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updated: 9/20/2013 11:50 PM

Bellecomo, Vernon Hills soak up first victory

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

It took four weeks for Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo to get his first career victory with the Cougars.

His reward? A mad scramble to avoid a dousing of water at the final whistle on Friday.

Thanks to the Mason Geick, who rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, and a pair of field goals from Jeremy Cohen, Bellecomo didn't mind all the excitement.

Vernon Hills topped Grant 19-17 on senior night in a North Suburban Prairie Division game in Vernon Hills.

"Someone asked me for my phone, so I knew it was coming," said Bellecomo. "I'm just not as quick as I used to be.

"It just feels good for the seniors on senior night. They really went out there and wanted it. (Connor) McNamara really grew up here tonight. He just did the things that he does, and he keeps working. I told him that things will turn around."

The Cougars (1-3, 1-1) actually let their defense dictate the momentum in the third quarter, when it forced 3 turnovers and scored 9 points as Vernon Hills broke away after a 10-10 halftime tie.

Cohen drilled a 38-yard field goal with 9:37 left in the third quarter. That opportunity came after Daved Levering recovered a fumble.

Then Kiwanne Durant caught a 34-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-13 toss from McNamara (8 of 20, 117 yards) with 2:47 left third quarter for a 19-10 advantage. The Cougars' Michael Mariella made an interception to set up the eventual winning score.

"That was a big throw from Connor (McNamara) on fourth down," Bellecomo said. "It was a big throw and we wanted to go back-side with Kiwanne (Durant) in single coverage. It's a nice connection -- sophomore to sophomore for the next three years."

Grant (0-4, 0-1) rallied in the fourth quarter as Marshall Clark scored on a 4-yard run with 7:57 left.

"We just had too many mistakes," Grant coach Kurt Rous said. "We didn't do a good job with the fundamentals."

Geick returned to the Cougars' lineup after missing the first three games with a knee injury and scored the first score on a 3-yard run with 8:04 left in the first quarter.

"It's everything we wanted," Geick said. "We worked all summer and in the off-season to finally have this pay off."

Cohen added a 32-yard field goal with 2:13 left in the opening quarter and extended VH's lead to 10-0.

Grant answered as Joe Sadausakas (4 catches, 124 yards) hauled in a 64-yard touchdown catch from Simeon Tate that cut the lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter. Sadausakas also kicked a 30-yard field to tie game with 2:56 left before halftime.

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