It doesn't matter anymore that St. Edward and St. Francis will finish at or near the bottom of the Suburban Christian Blue standings.
What matters is both probably will play against next week in the IHSA playoffs, although St. Edward will hit the postseason smarting from the 50-8 defeat the Spartans handed them Friday in Wheaton. Both teams are eligible for the playoffs with 5-4 records but seem to have enough playoff points to earn a berth. Each is 3-4 in the league.
"Being a senior," said Spartans offensive lineman James Kalfas, "it's amazing to play another game. I didn't get the opportunity last year. As a sophomore I did, playing up on varsity. I love it. Another week. Ten games."
"I'm very proud of our kids," added Spartans coach Greg Purnell. "We dropped four games in a row, and they very easily could have in the middle of the season said, the heck with it. But they kept working their butts off, and our young coaches kept coaching."
The teams played even in the first quarter, but the second quarter was anything but even.
James Butler opened with touchdown runs of 15 and 7 yards. Then quarterback Zach Prociuk followed with TD passes of 31 and 26 yards to junior Jack Ahern in the final 48.5 seconds of the quarter, and the Spartans led a stunned Green Wave 28-0 at halftime.
"We drove it down their throats down the middle," Kalfas said. "Our offensive line has been a little sketchy all year, but we really brought it this week. We had the best week of preparation I think we've ever had, and we needed it. Every game since Guerin was a playoff game. We need five (wins) to get in, and we did it."
To make matters worse for St. Edward in the second quarter, wide receiver Mikey Castoro left the game at the 3:23 mark with an injury to his right knee.
"It seemed like we couldn't hang onto the ball, dropping the ball, dropping a kickoff, dropping punts, dropping passes, and our heart and soul goes down in Mikey," said Green Wave coach Mike Rolando. "It takes the wind out of you. I don't think we could recover from that, and it didn't get any better in the second half."
The Green Wave fumbled the football away on the second play of the second half, and two plays later the Spartans' Tarshma Jackson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.
The next time St. Francis got the ball, the Green Wave forced the Spartans to punt but fumbled again, giving the ball right back. Three plays later, Prociuk, in the grasp of a defender and on his way to the ground, shoveled the ball forward to Jackson, who took it into the end zone for a 42-0 lead, starting a running clock.
St. Edward's lone highlight came with 7:43 to play in the game when running back Davontae Elam broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run, breaking the school's single-season rushing record and adding on to his all-time school rushing record. After running for 45 yards on 13 first-half carries, he finished with 112 yards on 16 carries.
"He had a rough go early on," Rolando said. "He was running hard. I'm sure they were amped up to stop him, and we found a few ways to get him the ball on the pass. He's a hard runner, a great running back, a great kid. I'm very proud of him and the line that just led him."
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