It's only fitting that the seniors made a big impact for Streamwood on Friday in a 28-14 win over East Aurora on senior night at Millennium Field.
Seniors Jesse Rico, who had a pair of interceptions, and Jhay Daniels, who had 3 sacks, led the defensive effort for the Sabres. Senior linebacker Kavari Allen added another interception and another senior Edgar Guitierrez had a big fumble recovery.
On the offensive side of the ball it was junior quarterback Brandon Marton leading the way. Marton threw for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8-of-14 passing. He also ran for a score. However, he had plenty of help from his senior cohorts.
Senior running back Malcolm Davis-Wilder ran for 62 yards on 11 carries, including a touchdown while senior wide receivers Murad Basrawi and Joey Drol each caught touchdown passes.
"We had 23 seniors walk today and I'm really proud of all of them," Streamwood coach Don Guindon said. "It's a big group and they are great kids. They have worked extra hard and are always ready to play. I'm glad we could get them a win. It wasn't always pretty but we'll take it."
The Sabres (3-5) built a 28-0 lead before East tried to make a late comeback. Malcolm Davis-Wilder stated the scoring. He took advantage of Guiterrez's fumble recovery in the first quarter at the East 12-yard line and ran it in for a score on the very next play to put the Sabres up 7-0.
Rico's first interception of the night and return to the 40 set up the Sabres' next score 4 plays later on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Marton to Droll.
Marton capped a short 48-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown on the Sabres' last series before halftime.
The Sabres extended the lead to 28-14 on the first drive of the second half. Marton connected with Basrawi on a 33-yard touchdown pass.
"I'm close with a lot of seniors and I was really proud of the way they played tonight," Marton said. "They played their hearts out. Jhay and Rico had big games. And on offense it was great to see my boys Joe, and Murad and Malcolm get into score."
Marton had been hobbled by an ankle injury the past couple weeks, but was finally at full strength.
"I felt really good out there tonight," Maton said. "A shout out to our trainers for getting me ready to go. The last couple weeks I just haven't been myself, but tonight I was finally feeling 100 percent. The offensive line did a great job. That was probably the best protection we've had all year. They gave me time to get into a rhythm."
East (1-7) rallied late with a 66 yard drive ending in a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ziare Williams. Nasir Phillips (21 carries for 162 yards) added a 71-yard touchdown run with 5:22 left to play. The Tomcats then recovered an onside kick and got inside the Sabres' 33 before a pair of sacks by Daniels and David McMahon stopped the drive and ended the Tomcats' hopes.