There were plenty of smiles for Buffalo Grove on Friday night, and for good reason.
Mike DiMatteo earned his first victory as Bison head coach, BG ended a 10-game losing streak that stretched back to the 2011 opener, and the defense -- which had given up 70 points in the first two games -- came up with 3 turnovers and pitched a shutout.
It all added up to a 14-0 Mid-Suburban League crossover victory for Buffalo Grove (1-2) over Hoffman Estates (0-3) at Grant Blaney Stadium.
"I'm happy for all of us," said DiMatteo. "We didn't look pretty doing it, but we'll take it any way we can get it … we're learning."
Buffalo Grove jumped ahead early when senior Mike Pallister scored on 25-yard run with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter to give the Bison a 7-0 lead.
Junior quarterback Andrew Apel, who was starting in place of injured senior Brian Kleczynski, did a fine job in directing the spread triple-option attack. He scored the Bison's second touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter after BG recovered a Hoffman fumble off a bad snap in punt formation at the goal line.
"Lot's of reps," said Apel who is learning the offense on the fly with Klecynski sidelined for the season with a torn ACL. "It came down to execution, and we executed today."
And let's not forget a defense that turned back Hoffman Estates twice in the red zone in the first half, including a key fumble recovery by junior Michael Schmitt after the Hawks had advance to BG's 2-yard line.
Junior Alex Ibarra set up the second BG touchdown with his fumble recovery at the Hawks 1-yard line, and senior Vinny Basso came up with an important interception to stop a Hoffman drive in the final quarter.
"It's a huge win," said senior linebacker Jack Asquini, who had 4 tackles for lost yardage. "We wanted to give our offense good field position and they took advantage of it."
Senior Harry Wright paced the Hoffman Estates offense, rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries. But a Hawks offense that outgained BG 179-107 yards in the first half was not able to capitalize, once again unraveling due to turnovers and penalties.
"We executed well about 95 percent of the time," said Hoffman Estates coach Eric Ilich. "Unfortunately we didn't execute for 5 percent, and it cost us."