It's simple to look at a 35-6 win for St. Charles East over Elgin Friday night at Memorial Field and note it was an easy victory for the Saints.
And it wouldn't be fair to the Saints (8-0, 5-0) if it wasn't noted that they did execute the triple option the way it's supposed to in Upstate Eight River action, let alone dominate Elgin from start to finish.
But while the win in Elgin brought East a step closer to a possible 9-0 record for the first time in school history, the win doesn't show the mistakes. And to coach Bryce Farquhar there were some that need to be mopped up come playoff time.
"The flow of the game just seemed to go really weird for us," Farquhar said. "When we think a drive was over it would continue due to a penalty. Just some missed tackles and some frustrating stuff that added up and it's just some things that added up that we can't have in playoff football."
Besides allowing Elgin (0-8, 0-5) to recover a punt in the first half and a touchdown in the third quarter to climb within 28-6 or the subsequent onside kick, the Saints racked up 8 penalties for 88 yards. Sometimes it looked as if their emotions got the best of them until defensive back Clayton Isbell intercepted Maroons quarterback Kristan Flowers on the first play of the fourth quarter to finally kill whatever momentum Elgin had.
"The second half our coach told us to come out and play more physical and fast," Isbell said of East's 2 picks. "The quarterback threw the ball and I had to make a play and our offense came back out there and did a good job."
There was a lot of good, though. For the most part the Saints' offense did its job from the get-go as they outgained Elgin 372 to 196 in total yards. Running back Justin Jett rushed 14 times for 134 yards and 1 touchdown and Nicholas Garlisch had 5 rushed for 97 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown down the right sideline untouched to give the Saints an early 7-0 lead with 10:40 in the first quarter.
"It was a really good blocking from my offensive line and my other wingback did a nice job of faking out the defense and it was wide open and like a 40-yard-dash, " Garlisch said. "It's definitely key getting our reads done and if we read everything correctly we should play out the way we want it to."
Quarterback Zach Mitchell (3-for-8, 80 yards) found receiver Justin Galante (2 catches, 65 yards) for a 32-yard touchdown pass on the next Saints drive and with 27.9 seconds left in the quarter Jett scored from 6-yards out for a 21-0 lead. Mitchell added a 1-yard run with 5:45 left in the second and the Saints carried a 28-0 lead into half.
"This was a game we didn't want to take lightly," Garlisch said. "It was definitely frustrating at times but you can't get too emotional and do stupid things and we have to stay within ourselves and play within the rules of the game and play football."
There came a point where the Maroons did want to play some and wouldn't go down quietly. Running back Shareick Morris (14 carries, 84 yards) wanted some end zone and eventually found it in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run after he broke down the sideline for 39 yards from the Elgin 34 to start a 9-play, 66-yard drive. Elgin showed signs of life but couldn't put a solid stretch together.
"It's not consistent," Maroons coach Anthony Mason said. "It's what we've struggled with all year. We thought we were going to be a pretty good team this season. We dealt with some heartbreaks those first few games and we started to lose that motivation ... started to lose the understanding ... started to lose what we worked for all offseason. I think today kind of showed that we still got a chance."