Rolling Meadows routs Niles North
If the Rolling Meadows football team had a weakness coming in to this season, according to coach Matt Mishler, it was the offensive line.
"We had our two guards back but we had to find three other linemen," said Mishler. "What they have done has been a game by game improvement. The improvement has been incremental."
The trend continued as the Mustangs picked up their first shutout of the season in defeating visiting Niles North of the Central Suburban South 55-0 at Robert Hoese field Friday night.
"When you have the backs that we have it makes it easy for us," said senior center Josh DeLuca. "You give them a hole and they're going to get the yards."
Behind the offensive line of DeLuca, tackles Tommy Schell and Andrew Baroota, guards John Carlstrom and Joe Boyer, the 4-0 Mustangs accounted for 393 yards of offense of which 306 came on he ground.
Senior running back Tim Szylak rushed 11 times for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. His 81-yard run with 2:44 left in the first half was a highlight reel.
"I got hit at the line and I stumbled," said Szylak. "I kept my chest up just like the coaches tell me in practice. I just kept going and moving my feet.
"I give a lot of credit to our offensive line. They have really stepped it up. Some people thought they wouldn't be that good, but I felt they would be aggressive."
"Much of the credit for our offensive line goes to coach (Jim) Rucks. He really works with us and teaches us on how to make adjustments," said DeLuca. "As a line we talk together after practices how to do better. There's a lot of preparation that has gone to make us function as a unit."
Szylak had first half touchdown runs of 61 and 15 yards. Jace O'Hara scored from the 1 and Charles Svoboda from the 7 in the first half to build a 48-0 lead. Chris Diviot added a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs' defense did their part in baffling Niles North, now 1-3.
Defensive back Nife Oseni deflected punter Christopher Harris' punt and T.J. Williams picked up the ball and raced 30 yards for Rolling Meadows' first score for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
"Coach told us before the game that the D-backs could get to the punter and block one," said Oseni. "I was just glad I was the one who got it. It was a great feeling for our defense to get the shutout."
Sean Nolan returned a fumble 30 yards with 5:11 left in the first quarter for a 21-0 lead.
The Mustangs intercepted 3 passes against the Vikings.
Niles North had minus 16 yards rushing in 19 attempts but did pick up 149 yards through the air.
The Vikings moved the ball to the Mustangs' 9 in the second quarter before Kevin Faghir intercepted quarterback Miguel Picazio-Marins' pass at the 10 yard line.
"This team is just champing at the bit to get going in conference," said Mishler. "We know that starting next week when conference play opens everybody is going to be ready and try to beat you. Records go out the window and every week is going to be a dogfight."