Maine West topples rival Maine East
Maine West wasted no time responding to adversity Friday night at Maine East.
Just 12 seconds into the game, the Warriors stunningly found themselves down 7-0 after Blue Demons senior Michael Bobowik ran the opening kickoff back 83 yards for score.
"It was tough, we weren't really expecting that," said Maine West senior Krystian Garbicz. "You've just got to overcome that."
The Warriors did that, coming back to tally 49 unanswered points -- 42 of those in the first half -- en route to a 49-14 Central Suburban North win.
Maine West improved to 5-1 on the year (2-0 in the North) to become playoff eligible.
"That feels good," said Garbicz. "To get back to the playoffs -- we were there last year, we learned from our mistakes and now we're ready to make something happen."
The Warriors' defense was dominant, especially in the first two quarters.
West held East to 18 yards of total offense in the first half, with 23 of the Blue Demons' 31 offensive snaps going for zero or negative yardage.
Dennis Dizdarevic recorded a sack for West, so did teammate Isaiah Siem-Davis, while defensive back David Jackson got an interception.
"Our defense did well," said West junior Hilton Steele. "In the end we came out with a nice lead, and a great victory."
It only took 4 plays for West to tie the game as running back Jake Bellzzi ran in from 35 yards away to make it 7-7.
The Warriors scored again in the first quarter to take the lead and it was Bellzzi again, this time 53 yards up the middle for another touchdown.
West scored 4 more times in quarter number two.
First Ely Grimmer caught a 22-yard scoring pass from QB Danny Kentgen, then Bellzzi found pay dirt again on a 17-yard run.
Grimmer followed that up with another TD catch from 38 yards, and Damon Street closed out the scoring before intermission with a 15-yard touchdown catch.
Second half scores by Maine West (Alex Peguero, a 62-yard run), and Maine East (a 1-yard plunge by QB Raymond Noltz) accounted for the final total.
"Defensively tonight, we were able to rally to the ball," said West coach Jason Kradman. "We dropped some easy interceptions that we probably should have had, but our defensive line got some good pressure."
"Our starting defense didn't give up any points and they've been like that all year. Our starting D does a great job -- they're flying around -- and our linebacking corps is kind of the heart and soul of our team. Our defensive front and our secondary feed off the guys at linebacker."
Offensively, Bellzzi finished with 181 yards rushing on just 12 carries.
"We played well," said Kradman. "I think there's some things that we can do better, but we did good job putting pressure on the quarterback. There's a few things offensively we've got to clean up with our skill guys but otherwise we did well."