Maine West rolls past Vernon Hills
One of the finest seasons in Maine West football history kept moving forward on Friday night in Des Plaines where the Warriors rolled to a 54-0 triumph over visiting Vernon Hills.
West scored 6 touchdowns in the first half to build a 41-0 lead en route to raising its record to 3-0 in the Central Suburban North and 6-1 overall.
"It's amazing" said Warriors senior running back Jake Bellizzi who had an amazing first half with 4 touchdown runs (1, 10, 4 and 35 yards). "I just want to make this the best team in Maine West history."
He sure helped West make it a great start to the night. After a three-and-out stop by the Warriors' defense, West needed just five plays on its first possession to cover 74 yards. Quarterback Danny Kentgen handed off all five times to Bellizzi, who ripped off runs of 29, 8, 17, 19 and 1 yard for the 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
"It was big start to the game," Bellizzi said. "We just like to pound the ball and hopefully have them stack the box so we can air it out, too. Our offensive line (Mike Bartusiak, Amir Cavic, Michael Wilson, Lindon Ujkashi and Costa Paschos) was great. So it was a great start to our plan."
"Jake Bellizzi was unbelievable," said Warriors coach Jason Kradman. "And he pushed through some issues and cramping but he really did a fantastic job.
"Our skilled guys made the plays when we needed them and Danny Kentgen was really a great leader on the field. He knows how to orchestrate things, and put everyone in position to be successful."
Kentgen threw a 16-yard TD strike to Ely Grimmer, who also returned the opening kickoff of the second half for an 80-yard TD and 48-0 lead.
The Warriors' other TDs were a 9-yard run by Krystian Garbicz (who booted 6 extra points) and a 2-yard run by Jappy Aranas which capped an 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter,
"I was proud of our offense and our offensive line coach Dan Wilson," Kradman said. "Our offensive line played really well. Our guys never quit and fought and finished a lot of huge drives for us, especially in the first half."
Kradman was equally proud of the defense which pitched a shutout against a Vernon Hills team that put the ball in the air 37 times.
"Our secondary played well," Kradman said. "Kudos go to our defensive coordinator Steven Piha, our defensive backs coach Mike O'Brill and our d-line coach Matt Boswell who did a great job getting pressure on them. Our linebackers coach Tony Manicke had those guys ready to play, covering down and doing what they needed to do."
Pablo Montes, Grimmer, Eduardo Cisneros and Zack Norman had interceptions for West while teammates Josh Schacke and Isaiah-Siem Davis recovered fumbles.
The Cougars (2-5, 0-3) had two fumble recoveries from Jake Morris and one by Justin Morris.
"We had three turnovers on defense and I think that was great," said Vernon Hills coach Jason Czarnecki. "Maine West is a great team and we knew we had to step up our game across the board in all three phases and we didn't."
"Our sophomore (quarterback Ben Halley who played the second half) got in some experience so that was a positive, too."