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updated: 10/25/2013 11:06 PM

Conant passes up Fremd

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By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent

Danny Modelski's huge first half helped Conant end its 10-year losing steak to Fremd on Friday night in Hoffman Estates.

Modelski threw for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half as Conant stunned the Vikings 28-17.

"We knew this would be a big game for us," said Modelski, who finished with 273 yards and 4 touchdown passes.

"I just got sacked one time, and that was on our first possession. I had all day to throw and our game plan was excellent."

Modelski's father Bill, who is the Cougars' head coach, was pleased with his son and his team's performance.

"It is nice to get a win over them," Bill Modelski's said. "Danny played well and he played like he should. He found the open receivers and took care of the ball real well."

Conant (6-3, 3-2) now awaits the state football pairings Saturday evening, which should have the Cougars playing in Class 7A.

Fremd (6-3, 3-2), which turned the ball over 4 times and came up with just 3 points from two trips inside the Conant 5, is also playoff bound in Class 8A. But the loss cost the Vikings a share of the Mid-Suburban West title and possibly a first-round home playoff game.

"We were just very flat out there tonight," said Fremd coach Lou Sponsel, whose team was without the services of Jeff McGlade, who was sidelined with a high-ankle sprain. "We were very tentative and just did not make any plays."

Fremd drove to the Conant 5 on its first possession. But the Viking's drive stalled and Andrew Stark kicked a 23-yard field goal to make it 3-0.

Modelski took over from there, rescuing the Cougars twice on an 81-yard scoring drive.

Modelski was able to keep the drive alive twice with a 36-yard pass to DeAngelo McBride and a 22-yard pass to Elias Gardner. Modelski capped the 12-play drive with an 11-yard pass to Mike Kos to make it 7-3.

Modelski made it 14-3 when he connected on a sweet 77-yard catch and run to Bryson Brown with 9:30 left in the first half.

Fremd came right back on its next possession to cut the lead to 14-10. The Vikings marched 69 yards on 5 plays thanks to a 41-yard run by Cody Patenaude that took the ball down to the two. Garrett Groot scored on the next play with 7:45 left in the first half.

Operating behind an offensive line of Cody Foss, Brian Polaski, Joe Novak, Mitch Tednes, Tyler Labarbera and Mike Meier, Modelski moved the Cougars down the field for another touchdown just before the end of the half. He connected with McBride on a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-10.

"I had to really fight up against their defensive backs tonight," said McBride, who had 4 receptions for 67 yards. "Fortunately I was able to pull through."

After Conant's Pat Smith recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half at the Fremd 27, Modelski and Conant went to work. Six plays later, Modelski hooked up with Dante Marksi on a slant over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown and the Cougarss appeared to be in complete control with a 28-10 advantage.

Fremd came right back on its next possession behind Garrett Groot (24 carries, 128 yards) and Darius Burchette (23 carries, 116 yards). Groot's 3-yard touchdown run with 7:09 left in the third quarter closed to gap to 28-17.

The Vikings appeared to be right back in the game when Kevin Schmoeller recovered a short kickoff for Fremd at the Conant 31. The Vikings drove to the Conant 5, but we're stopped by the Cougars on a fourth-and-1 play.

"That play was huge for us," said Kevin Copher, who along with Kos, Labarbera, McBride, Garry Hickerson and Blake Hanetho kept the Vikings in check when they needed big plays.

"We just game-planned all week for a bunch of different runs and formations."

Fremd had one last opportunity in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings drive stalled at the Conant 36.

"I thought our defense played very well tonight," Bill Modelski said. "We came up with some big stops. It puts us in a better position for the playoffs."

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