Maine South rallies from early deficit, wins key Central Suburban game
It was gut-check time for Maine South.
The Hawks had rallied from an early 9-point deficit Friday night at Glenbrook South to take a one-touchdown lead, only to watch it slip away late in the third quarter.
Then the defense stepped up big time for the visitors.
The Maine South defensive unit held the Titans off the scoreboard on three fourth quarter drives, and the Hawks offense answered the bell with a late touchdown.
A 12-yard, tackle-breaking run from Hawks sophomore running Michael Dellumo with 33 seconds remaining in the game gave Maine South a 23-16 Central Suburban South win.
Maine South was able to overcome a strong game on the ground from Glenbrook South. The Titans rushed for 209 yards, including 88 by Charlie Gottfred and 71 from Hank Leahy, but some key penalties hurt the home team down the stretch.
"Coach always says 'Bend but don't break'," said Hawks senior Danny Spandiary. "(Our defense) was just awesome in all aspects of the game. We just kept playing."
"I told them all week, don't flinch, don't flinch, don't flinch, no matter what," Maine South coach David Inserra said of the message to his team. "Just keep it up, don't give it up, and we responded well."
Glenbrook South took a 9-0 lead after 12 minutes of play.
First they earned a safety when a bad Maine South snap on a punt attempt went out of the back of the end zone, then Gottfred scored on 4th-and-1 from the 1-yard line on a tough run.
Maine South came back with a second quarter field goal by Sam Taglia (33 yards), then a 26-yard touchdown pass from QB Jack DeFilippis to Matt Romano to tie the game 9-9 at halftime.
"Offensively, we had some good drives tonight," said Inserra. "We didn't come away with as many points as we wanted to, but we moved the ball."
Maine South took the lead after intermission when Dellumo took a punt around midfield, reversed field and took it all the way to the end zone.
Glenbrook South responded with a TD pass (6 yards) by Hunter Kreske to Jacque Gariepy, setting the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.
And per the coach's instructions, the Hawks defense didn't flinch, holding the Titans at bay and giving the ball back to the offense with 2:43 left.
DeFilippis led the team on a 56-yard drive, which culminated in the game-winning score from Dellumo.
Glenbrook South had one final chance after Tommy MacPherson returned the ensuing kickoff to the 39-yard line, but an interception with 10 seconds remaining by Maine South junior Sam Cooper sealed the deal.
Inserra added that the early 9-point deficit didn't bother the Hawks.
"Last year (against the Titans), we were down 10-0 after maybe seven minutes, so a similar start."
"Our defense did what they were taught to do tonight," said Inserra. "They played extremely well. I didn't make the calls, they did."