Rolling Meadows routs Wheeling

 
By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/6/2018 12:23 AM
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  • Rolling Meadows' Kacper Lesniak catches a long pass that he runs to the 1-yard line against Wheeling's Paul Ufir Friday at Wheeling.

      Rolling Meadows' Kacper Lesniak catches a long pass that he runs to the 1-yard line against Wheeling's Paul Ufir Friday at Wheeling. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows' Joe Boyer grabs Wheeling running back Johnny Panganiban Friday at Wheeling.

      Rolling Meadows' Joe Boyer grabs Wheeling running back Johnny Panganiban Friday at Wheeling. John Starks | Staff Photographer

It looks like only Mother Nature can slow down the Rolling Meadows express.

The Mustangs were impressive on both sides of the ball Friday night at Wheeling, building up a 42-0 halftime lead just before the rain and lightning showed up.

After a lengthy delay, the game was called after two quarters and will not be continued by "mutual agreement", according to Meadows coach Matt Mishler, due to the score and the threat of inclement weather again Saturday.

The win saw the visiting Mustangs improve to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Mid-Suburban East.

"I'm so proud of these guys," said Mishler. "They just come out every Friday night and get the job done."

As impressive as Meadows was on offense -- the Mustangs finished with 424 total yards from scrimmage and running back Tim Szylak scored 3 touchdowns -- they might have been even better on defense.

The Meadows "D", led by some stellar play by defensive backs Nife Oseni and Jordan Wiles, limited Wheeling to one first down and 34 yards on offense.

The Mustangs' secondary -- bolstered by a strong pass rush led by lineman Nate Pedraza -- saw the Wildcats complete only 2 of 15 pass attempts.

The effort by the defense was all the more striking considering the Wheeling offense came into the contest averaging 26 points a game.

"A great game," said Jace O'Hara of Meadows, who had an interception from his linebacker position. "Our line really stepped up tonight."

Meadows opened the scoring on a 64-yard first quarter TD run from Szylak, then tallied twice more in the stanza.

First quarterback Arek Kleniuk rushed in from 1 yard out, then Kleniuk tossed a 22-yard scoring pass to Justin Kretz.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as Szylak had a 53-yard touchdown run, then scored again from 64 yards away, breaking at least 5 tackles along the way.

Meadows wide receiver Kacper Lesniak got the final score, a 13-yard touchdown reception in the back of the end zone.

For Wheeling (3-4, 1-2), the highlight was a touchdown-saving interception by JP Smith.

In the second period the linebacker stepped in front of a Kleniuk pass into the end zone for the pick, and ran the ball back all the way to the Meadows 43-yard line.

The Wildcats were able to advance to the Meadows 24 on some tough running from Jonathon Panganiban before turning the ball over on downs.

Szylak finished with 198 yards rushing and 3 TDs on only 8 carries, but after the game was more impressed with his teammates on defense especially lineman Joe Boyer.

"Our nose guard was sick with the flu and Joe just stepped up, seized the opportunity and took it to the house," said Szylak. "He did an outstanding job and showed that he could play on both sides of the ball."

Kleniuk had 153 yards though the air before the rains came, while Lesniak caught 3 passes for 78 yards.

"It was a great feeling tonight to be able to run the ball with my team," said Szylak. "Just thankful to have the opportunity."

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