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The Rolling Meadows defense made a statement Friday night at Robert A. Hoese field.
The statement was, 'Don't take us lightly.'
One week after giving up 48 points in a loss at Barrington, the Mustangs shut down visiting Conant 28-7 in a Mid-Suburban League crossover.
Meadows took a lot of the suspense out of what many expected to be a high-scoring shootout by going into lockdown mode against one of the top offenses in the Mid-Suburban League.
"We had one of the best weeks of practice we've ever had," said Rolling Meadows senior linebacker Nico Chiodo, who recorded one of four Mustangs sacks of Cougars quarterback Danny Modelski. "We came out here tonight knowing we had to get after it."
Meadows allowed Conant only 116 yards of total offense, held Modelski to 10 completions in 31 attempts and forced 9 Cougars punts, one of which was blocked by the Mustangs.
"I think we came in here a little too pleased with what we had already accomplished," said Conant coach Bill Modelski, whose team was undefeated heading into the contest. "And when that happens, more times than not you get slapped upside the head, and that's what happened to us tonight.
"They (Rolling Meadows) were hungrier than us. We didn't have a spark, and they really took it to us."
Meadows (2-2) scored in the first half on 2 touchdown passes from quarterback Bobby Suchecki to receiver Matt Campbell (13 yards and 4 yards), and a 1-yard plunge from senior running back Kevin Montero.
Conant (3-1) countered with a 6-yard TD catch by Elias Gardner to trail at the half only 18-7, but a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter by the Mustangs' Alex Niecikowski stretched the lead to 2 touchdowns after halftime.
A 47-yard fourth-quarter run by Montero, who finished with 135 rushing yards, put the game out of reach.
"I wasn't surprised that they could throw the ball," said coach Modelski, "but I was surprised at how well they ran the ball and how they shut us down on offense.
"They were better than I expected. Not that we took them lightly, but we thought we'd be able to score against them and that didn't happen."
Suchecki finished 20-for-38 for 186 yards while junior Jack O'Neill caught 7 passes for 94 yards and rushed for 36 more.
After the game, however, the focus was on the Mustangs' tremendous effort on 'D.'
"We came out firing," said Meadows senior Matt Long. "All week at practice we talked about turning things around. This was a total team effort on defense. The d-line, linebackers, defensive backs — everybody played great."