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updated: 10/4/2013 11:55 PM

Smith, Schaumburg corral Conant

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By Howard Schlossberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

Even at 6-0, Schaumburg is only just getting started.

The Saxons rolled out even more of their repertoire on Friday night at Conant, surviving a mistake-skewed contest and taking the host's best punch en route to a 40-21 Mid-Suburban West win.

"We're a strong second-half team," said Saxons quarterback Stacey Smith, whose 201 yards rushing not only set the tone but put him over 1,000 for the season.

They had to be second-half strong. Conant had contained the Saxons high-octane offense early, staying within 6-0 of Schaumburg at halftime.

Then came Hurricane Saxon.

Schaumburg struck for 3 touchdowns in a flash in the third quarter, two on lightning-bolt runs by Smith of 15 of 75 yards. The 75-yarder was particularly devastating for a Conant defense that had the Saxons pinned in a second-and-31 situation after a penalty.

"That was a dagger," said Conant coach Bill Modelski, whose own club put on an offensive fireworks show in the third quarter.

Conant (4-2, 2-1) had seized the momentum on a 14-yard TD run from Elias Gardner and quarterback Bill Modelski's (20-of-35, 281 yards) neatly executed TD passes of 20 yards to D'Angelo McBride and 75 to speedy Bryson Brown. They had both benefitted from Gardner's legs and a West Coast-type short passing attack to set up the home run balls that enabled them to work their way behind the secondary.

But that's where Schaumburg regrouped, after Conant pulled within 26-21.

"We need to understand we're going to get everybody's best shot," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. And last night against Conant, "The boys responded."

Schaumburg kept rolling into the fourth quarter, adding two more TDs on Smith's 6-yard TD pass on the run to Ryan Tuma and then his 30-yard bolt through traffic to finish off another possession and ice the decision.

Smith knew where to dish out the credit.

"The offensive line's been killing it every game," he noted of the effort from veterans Justin Sanchez, Aleksander Piotrowski, Matthew Stopka, Matt Zolper and junior Michael Bruno. They cleared the way for a 345-yard performance on the ground, including Justice Macneal-Young's 104 yards on 17 carries.

Despite all that, and a killer pass-rush performance from Conner Lapinski, Conant was trading punches with Schaumburg and had the Saxons on the ropes.

"We were going back to back with them in the third quarter," said Gardner, as the teams combined for 6 third-period TDs. "They kept going."

And they got a handle on Modelski, as Rashaan Green Jr. picked him off while he was under duress from Lapinski to culminate a night-long, physical battle between Green and McBride.

But it was Smith who had the last word.

"We've just got to focus on the little things," said the star QB, like eliminating mistakes and penalties.

And it was Conant coach Modelski who had the last word on Smith, who sliced his team up for almost 300 yards in total offense: "He's special."

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