Rolling Meadows sent a message to the rest of the Mid-Suburban East in its divisional opener on Friday night.
The Mustangs (4-1, 1-0) held Wheeling (2-3, 1-1) to 101 yards of total offense in cruising to a 35-9 win on the road.
"Our defense came out and played really, really well tonight," said Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler. "They came out and gave us a look we hadn't seen or practiced, and the kids did a great job of making adjustments."
The Wildcats, who were coming off a thrilling 26-20 overtime win against Hoffman Estates last week, were held to less than 3 yards per carry. The Mustangs defense was able to get speed on the outside to prevent the Yoshino brothers from getting into a rhythm.
Part of the reason for that containment was Mustang senior defensive end David Sobkowicz, who was in the Wildcats backfield all night long.
"Dave Sobkowicz is one of the best defensive ends in the league," Mishler said. "That kid has just worked his absolute tail off this off-season and made himself a great football player."
The efforts of Sobkowicz and the rest of the Mustangs defense gave senior quarterback Jack Milas short field position to work with. Besides rushing for a score, Milas threw for 200 yards on 11-for-16 passing, including a 48-yard touchdown pass to senior Andre Campbell.
"(Milas) is a very good quarterback and they do a really good job with their offensive schemes,"said Wheeling coach Brent Pearlman. "It's surely tough for us because I don't think we match up athletically, to be honest. Then to have a kid like him under center with that type of accuracy and that type of poise, it definitely made it tough on us."
The Wildcats were finally able to muster up a touchdown with several of the Mustangs starters on the bench with two minutes and 45 seconds left.
The Rolling Meadows defense is averaging just 14.2 points allowed per game, which Mishler credited to a strong defensive emphasis made in the off-season.
"We made a concerted effort this off-season to get better at stopping the run because we did not do a very good job at it last year," Mishler said. "So far this year, we've done a pretty good job of it."
In order for his squad to respond next week against Elk Grove, Pearlman said major strides will have to be made -- and quickly.
"It's frustrating for their sake because we're trying to overcome a lot of adversity and these kids do overcome a lot of adversity," Pearlman said. "But for their sake, I just want to see them moving faster. I want to see them taking more steps forward faster."