For Maine West and Deerfield on Friday night, it was like looking into a mirror.
Both 1-4 squads were nicknamed Warriors, riding four-game losing streaks looking for their first wins since opening night. Both teams also came in running the same option offense and base defense.
But it was Maine West who failed to mirror Deerfield in all facets of the game. Deerfield (2-4, 0-2) rolled to a 35-7 Central Suburban North victory against Maine West (1-5, 0-2) to pick up its first win in over a month.
"We challenged them because they run the same offense and the same defense, and they out-executed us on both sides of the ball," said Maine West coach Chris Hare.
Before Deerfield pulled away, Hare's squad executed the type of drive he had been looking for. Maine West grinded out a 15-play drive to tie the score at 7-7 in the middle of the second quarter.
Deerfield did the exact opposite the next time it touched the ball.
On a Maine West squib kick, Deerfield receiver Brett Freedberg scooped up the loose ball and took it to the house for an 84-yard touchdown return.
"I saw a seam, my guys blocked really well for me on that one and I picked it up," Freedberg said about his unconventional return. "Once I saw that seam, I just pushed through and broke it to the outside."
For Deerfield, it was the perfect response to Maine West's draining 15-play drive. For Maine West, it was a momentum-killer.
"It's demoralizing because the kids fought so hard all the way down the field to score," Hare said. "Anytime that happens, yeah, that's a blow -- but we've got to learn how to overcome those."
Deerfield did not look back following the return, cruising to 28 unanswered points. The newly named starting Deerfield quarterback, Ben Ethridge, paced the Warriors with two rushing touchdowns in the second half.
"(Ethridge) was a nice two-headed monster running and throwing," Hare said. "They were better able to execute the offense than we did."
The offense that was executed by Maine West came from the powerful legs of senior tailback John Manicke. The durable Manicke carried the ball 29 times for 189 yards while scoring the only Maine West touchdown. He even blocked an extra point and successfully executed a fake punt attempt.
"He's a heart of a champion, love that kid," Hare said. "He's not the biggest kid in the world but he just runs the ball so hard and gives everything he has."
But Manicke's efforts still weren't enough to snap the Maine West losing streak.
"We run the same offense and we expected them to know what we were going to run," Ethridge said. "We just said we had to execute and that's all it came down to."