually been OK...not great, but certainly formidable for the most part.
    Well, I've ranted enough for now.....good luck to everyone this week. Go Indians!

  • In reply to adamminooka:

    Can't say I totally disagree with your summation except - Bradley-Bourbonnais has a good team this year and North was in position to win that one except B-B used some strategy at the end - self induced safety as a game clock control measure - smart! But I wouldn't take anything away from Bradley + their conference is fairly tough. Lockport is just bad this year - no debate there.

    Providence...totally disagree this is a good team and they haven't peaked yet - wait until end of year - they are for real but I doubt state champion material yet.

    SPC is weaker yes - but Plainfield East had Metea until they themselves screwed up with 7 fumbles / 2 in last quarter when they were in control. Their loss to Batavia totally expected best team in their half of conference.....Oswego is not the power team sure but they don't need it this year - the double wing will suffice this year - still have a huge line! And that gives them time to do double passes and option plays. Don't take lightly! Home field may be enough for Minooka - but you hit the bigger problem - 4-5 plays that's it! Spread the field and use a variation of the spread - double wing / double QB - O-Line is incapable of protecting Joe with the current playbook. Plus Minooka's D is very, very suspect on the corners - let's see what Wainright and McGaughey do to exploit that tomorrow?? 6-3? maybe but closer to 5-4 I think - this is a different team this year - kinda like 2 kids short can't explain it but something is missing.

    Oswego East? Hard Call yes bad competition but improved PF/PA over last years games. LeBlanc is using the talent he has and right now the kid that came in for Cooper is looking better than Cooper. QB I remember him from Soph's - kid is good! But right now I take Plainfield East - they have weapons just have to stop making mistakes! Plainfield Central should be 3-0 after tomorrow and benefit from softer schedule on front end - that may be enough,

    Plainfield South losing to the Brook was expected - but played a hell of a 1st half. Joliet West? Don't roll your nose up on them Adam - they are a better team than you think and play in one of the toughest conferences outside DVC. They will be better this year! p.s. we played them tight last three years so we know each other well and both play wide-open spread offenses - it is what it is. South could beat North with best effort, especially on Defense - must stop Jay Roberts and Trent Cavin (Cavin was my kids teammate at PJC and is a great runner - watch him this year).

    As always - hope we both win but I don't know they have toughies this week and will take absolute best / creative game plan.

  • I am with you on Providence. I didn't mean that they didn't win the game or that Minooka handed it to them at all. My point was that the Indians certainly didn't do anything to help their cause outside of an excellent 2nd quarter. But even that was marred by questionable clock management/play calling. Minooka had a 3rd and 6 at the Provy 23 and instead of trying a pass or an outside run for a first down, they run it right up the middle for 2 yards, making it 4th and 4. So now we're kicking a 38 yard FG (which was good and would have been from 50+...this Stytz kid has a dynamite leg) instead of at least trying for a first down and taking a few shots at the end zone to try to tie the game just before halftime. The FG attempt would have still been there if a better play call hadn't worked so I just don't get it. Then to top it all off after they run the ball to make it 4th and 4, they call a freaking timeout with 17 seconds left on the clock! 17 seconds...REALLY???!!! So now they kick the FG and their are 13 seconds left for a dangerous Providence kick returner to try to run one back...AND possibly (which it turned out there indeed was) enough time for one play as well...and we all know how well Minooka generally defends the pass (though I will give the DB's some credit...they did a pretty nice job last week). But even if they score a TD before half and tie it, you can't win a game only running 12 plays the entire second half...unless 3 or 4 of them go for long TDs...which obviously, they didn't. The offense HAS to be better...nothing to debate there.
    But back to the conference as a whole...when you have this many so-so teams (and I don't think you could honestly consider ANY SPC team a threat to go past MAYBE the second round in the playoffs), the only thing you can call it is mediocre to weak. If Oswego is as big as you say they are, they should be the team to beat, though I still say North will have something to say about that. Minooka and South will go as far as their defenses can carry them against anyone that's any good at all because the offensive playcalling at both schools seems to be suspect at best. Plainfield East is the sleeper...can they sneak up and beat someone besides Oswego East and Romeoville? I'll give them a a good shot at Central and a puncher's chance against Minooka and South IF they hold on to the ball and make tackles...two things they have struggled with in their brief history. I don't think they have a prayer aginst North or Oswego.
    Planfield Central may get to 6-3...but I doubt it. I see them losing to North and Oswego for sure and Minooka seems to have their number. I know they seem to have South's number but with South's athleticism, I'd still pick them over the Wildcats if forced to choose. I see Central more as a 5-4 team on the outside looking in because they are afraid to schedule at least one quality non-conference opponent.
    Oswego East and Romeoville will have to hope one can beat the other...neither one will win a league game outside of that horrid matchup unless someone else just completely fails to show up.
    Going into the season, I assumed Minooka would have good size on the lines...they almost always do. BUT something must have happened because last year, the JV team was bigger than almost everyone they played. So either everyone else grew and Minooka didn't or a lot of those kids didn't go out...I'm not sure which it is but I am certainly going to try to find out. With these lines and this offensive "system," I see Minooka as no better than 6-3 with 5-4 a real possibility. Tonight's game will go a long way toward convincing me in either direction. I do think they will win 5 games because, well, I just don't think they will lose to Central, Oswego East, Plainfield East, or Romeoville when it comes down to it and I do think they will get AT LEAST one win (but as of now, I'm still prediciting two) against Oswego, North, or South. If they win tonight, I'll feel much better about our chances of going 6-3. 7-2 is obviously still a reality as of the moment I am writing this but it would take a monumental effort beyond what I feel this group might be capable of...but obviously, I've been wrong before so we'll just have to wait and see. I still see tonight's game as something along the lines of 24-20 or thereabouts...I just hope Minooka can right the ship enough to be on the winning end of it. They certainly need it.

  • In reply to adamminooka:

    Like I said my friend I pretty much agree with you and your observations are outstanding; i.e. Minooka's Soph was huge compared to the rest of the conference - what happened? Well I think a lot of these programs really don't get the kids into serious weight training until after the Soph season. Perhaps they wait and see who wants to come back for Varsity. My kids 1st 2 yrs - hell weights were an afterthought - now they are finally doing it all the way down at South. Go figure. As far as I know Osw, Mka and North were the only three doing year-round training (or cross-training) as a system. Now most are doing it. I also think that we forget that many of the coaches in the SPC are just Teachers doing it for the extra check where other places have a higher commitment to their sports. I know that budget woes in District 202 haven't helped the Plainfield schools for the last three years and that hurts development.

    But here is the crux - Oswego and North are the biggest teams when it comes to all their players on the line being big. Yes others have their Blake's, Douglas' and Lancaster's so there is some size in the SPC but not like other conferences in the area. What's the difference? Well, the SPC have all adopted the spread in some shape or form and teams are built with speed in mind; hell entire track teams are playing skill positions. No wonder defenses wind up on the field for far too long and give up points - they forget fatigue creeps in! Makes us weak!

    But this why every team (well just about) has a shot in the SPC - smash mouth football is basically gone. The SPC needs to get back to basics. Develop players from the very beginning with year-round training especially linemen. They need to focus on weights and nutrition and get their kids bigger because once the playoffs begin - somewhere along the line you will run into a friggin wall.

    This week's games will go a long way in telling us something though. The schedule has been flipped and some tough teams play each other early. If Minooka beats Oswego (and handily) then 6-3, or even maybe 7-2 is legit although North will make noise this year! I will be at that game so I will see first hand how good they are. Besides I know the kids on both sides from before HS.

    Let me know what is happening by you - so turn phone on!

    Minooka should be winning though and you are right there too - but unless they stretch the field with what they have it will be hard. By the way I love that kid Stytz - best damn punter / kicker in the area although Bryce Douglas is booming those punts!

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