After a mostly lackluster first half, Addison Trail knew it had to refocus and get sharp in its final tuneup before some big games in the West Suburban Conference.
The Blazers did just that as they romped their way to a 39-12 victory over Proviso East Friday night in Addison.
Addison Trail (3-2, 2-0) led 11-0 at halftime behind a 25-yard field goal from Carmelo DiFranco and a rushing touchdown and 2-point conversion by Anthony Messina. However, a rousing halftime speech jump-started a somewhat stagnant Blazers' offense.
"The message I told the kids was that some of the opponents we have the next couple weeks, we have to make sure that we're doing things fundamentally sound," Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet Jr. said. "To compete with Downers Grove South and Glenbard West, we have to do things perfectly to have a chance."
The message came through loud and clear as the Blazers came out much sharper in the second half.
"We came out slow in the first half, but our talk at halftime really fired everyone up and we played a lot better and together," Addison Trail two-way threat Kevin Kent said.
Kent picked off a pass and added a rushing touchdown to help Addison Trail run away with the game in the second half.
"I like to do what I can on offense, but I play defense full time and that's my love," Kent said. "I was glad to get that pick; I was reading the quarterback and my keys real well and made the play."
The Blazers had 3 interceptions on the night, which led to more opportunities to keep pounding their rushing attack. Leading the way on the ground for the Blazers was Messina, as he churned out 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Anthony Cantanese also chipped in with a rushing touchdown for Addison Trail.
"Without the line blocking, this wouldn't have happened," Messina said. "We were on the same page all night and we had the same goal. Defensively, we wanted to force them to throw, then get sacks and turnovers and keep running the ball."
The lone bright spot for Proviso East (0-5, 0-2) was the emergence of fullback Terrell Clinkscale. The defensive end-turned-fullback scored both touchdowns for the Pirates.
"It wasn't part of the gam plan, for me to run the ball that much," Clinkscale said. "But I'm 270 pounds and they wanted to see me run the ball, so we tried it two days ago in practice and it worked. We mainly practiced 20-dives, with me getting up the field and getting some yards. I didn't expect to get the touchdowns, but I was blessed to score."
As Proviso East may have finally found its ground game, the focus for Addison Trail immedietly jumped to the matchup next week with the second-rated Class 7A team, Glenbard West.
"Glenbard West will be a good measuring stick for where we want to go," Parpet Jr. said. "Then we need to get prepared for Downers Grove South. That will be our big conference game, so that is the focus."