South Elgin's high-powered offense entered Friday night's Upstate Eight Valley contest against West Chicago averaging 38.8 points per game. The Storm nearly matched their season average in the first half.
South Elgin posted 34 points in the first 24 minutes of action and breezed past West Chicago, 48-6, to advance to 6-0 (4-0 in the Valley). The win marked South Elgin's best start to a season in program history and it's the fourth time the team has won six games in a single season. Coach Patrik Pistorio was elated with his team's performance. It also clinched a playoff spot for the Storm, who take on 6-0 Batavia on the road next Friday in a UEC crossover.
"It really just boils down to our kids' commitment to one another," Pistorio said. "This is huge for our program."
South Elgin quarterback Nate Gomez was fantastic, completing 10-of-11 passes for 175 yards and 5 passing touchdowns, 3 of which went to receiver Jaron Wells. Gomez also rushed for 81 yards on 10 carries. Pistorio had nothing but praise for his senior quarterback.
"He's dynamic," Pistorio said. "He can do it both -- run and pass -- and it really puts defenses in a bind. Just his overall leadership is starting to pick up as well. When we need him to convert on a third down, he's a guy we're going to and we're putting the ball in his hands."
The Storm offense was the story yet again and reached the end zone on its first six drives of the game. But the defense chipped in too. Defensive lineman William Dunn scooped up a fumble on the Wildcats' 15-yard line and took care of the rest, scampering for a short scoop and score to put South Elgin up 34-0.
West Chicago has lost three of its last four contests, dropping to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play. West Chicago's lone score came on a kickoff return by track star Jack Reynolds to open the second half. But other than that, it was a long night for coach Ted Monken's Wildcats. Monken admitted South Elgin might have too many weapons to contain.
"They're 6-0 for a reason," Monken said. "They've got some really good players. It starts with that quarterback. He's very talented. You get him loose and he can just run all over you. That's what he's been doing to everybody they've played.
"So we had to try to load the box to shut him down and it's pick your poison."
South Elgin won't have much time to celebrate its best start in school history. The Storm will face its stiffest test of the season at Batavia next week. Pistorio and his bunch are fully aware next week's game could define their season.
"We have to be at full strength," Pistorio said. "We have to have a great week of practice and we really got to perform and execute on all three phases. They're a great football team, a great program that has a strong tradition. We're going to be tested, no doubt about it. We're looking forward to the challenge."