Vernon Hills falls to Deerfield

By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/11/2019 11:29 PM

Folks of all ages sipped hot chocolate for the first time this fall at Friday night's Vernon Hills-Deerfield football game.

Cold temps provided the excuse to imbibe the sugary beverage at Adams Field.


But Vernon Hills' Cougars had to deal with an entirely different kind of taste in their mouths after a 23-20 loss in a Central Suburban League North clash.

A bitter one.

"You can's spot a team 16 points like we did," VH coach Bill Bellecomo said, alluding to Deerfield's 16-0 lead at the half.

A botched VH punt return gave the Warriors the ball at VH's 13-yard line and led to a 28-yard field goal. VH penalties aided the hosts in their two touchdown drives and negated the visitors' first downs.

"Our sideline," Bellecomo noted afterward, "wasn't alive at any point in that first half. I wanted to see emotion, but I didn't see it."

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A different Vernon Hills squad appeared in the second half, finding the end zone on its first two possessions and capitalizing on an interception by senior quarterback/defensive back Thomas Monken in between the scoring trips. Monken hit senior wide receiver Jack Barszcz for a 22-yard TD -- on a fourth-and-20 with 7:71 left in the third quarter.

Monken came down with a pick from his counterpart, Deerfield signal caller Ryan Nagelbach, on the ensuing possession and returned it to Deerfield's 41.

Seven plays later, Monken (23-for-41, 194 yards, 3 TDs, INT) connected with junior Justin Morris for a 6-yard TD.

VH (4-3, 1-2 in the CSL North) was back in it, down only 16-13.

Deerfield (5-2, 2-1) turned the ball over on downs at the VH 35 but limited VH to a 3-and-out. The Warriors then produced a 62-yard drive, capped by a 17-yard TD toss from Nagelbach to senior Alex Cohan, to expand the advantage to 22-13. Cole Woodson's extra point upped the gap to 10 points


VH, undeterred, responded with another successful possession, this one ending with an 8-yard TD fling from Monken to Barszcz at the 4:33 mark of the fourth quarter.

"We had a whole different kind of effort in the second half, after not being able to get anything going in the first half," the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Barszcz said.

"Two games left [to win a game and become playoff eligible]," he added. "It's not over for us. It's not over."

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