Proviso East ends its streak at Round Lake's expense
One long losing streak ended on Round Lake's football field on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the host Panthers, theirs continued.
Proviso East, which hadn't won a game since its 2014 season opener, beat Round Lake 20-7 in a nonconference season opener. It was the Pirates' first game under coach Oliver Speller.
Proviso East had lost 35 games in a row. Round Lake saw its losing streak stretch to eight, after a 2-0 start to last season.
"I'm proud of these kids," coach Cristo Garza said of his young Panthers. "They played their butts off. Hats off to Proviso. They'd been looking for that win, and good for them to get it. It's exciting stuff for them over there, I'm sure, with their new head coach."
Trailing 7-0 in the first half, Round Lake pulled even when sophomore quarterback Isaiah Nixon hit wide receiver Kevonne Peterson from 18 yards out on a fade route into the corner of the end zone. Nixon's interception had set up the TD.
"Isaiah Nixon just played his butt off, offensively and defensively," Garza said.
Round Lake trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter but committed a costly penalty on its half of the field, and when Proviso East got the ball back, the Pirates scored an insurance touchdown.
After the game, Garza asked his players to raise their hand if they had just played their first varsity game. Of the 22 starters, 17 put a hand in the air.
Panthers inside linebacker Deonte Wells had 11 tackles, and running back Remorrian Gordon rushed for just over 100 yards on fewer than 10 carries.
"He got (the yards) in chunks," Garza said of Gordon. "He just couldn't break the big one."
Round Lake returns to action on Friday night, when it hosts Maine East. The Blue Demons opened with a 42-7 loss to Fenton.
"We definitely have a lot of work to do," Garza said. "But I'm excited."