Waubonsie Valley football coach Paul Murphy stressed to his team, after the Warriors lost 35-13 in Class 8A second-round playoff action Saturday night at Lincoln-Way East, to remember all that this season's team accomplished and how the future is bright for the many who will return for the 2017 season.
"Nothing to hang your head about," he told them.
It was a Waubonsie team (6-5) that fought hard to reach the playoffs and knocked off a 9-0 team in the first round for the second year in a row.
"They outperformed us. They were the better team. We didn't play the way I thought we would. We missed blocks and tackles. But that's no excuse," Murphy said of the Griffins.
The Frankfort school, a member of the Southwest Suburban Conference, improved to 9-2 and will face Maine South in the quarterfinals. It's only two losses so far this season were to two other elite squads, Homewood-Flossmoor and Bradley-Bourbonnais.
The Griffins jumped out to a 21-0 lead with 6:24 remaining before halftime with a balanced attack of running and passing. Murphy said Lincoln-Way East's rushing attack was particularly tough.
"We'd have the kid in the hole and he would still get 10, 15 yards. They played a lot of seniors. And we played a lot of juniors," he said. "But we have a heck of a lot to look forward to. We'll bounce back from this and learn from this."
The Warriors got on the scoreboard with just more than two minutes left before halftime. Junior quarterback Tanner Westwood aired it out and found Josh LeMoine downfield for a 46-yard touchdown pass. Lincoln-Way East led 28-6 at halftime.
Westwood injured his shoulder the play before and was in some pain when he threw the pass. His evening ended early and Quaid Lamar Gill and Chuck Robinson also left with injuries during the second half.
"I tried to go back in. (The Griffins are) a good football team. We fought in the second half and we had people hurt," Westwood said.
The Griffins scored with just 8.6 seconds left in the third quarter. The Waubonsie defense kept them out of the end zone the rest of the game.
The Warriors kept driving until the end, scoring their second touchdown with just seconds left in the contest as Nate Ashford hit the end zone on a 5-yard pitchout.