La Salle-Peru football coach Joe Sassano said the Cavaliers won’t let Saturday’s season opener set the tone for the season.
“We just can’t let this one game define us,” Sassano said after the Cavs lost 47-7 to Lincoln-Way North. “We’ve got to get back on the horse and just get ready for Week 2. We have to play another good football team in Washington (1-0).”
Sassano said there were some lessons the Cavs could take from the non-conference loss.
“I think we can learn how to get more physical,” Sassano said. “We just have to learn more about our assignments, playing a little faster and playing a little smarter. Our kids gave everything they had. It’s not like they came out and laid an egg or anything like that.”
The L-P defense started strong by forcing the Phoenix into a three-and-out on their first possession, but eventually University of Illinois recruit Julian Hylton and the rest of the Lincoln-Way North offense was too much for the Cavs.
Hylton ran the ball 20 times for 266 yards and two scores to lead a Phoenix offense that racked up 516 total yards and built a 28-0 halftime lead.
“Our defense played well early,” Sassano said. “They were flying around. They were wrapping up. They were doing some things, but when you play a team that pretty much two-platoons — maybe one or two guys were playing 1 1/2 positions, where we had multiple guys play two ways — they were able to wear us down after a while.”
L-P senior Damion Allen breathed some life into the Cavs with a 90-yard kick return touchdown to start the second half.
However, the Cavs continued to struggle offensively in the second half, finishing with just 147 total yards.
Quarterback Colby Sassano completed 9-of-25 passes for 155 yards and three interceptions, while the running game lost 8 yards on 26 carries.
The Cavs did manage to reach the Lincoln-Way North 1-yard line but couldn’t punch it in on four tries, instead losing 10 yards.
“We had some nice pass plays in there. We threw a couple picks that we shouldn’t have thrown,” Joe Sassano said. “We have to really work on getting our running game going and getting our offensive line going. … We’ll look at film and find out what we can do and what we can play.”
— Kevin Chlum
St. Bede 41, Amboy-LaMoille 6
AMBOY — For years, the St. Bede football team has carried the nickname ‘The Green Machine’ — largely due to the Academy’s traditionally stingy defense.
After Saturday’s dismantling of Amboy-LaMoille — a resumption of Friday’s lightning-delayed contest — the Academy football team might just have a new nickname brewing — ‘The Brady Bunch.’
Junior quarterback Jack Brady threw for five touchdowns and 230 yards on 11-of-17 passing in his varsity debut to fuel the Bruins blowout.
“I can’t really put it in words (how it feels). We’ve came a long way since this summer and we put everything together (Saturday). The line did a good job blocking and the defense shut them down,” Brady said. “We just came together for a great night.”
Brady struck for his first score early in the action Friday night as he hooked up with freshman Braidy Shipp for a 51-yard touchdown just 91 seconds into the contest.
Shortly after, repeated lightning strikes forced officials to reschedule the remainder of the game to Saturday.
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to pick up where they left off when play resumed Saturday as a Justin Shaw interception three plays in set up another scoring strike from Brady.
The 29-yard completion was good to Matt Szczepaniak, who followed up with the kick to give St. Bede a 14-0 advantage with 8:16 left in the first.
Brady threw TD passes of 13 and 54 yards to Shaw and added a 7-yard scoring strike to Michael Bellino.
“Jack has worked hard,” SBA coach John Bellino said. “He did a real nice job of staying in control of himself and making the right pass.
“They forced us into (the passing game). When Michael (Bellino) went back there (to fullback), they just brought the house. We said ‘Okay, we’ll take it.’ We took the one-on-one matchups and we were fortunate to be able to do that.”
Shaw put the finishing touches on the Bruins scoring with an electric 70-yard interception return — his second pick of the game and third touchdown — with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
Amboy-LaMoille’s lone score came in the second quarter on a 3-yard run from Jason Bontz that made the score 27-6 after a failed two-point conversion pass.
“They came out and they exploited our weakness. Our pass defense is not very good and they exploited it and took advantage of it and they threw the ball very well,” Clippers coach Gary Jones said.
— Chris Yucus
Bureau Valley 42, Hall 21
MANLIUS — Parker Neuhalfen put it out there.
And then he didn’t back down.
After the Bureau Valley football team beat Hall in a convincing fashion — and after Three Rivers Conference North Division favorite Sterling Newman lost earlier Saturday — the Storm’s junior quarterback said he believes BV is one of — if the not the best — team in the conference.
“I’m glad that we came out and showed everyone in the conference that we’re here this year. I’m really excited for the rest of the year,” said Neuhalfen, who reiterated his belief. “I think we can be as good as any team in this conference. As long as we play four quarters and play like I know we can, I think we can be pretty good.”
Against Hall, the Storm proved Neuhalfen may just be right.
In a game that started Friday night, was suspended and then completed Saturday night, the Storm never trailed as they built a 36-13 halftime lead Friday before lightning came.
On Saturday, the Storm put the finishing touches on the season-opening win.
And Neuhalfen had a lot to do with it.
The second-year starting quarterback ran for 79 yards and three touchdowns and in the air was 5-for-6 for 136 yards and a touchdown.
“We wanted to start the season on the right note and we wanted to do some good things, which we did,” said BV coach Jeff Ohlson, who didn’t let his team watch first-half game film. “As we told the kids, it’s hard to come back after any type of delay, let alone 24 hours, so to come back, get lined up, go out and play and get ramped back up is just hard.”
While the Storm won Friday’s first half and the game, the Red Devils won Saturday’s second half.
After BV’s Tucker Schoff scored on a 42-yard third-quarter run, Hall’s defense shut out the Storm the rest of the way, while a 10-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Hall sophomore running back Chris Hammonds and a two-point conversion run by Jake Byczynski allowed the Red Devils to outscore BV 8-6 on Saturday.
“I think we could’ve come over here and laid a complete egg and did nothing in the second half, but we came out and actually won the second half 8-6,” Hall coach Randy Tieman said. “We made some adjustments (Saturday) morning, the kids saw what they were doing wrong and I think we played a lot better defense.”
— Jared Bell
Yorkville 17, Ottawa 16, OT
YORKVILLE — Coaches will always say it takes all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — win a football game.
While Ottawa and Yorkville struggled offensively throughout the night, fans got a lot of good defense from both sides, but the Foxes special teams was just a touch — or rather a point — better than the Pirates on Saturday.
Early in the opening quarter, Ottawa’s Cody Stokes picked off Yorkville quarterback Nathan Scott, but the offense sputtered and Tristan Cunha kicked a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 Pirate lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Malcolm Levi went 84 yards untouched for a 7-3 lead.
From there it was a whole lot of defense as both teams barely scraped together 50 yards of offense each at halftime.
“Some of these kids played in a different offense last year,” Ottawa coach Trent Swords said. “Last year, we could make up for an off play and come back with a big 60-yard play. This team is different. This is an 8-, 10- or 12-yard at a time team with the run game, but we just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we did at times tonight.”
No more points were put on the board until Caleb Piszczek hit a 35-yard field goal to give Yorkville a 10-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
Ottawa was stuffed on fourth-and-1 late in the game, but Cyrano Rayfield forced and recovered a fumble to give the Pirates another chance, and the Pirates capitalized when Carter Krause threw a 5-yard TD pass to Chase Hill to help send the game to overtime.
On the second play from scrimmage in OT, the Foxes’ Mike Kurtz scored on a halfback draw from 10 yards out. The extra point put Yorkville up 17-10.
The Pirates then took over from the 10-yard line, and on the very first play, Weston Hoffman busted right up the middle for a touchdown.
But the snap on the extra point appeared to be a little low and was bobbled, and it appeared to cause Cunha to stutter step and the kick sailed wide right.
— Brad Martin
Marquette 40, Rockford Christian Life 28
The Crusaders racked up 621 yards of offense Monday to help them overcome a slow start in the season opener that was postponed due to inclement weather Friday.
Marquette fell behind 13-7 after the first quarter, but scored the next five touchdowns to take a 40-13 lead.
Senior quarterback Patrick Killelea completed 8-of-15 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a score.
Senior Cole Lindhout ran for 173 yards on 18 carries to lead a Cru rushing attack that gained 475 yards.
Jacob Martini had 104 yards and a TD on nine attempts, Joe Wheatland rushed for 97 yards and a score on 17 carries and Tyler Verona added 90 yards on 12 runs.
Mendota 13, Marengo 10
Ryan Reeder booted a 39-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to help the Trojans squeak out a Big Northern Conference crossover victory Saturday in Mendota.
Mendota took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter Friday before the game was suspended due to lightning.
The Indians tied the game with a touchdown in the second quarter and a field goal in the fourth.
Wyatt Martinson finished with 125 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
Morrison 46, Princeton 0
The Tigers first game in the Three Rivers Conference did not go well.
Princeton, which fell behind 8-0 on Friday before the game was suspended due to lightning, committed eight turnovers — six fumbles and two interceptions — and trailed 39-0 at half.
Sophomore Jacob Reinhardt threw for 125 yards, while J.J. Vaccaro had 57 yards on two carries.