Rolling Meadows is on the move.
A young Mustangs team entered this football season with some questions, especially after losing 17 players to graduation.
But after dropping the season opener, the Mustangs have steadily gained momentum, and with it, confidence.
Rolling Meadows (3-1) kept thing rolling on Friday by securing a third straight victory, this one a 31-13 nonconference victory over visiting Deerfield (1-3) at Robert A. Hoese Field.
Senior Jared Axelrad rushed for 91 yards on 23 carries and scored 2 touchdowns behind a stout offensive line, and the Mustangs defense limited Deerfield to 179 total yards.
"I'm happy in the sense that we have been progressing," said Rolling Meadows coach Matt Mishler of his improving squad. "I knew it would be a process with the youth, but I feel like we have gotten better and better every week."
The offensive line once again set the tone with senior Andrew Neville, senior Patrick Crilly, senior Will Rezny, junior Joe Boyer and junior Dawson Krull paving the way for a running attack that gained 257 yards.
"They're good," said Axelrad whose 1-yard TD run gave the Mustangs an early 8-0 advantage. "We have a lot of experience on the line and Neville has done a good job setting the tone."
Junior Charles Svoboda (4 carries, 50 yards) kept thing rolling by scoring on a 12-yard run, and junior Yamil Roman added a 23-yard field goal to stake the Mustangs to an 18-7 halftime advantage.
Senior Willis Goodwin also had a big night.The senior had 2 interceptions, ran for a 2-point conversion after the opening score, and added a 3-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter as Meadows' lead grew to 24-7.
Axelrad then added an 11-yard scoring run late in third quarter.
"It doesn't matter who is getting the touches -- we just want to open the holes," said Neville of the Mustangs' dominant line performance. "It feels kind of like last year. We keep getting better and better and I feel like we are getting on a roll."
Rolling Meadows' defense also stepped up big with Neville, sophomore Nate Pedraza and Mick Szlak controlling the D-line.
The Mustangs allowed their first touchdown after a fumble on a punt return setting up Deerfield on the 20.
The Warriors cashed in on the first play after the turnover as sophomore quarterback Ryan Nagelbach found senior Ari Nadler for a 20 TD hookup.
Deerfield scored its final touchdown on a 79-yard run by senior Jonathan Dawson late in the fourth quarter.
In between, the Meadows defense kept things under control despite the Mustangs committing 4 turnovers.
"The defense has been our spark and the offense is starting to get there," Mishler said. "The guys up front are just grinding right now."