Elk Grove shut down the high-powered Rolling Meadows offense when it mattered most, and the visiting Grenadiers left Robert A. Hoese Athletic field in a four-way tie for first in the Mid-Suburban League East football standings after their 24-14 victory Friday, spoiling the Mustangs' homecoming.
Elk Grove (4-3), Meadows (5-2), Hersey (4-3) and Prospect (4-3) sit atop the East with 2-1 records with two games left.
"The kids felt that we're the defending conference champions, and they were eager to prove that," Elk Grove coach Larry Calhoun said. "Any time you can hold a team like Rolling Meadows to 14 points, I couldn't be prouder."
"Their inside 5 did a real good job against us, and we weren't able to run consistently," Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. "They played a great ballgame. My hat is off to them."
The Grens held Meadows to 65 yards rushing and 195 yards passing, well below its 262 yards-per-game passing average, and they intercepted QB Jack Milas three times in the second half.
"The defensive line did a great job putting pressure on Milas," said Mike Bishoff, who intercepted a pass and caught 5 for 52 yards on offense. "We want to compete for the MSL championship."
Meadows led just once, when Milas (18-of-34 for 195 yards) connected with Matt Dolan from 22 yards out with 4:50 left in the first quarter, the first of 2 TD passes. He connected with Dolan for a second touchdown with a 13-yard pass with 9:30 left in the game while trailing 24-7.
In between, it was all Elk Grove. Mikey Maize, whose 11-yard touchdown came on the Grens' first possession, gained 130 yards in 22 carries and also played most of the game in his usual middle linebacker spot.
"We knew we'd have to win," Maize said. "The offensive line has been blocking great."
"Mikey is the definition of a football player," Calhoun said. "He has grit, determination and willpower. He doesn't want to come out of the game, but we try to give him a blow. He's too valuable to us."
Elk Grove took the lead for good when Alex Tinkoff drilled a 38-yard field goal with 9:01 left in the second quarter. Kishan Patel's 10 yard pass from Adam O'Malley (11-of-19 for 112 yards) and Travon Royal's reception for the 2-point conversion gave the visitors a 17-7 lead.
O'Malley's 7-yard run with 2:43 left in the third quarter made it 24-7.
"Coming into the game, we wanted to see what the defense was giving us," O'Malley said. "Coach saw that we could run the ball."
"We were really bad offensively," Mishler said. "That being said, they will come back fighting like dogs next week. The kids have goals and understand what it takes. I'm 100 percent confident how the kids will respond."