'Taking care of business': Maine South starts slow but then rolls to defeat Glenbrook North
Maine South starts slow but rolls to defeat Glenbrook North
Eventually, Maine South quarterback Luke Leongas displayed his chemistry with receivers like tight end Chris Petrucci on Saturday against Glenbrook North.
First, Maine South had to get out of its own way.
Six Hawks penalties in the first quarter made for slow going early, but they found their footing in a 42-3 Central Suburban League South victory over Glenbrook North at Wilson Field in Park Ridge.
Leongas, a senior, completed 22 of 33 passes for 296 yards in three quarters before turning the offense over to junior quarterback Rowan Keefe. Leongas ran for one score and passed for 3 to Petrucci, a Division I prospect and still a junior.
"The whole off-season we've been working, everyone, all of us together," Leongas said. "We've been throwing out here, just great chemistry. He's (Petrucci) a great player. He's an animal, I love the kid."
The 6-foot-4, 214-pound tight end and receiver said he has 18 Division I scholarship offers spanning Power Five conferences and Mid-America Conference colleges.
"We've got a great group of guys, we've all been working with Luke for awhile," Petrucci said. "He definitely has created a good connection with all of us, so we all feel comfortable when we're on the field, and that's a really great thing."
Initially, it was a slog as holding penalties and false starts bogged down Maine South (3-0, 3-0 CSL South). Still, on Leongas' 1-yard sneak behind center Kris Geier and left guard Arthur Hoelscher, the Hawks went up 6-0 at 7:51 of the first quarter.
Glenbrook North (1-2, 1-2) answered. The Spartans executed a nifty double-pass that went 66 yards, as quarterback Avery Burow zipped a lateral pass to receiver Ryan Henschel split out left. Henschel found receiver Zach Mendo down the left sideline. That set up Mike Cosentino's 26-yard field goal to come within 6-3 at 5:20 of the first quarter.
Spartans linebacker and long-snapper Aidan Casey, who later left the game with an injury while on punt return, sacked Leongas to get the defense off the field on Maine South's next possession. After that it was all Hawks.
"We just have to play better, and we've got to play better fast," said coach Matt Purdy.
"We've got six days before New Trier comes to our place. It's a preparation thing, it's them taking responsibility for watching the film and having a great week of practice, and that's something we'll do as a coaching staff. We'll pull it out of them, we'll get them in the right spot," he said.
After ridding itself of the penalties, including one that negated Luke Krasik's 74-yard kickoff return following the Cosentino field goal, Maine South unleashed its full arsenal.
"Once we settled down, then we started taking care of business and we got rolling," said Hawks coach David Inserra, who in 2019 became the quickest in Illinois prep football history to reach 200 wins, then in his 20th season.
"Got it to our playmakers, Mike Sajenko and Chris, he's a big target, and Luke just settled down a little bit and played catch. Instead of trying to make the big throws, he just played catch, and things were there," Inserra said.
Maine South scored on four straight possessions to end the first half. Petrucci scored on receptions of 5, 11 and 35 yards and Sajenko ran for 4 yards to enter halftime leading 32-3.
"We came out a little slow, but we got it together, so it's all good," said Petrucci, who caught 5 passes for 69 yards. Johnny Sassan led the Hawks with 5 receptions for 95 yards and kicked a 26-yard field goal.
Drake Marquez's 37 yards rushing paced Glenbrook North. Burow added 32 yards rushing.
Despite playing a team ranked highly both by Illinois football coaches and Associated Press, Glenbrook North sought a better outcome.
"If we go back and watch the film," said Spartans safety Owen Cassell, "almost every single play we made a mistake on, whether it's from defense, missed tackles, a missed assignment or not playing together and having trust in our teammates out there on the field. We just have to be better and play together."