Rolling Meadows has added another big moment to the program's already decorated football history.
Coach Matt Mishler led his Mustangs to their first 9-win season since 2007, when Doug Millsaps was at the helm, and their first unbeaten regular season since 2000. They also cemented an outright Mid-Suburban East championship with a 37-13 win at Buffalo Grove.
"It is not easy to do," Mishler said of finishing 9-0. "I'm very proud of what they accomplished. They set some goals at the beginning of the season, and 9-0 was one of them, along with being MSL champions. It was a hard-fought game tonight. None of it felt easy."
The Mustangs dominated the line of scrimmage, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With the help of Jesus Delatorre, Marco Perez and Luis Robledo, Buffalo Grove rushed for just 65 yards on 19 carries. Meadows also got to Bison quarterback Connor Adams eight times and forced four turnovers.
"Our defensive line has been unbelievable," Mishler said. "They come to work every day and they give it their all. They aren't the heroes, they aren't in the paper all the time, but we know they have a huge impact on our team."
Not everything went as planned for the Mustangs, who were held scoreless in the third quarter and committed 11 penalties, including four 15-yarders.
"I don't like the sputtering we do in the middle of games," Mishler said. "There were also a lot of flags out there tonight, and that is something we need to clean up. Seemed like too much laundry. They only way to fix it is through tape and practice. We will shore it up."
Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk finished his first season as head coach with three wins and six losses, two wins shy of a playoff birth.
"I thought our seniors played well tonight," Vlk said. "It was their last game, and they weren't going to end their careers without a fight. I am really proud of our juniors and our sophomores as well. Rolling Meadows is a good team, and it was just a tough way to end."
The Bison were down 16-7 early in the second quarter after holding a thriving Mustang offense to 3 points. Adams looked sharp early, especially after his 65-yard strike to James Trieb in the first quarter.
However, things flipped quickly when Adams was blindsided by Perez and fumbled. Rolling Meadow's Brian Jacks recovered the fumble and Nick Delporte scored on a 13-yard touchdown run four plays later.
"We have a lot of inexperience right now," Vlk said. "Whenever you have a sophomore quarterback, sometimes you are going to make sophomore mistakes. At the same time, he has thrown for a lot of yards, and I think he has a bright future ahead of him.
"We had a new offensive coordinator, we did some new things with out defense and we had a new coach. I think next year we will have a better understanding as a coaching staff."
The pairings for the state tournament will be announced Saturday evening.