Crystal Lake South cruises into 2nd round
Crystal Lake South wasted no time in a 49-0 Class 6A playoff victory over Kenwood at Gately Stadium on Saturday.
Seniors Jacob Kocemba and Billy Epperson intercepted passes to thwart the Broncos' first two drives and the offense scored touchdowns on its first six possessions as No. 15 Crystal Lake South (6-4) bolted to a 42-0 lead over No. 4 Kenwood (8-2) with 7:02 left in the second quarter.
"We always talk about coming out and starting fast and we haven't started fast in the majority of our games," second-year CL South coach Rob Fontana said. "They came out focused and ready to go. They came out the way we wanted them to."
The playoff victory is the first for the Gators since a second-round win over Carmel in 2011.
"A playoff game, there's a different vibe in the stadium," said 6-foot-6, 295-pound senior lineman Trevor Keegan, who played varsity football as a freshman the last time CL South made the playoffs in 2015. "The energy's up and we really bounced off that energy and just kept rolling."
The Gators will host No. 6 Notre Dame (8-2) next week. The Dons defeated No. 11 St. Ignatius 14-7.
"Home-field advantage goes a long way, especially with our fans," Keegan added.
CL South cruised despite being at less than full strength. Leading rusher Zach Borgert was sick all week, Fontana said. The 1,300-yard rusher dressed and did jump into the action on a first-quarter play, but the coaching staff decided to let others carry the load. Namely, Jacob Rana.
Normally a wide receiver, Rana slid into the role of featured ball carrier for the first time since eighth grade like a cowboy sliding into well-worn pair of jeans. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior carried 9 times for 122 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Rana's 71-yard touchdown run and Kocemba's extra point put the Gators ahead 42-0.
"It was great but it all started with the O-line up front," Rana said. "We got blocks downfield so it really opened up the run game tonight. We just came out fired up with a lot of energy and it showed."