Antioch rolls over Wauconda
Antioch's football team has been at its best the last couple of years, and now the Sequoits might have the best offense they have fielded in years.
Friday night provided the latest example.
Playing a Wauconda team coming off back-to-back wins, Antioch took control early on its home field and never let up in capturing a 49-13 victory in Northern Lake County Conference action to remain undefeated. It was the most points scored this season by the Sequoits, who came in averaging 29 through three weeks.
"I think we could put up 60 points on the board, easily," senior wide receiver Zach Grindley said.
A healthy Grindley could help make that happen if the Sequoits find themselves in another up-tempo game similar to Friday night's. Grindley suffered a deep thigh bruise against Lake Forest on Opening Night -- "NFL-flipped," Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel said -- and was limited the last two weeks.
"He's been injured, and I really just wanted to start connecting with him," Antioch quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis said.
Kaliakmanis and Grindley hooked up three times for touchdowns, as each player put up big numbers. Kaliakmanis completed 12 of 17 passes for 290 yards and 4 touchdown passes (no interceptions). Grindley had the 3 TD receptions (4 total catches) and 207 receiving yards.
Antioch running back Nick Wiley added 142 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Brandon Reynolds (51 yards) and Ben Nauman (12 yards) added TD runs, and TreShawn Watson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kaliakmanis.
"It was a lot better," Grindley said of the Sequoits' offensive performance compared to the first three games. "Our offense finally got our full gears kicking in."
Antioch (4-0, 2-0) ran its regular-season winning streak to 23 games and is 16-0 in the NLCC since the conference began competition in 2016. The Sequoits' last regular-season loss was to Wauconda, 17-10, in Week 8 of the 2015 campaign.
Wauconda (2-2, 1-1) opened the game with a 10-play drive from its own 27 to the Antioch 12, but Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Nick Bulgarelli (20-of-39 passing, 257 yards, 1 TD, 3 interceptions) couldn't corral a snap from shotgun, and Kevin Tamayo recovered for Antioch.
Seven plays later, Kaliakmanis and his brother Dino connected on a 48-yard touchdown pass, only to see a holding penalty negate it. No worries for Antioch's sophomore QB, as he hit Grindley from 62 yards out, all while drawing a roughing-the-passer penalty. Dino Kaliakmanis' downfield block helped spring Grindley.
Antioch needed only one play to score again on its next series, as Athan Kaliakmanis and Grindley hooked up again, this time from 67 yards.
"I rolled out and he raised his hands down the middle of the field," Athan Kaliakmanis said. "I threw it right to him and he scored. That was just awesome."
"The 7s (post routes) were wide open, and Athan's vision downfield is great," Grindley said. "He just finds me."
An errant snap from center resulted in Bulgarelli being tackled in the end zone for a safety and 16-0 Antioch lead late in the opening quarter.
Touchdown runs by Reynolds and Nauman extended the lead to 30-0, before Wauconda got a 4-yard TD run from Bulgarelli to go into halftime down 30-7. Antioch added three more touchdowns in the second half, with Kaliakmanis' 10-yard strike to Grindley capping the scoring.
Bulgarelli threw a 69-yard TD pass to Nick Rinchiuso. Antioch got interceptions from Kevin Tebbe, Joseph Maggio and Watson. The offensive line of Shawn Podgorski, Elkanah Gahima, Max Ness, Dylan Czerlanis and Patrick Beake kept its young QB upright.
"We came out here and made a statement," Athan Kaliakmanis said. "Without my offensive line, and without the defense doing what they do, we wouldn't be on the field as much. Overall, our team did great tonight."