Streamwood's ground game proving tough to stop

  • Streamwood's Joel Sandoval, left, earned all-conference in soccer before deciding to play football this year. He's scored a pair of touchdowns in the first two weeks while averaging 40.7 yards punting.

    Streamwood's Joel Sandoval, left, earned all-conference in soccer before deciding to play football this year. He's scored a pair of touchdowns in the first two weeks while averaging 40.7 yards punting. Daily Herald file photo

By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/8/2021 12:38 PM

Streamwood football coach Keith McMaster said one early-season key has been the addition of all-Upstate Eight Conference soccer player Joel Sandoval.

Through the Sabres first two games, Sandoval has run 5 times for 129 yards and has 2 rushing touchdowns -- part of a Streamwood rushing attack that has pounded opponents for 901 yards on a whopping 113 carries (451 yards per game; 8.0 yards per tote). Sandoval's long run is 53 yards.


He also handles the Streamwood kicking and punting duties, averaging 40.7 yards per punt with 3 boots inside the 20.

"Joel adds to our offense with field goal abilities and can kick the ball all over the field," McMaster said. "We can go deep, short and side to side. However, he doesn't just kick for us. His soccer skills come in handy as a running back. He knows how to maneuver through tight spaces."

Ground and pound:

Some more here on the Streamwood rushing attack. The Sabres (1-1, 1-1 Upstate Eight) hold a 44-29 advantage in first downs made through the first two weeks of the season, a 16-3 edge in rushing touchdowns and are converting 61% of their third-down attempts. Michael Estrada (357 yards rushing, 4 scores) and Isaac Martinez (321 yards rushing, 6 TD) lead the way for Streamwood, which faces Glenbard East this week at Millennium Field.

Scoop them up:

One stat that sticks out in South Elgin's Week 2 win against East Aurora is in the fumble recovery department. The Storm has four of those with Kanye Smith coming up with two and Cole Wilmot and Axel Bernal each with one. Wilmot and Alex Rios each were credited with a forced fumble.

Also of significance was the leg of kicker Kai Paz, who went 8-for-8 in the point-after attempts department, but also averaged 51.5 yards on 8 kickoffs. He had 1 touchback and placed 5 kicks inside the 25-yard line. He was also 1-for-1 on onside kick attempts.

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Paz scored a pair of rushing touchdowns as well. South Elgin was highly efficient in its running attack, carrying the ball 27 times for 201 yards. Nine Storm players had two or more caries. Jake Sullivan ran 7 times for 51 yards and a score to lead the way.

Putting the brakes on:

While Batavia certainly had its share of successes on offense in its Week 2 triumph over Oswego, coach Dennis Piron said stellar defensive play, particularly in the second half, was a major contributing factor as well.

Batavia's defense held Oswego to 2 first downs in the second half and 49 yards of offense.

"The Batavia defense starred this week," Piron said this past weekend.

Defensive lineman Tyler Sapit had 8 tackles and 3 tackles for loss, while Piron lauded AJ Sanders' play. "AJ continues to make impacts all over the field," he said.


Jalen Buckley ran 23 times for 152 yards in the Bulldogs' win.

A week earlier, Piron also was effusive in his praise of opening night opponent Chicago Phillips, as well as the Batavia fan base.

"We really enjoyed hosting Phillips -- such a quality group of players and coaches. They have a first-class program and are a great representative of the Chicago Public League," he said. "They will be a very dangerous team as the season progresses. The Batavia community was amazing in support. People, students and fans were so glad to be out. It was maybe one of the largest crowds we have seen in years."

Spreading the wealth:

Looking back to its Week 1 win against Chicago Christ the King, St. Edward coach Mike Rolando tipped his cap to the Green Wave's offensive line. "Our line was significantly outsized, averaging 180 pounds and nobody over 200," he noted, "but they found solutions and allowed us to control the line of scrimmage."

On the upswing:

Burlington Central coach Brian Melvin is excited about the future of the Rockets' program. Central had 60 players in the entire program this spring. That number has now jumped to 112 total student-athletes, Melvin noted. "The Rockets' numbers have increased significantly," he said.

Trigger man:

Crystal Lake South coach Rob Fontana had this to say about Cary-Grove standout quarterback Jameson Sheehan and the Trojans' option offense. "Their three-headed monster they have running the ball doesn't do justice for the type of athlete they have as their trigger man," he said. "Sheehan is a complete stud. The kid throws baseballs in the low 90s and is built like a Division I linebacker. He runs the option with no regard to his own body. He's selfless in leading that offense and when he does throw, he puts it on a dime."

Cary-Grove has put up 111 points in its first two Fox Valley Conference games.

More Gators:

Fontana had great things to stay about the progress of Brandon Haning, Shane Moran and Justin Kowalak. "Brandon is a returning player for us, but has worked really hard over the short offseason," he said. "We had to fine tune his craft and he has really played well for us."

Moran led the team with 13 tackles in the season-opener and also got in on the offensive action in Week 1.

"We had to lean on Shane to run the football for us," Fontana said. "We had so many players cramping up, we needed him to take some of the load off other guys, and Shane was a hammer for us back there, pounding the ball when we needed him to."

Fontana likes quarterback Kowalak's checking ability at the line.

"He was able to check into and out of our offense (in Week 1 against Jacobs) to make sure they were all on the same page," Fontana said. "We expect him to be great each week, but never thought he would throw for almost 400 yards (school-record 395 against Jacobs)."

Lineman Andy Burburija also has been huge for the Gators.

"Because he is a lineman, you won't see his name in most box scores," Fontana pointed out. "Andy played his tail off for us in the heat (against Jacobs) and deserves recognition."


Marmion was a 57-0 winner over Chicago Lake View in Week 2. The Cadets held Lake View to 10 total yards of offense, despite Lake View running six more plays. Five different Marmion players had rushing touchdowns and quarterback Danny Chung threw 2 touchdown passes.

Marmion's defense had 13 tackles for loss. The Cadets head to Lombard to face Montini Friday.

Return specialists:

West Aurora piled up 184 total return yards in its Week 2 loss to Eisenhower High School out of Blue Island. Savion Little returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score, while Joey Pokryfke had 3 kickoff returns for 38 yards. Austin Pierce returned 2 points for 51 yards, including one for 38 yards.

Knights notes:

In Kaneland's 31-20 Week 2 loss to Geneva, quarterback Troyer Carlson completed 15 of 25 passes for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. His favorite target was Sam Gagne, who had 6 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown.

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