Quick start propels Bartlett past West Chicago
Bartlett struck quickly, then kept it going.
The Hawks led 13-0 just 3:01 into the game and went on to defeat West Chicago, 33-14, in their Upstate Eight Valley opener Friday night at Millennium Field in Streamwood.
Dean Kotsovetis threw for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 to Austin Gates, and Nick Deckard ran for a pair of scores as the Hawks notched their first win of the 2017 campaign.
It wasn't always pretty. The teams combined for 4 turnovers and 218 penalty yards, but the Hawks overcame the adversity.
After a short kickoff, the Hawks started the game at midfield. Kotsovetis completed a pass to Jack Oliver at the 5-yard line and, after a penalty, tossed another strike to Gates in the end zone.
On the ensuing possession, West Chicago went 3-and-out. A bad snap on the punt attempt set the Hawks up at the 17-yard line. Two plays later, Deckard ran it in.
The Hawks had two more chances deep in Wildcat territory early on, but couldn't convert.
"For the majority of the game, it felt like we were on the verge of really breaking through," said Bartlett coach Eric Ilich. "We made a few mistakes here and there, and then we made up for it here and there. But what we're looking to do is play consistent good football every down, and then we'll be satisfied, and then we'll be able to grow even higher than what we're doing."
The Wildcats, with C.J. Griffin filling in at quarterback, finally got their feet under them. Griffin led the Wildcats on an 82-yard drive capped by Raul Fernandez's 4-yard run to get right back in it at 13-6.
Griffin finished 16 of 23 for 150 yards and added 77 yards on the ground. He scored the Wildcats' second touchdown on a 16-yard run late in the third quarter.
But the Hawks answered immediately, taking the ensuing kickoff and marching 60 yards in 9 plays. Deckard's second touchdown made it 27-14. The Hawks then added a late TD to put the game on ice.
The Wildcats battled, but the early hole was too much to crawl out of.
"When you come out as flat as we did and you spot them a two-touchdown lead, it makes it awfully difficult to win a game," said West Chicago coach Ted Monken. "If you take those two touchdowns away, it's a complete different game. We're down to out backup quarterback, we've got several guys injured. We're out here like a M.A.S.H. unit, and our guys are completely playing their butts off, heart and soul. If we don't come out so flat, I think we beat these guys. We moved the ball effectively, we missed opportunities, but to come out and give them a two-touchdown lead, that was the game."