Big 2nd half carries Conant past Schaumburg
Big 2nd half lifts Cougars past Saxons
Memo to Mid-Suburban West football teams: Conant is coming.
No, wait, the Cougars have arrived.
The Cougars continued their uptick in play Friday night in a convincing 28-10 win at Schaumburg against a Saxon team loaded with speed and talent but unable to cash in opportunities the way Conant did.
"I think our kids were playing real hard," said Conant coach Brian Stortz, whose club moved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the division.
But his team was trailing 10-7 at the half after Heze Trotter impressively returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and strong-footed Jonathan Mueller booted a 19-yard field goal (his 46-yard try bounced off the crossbar as the first half expired).
But Schaumburg's defense, paced by Francis Zepeda, Alvaro Esparza, Joel Routhowski and Vince D'orazio, kept the Cougars at bay in the first half, for the most part.
But the Saxons could only contain the Cougars for so long, as Malik Frederick snapped off two impressive scoring runs, including a 39-yarder in the third quarter. After finishing the first half with 10 yards rushing, he added 74 more in the second half on just 4 carries.
"I have to give credit to my offensive line," said the speedy sophomore, multisport star, dishing out praise to Ryan Giannini, Jemichael LaRue-Estrella, Nikola Ljevar and Tony Datoli.
And don't forget Kevin Polaski, whose direction of the offense was crisp, efficient and mistake free. The Cougars rushed for 231 yards on 36 carries, with Bradley Spates adding 82 tough yards between the tackles. Polaski and Frederick had 2 TDs apiece and thanked the defense that kept giving them field position, including the thwarting of a fake punt.
"They did a good job on both sides of the ball," Stortz added of his respective lines.
"Our defense played great," Frederick said.
Schaumburg had its chances but didn't take advantage. The Saxons' one steady drive on the arm and legs of quarterback Marcus Ross, was stopped inches short on a 4th-and-1 in the fourth quarter, deep in Cougar territory.
"I think the formula is having a team that plays great defense," Stortz said after Frederick, Zach Valas, Frank Daidone and Dante Trombetta did just that.
"I thought we did some good things in the first half," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling, But a second straight division loss left him saying what he knew all along.
"We knew every week would be a battle in the Mid-Suburban West," he said.
Conant, for its part, has to "clean up a few things," said both Frederick and Stortz, noting costly first-half penalties and adding the need to come out more focused and ready to play