Hinsdale Central's big plays take out Conant

 
By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/29/2018 1:09 PM
hello
  • Conant quarterback Kevin Polaski reacts to his team's loss to Hinsdale Central during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Conant quarterback Kevin Polaski reacts to his team's loss to Hinsdale Central during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Malik Frederick carries the ball during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Malik Frederick carries the ball during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Joseph Carrell, left, is able to stop Hinsdale Central's Matthew Bobak during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Conant's Joseph Carrell, left, is able to stop Hinsdale Central's Matthew Bobak during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Kevin Polaski punts during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Kevin Polaski punts during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Matthew Bobak carries the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter of Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Conant.

      Hinsdale Central's Matthew Bobak carries the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter of Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Conant. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Mason Reiger pauses near the sideline after a first-quarter touchdown by Hinsdale Central during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game.

      Conant's Mason Reiger pauses near the sideline after a first-quarter touchdown by Hinsdale Central during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central ball carrier Mark Skokna runs toward Conant's Zach Valas (26) during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Hinsdale Central ball carrier Mark Skokna runs toward Conant's Zach Valas (26) during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Connor Kroeger catches a pass as Conant's Malik Frederick, left, and Joseph Carrell defend during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Hinsdale Central's Connor Kroeger catches a pass as Conant's Malik Frederick, left, and Joseph Carrell defend during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Bradley Spates, left, is tackled by Hinsdale Central's Hayden Waters during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Conant's Bradley Spates, left, is tackled by Hinsdale Central's Hayden Waters during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Nick Beaulieu catches a pass as Conant's Ronald Williams defends during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Hinsdale Central's Nick Beaulieu catches a pass as Conant's Ronald Williams defends during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central quarterback Matthew Rush stretches for extra yardage against Conant during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Hinsdale Central quarterback Matthew Rush stretches for extra yardage against Conant during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Anthony Wachal catches a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Anthony Wachal catches a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The ball pops loose from the grasp of Conant's Bradley Spates as he is tackled by Hinsdale Central's Jack McCarty, but the fumble goes out of bounds and the Cougars retain possession during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      The ball pops loose from the grasp of Conant's Bradley Spates as he is tackled by Hinsdale Central's Jack McCarty, but the fumble goes out of bounds and the Cougars retain possession during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Anthony Wachal (27) gathers himself after being tackled just past the goal line while scoring a touchdown during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Anthony Wachal (27) gathers himself after being tackled just past the goal line while scoring a touchdown during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Jessica Smeltzer kicks off following a Cougar touchdown during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Jessica Smeltzer kicks off following a Cougar touchdown during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant head coach Bryan Stortz talks to his team, including quarterback Kevin Polaski, left, during a timeout in Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant head coach Bryan Stortz talks to his team, including quarterback Kevin Polaski, left, during a timeout in Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Nick Beaulieu (2) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Conant's Ronald Williams on a punt during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. The Cougars recovered the ball on the play.

      Hinsdale Central's Nick Beaulieu (2) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Conant's Ronald Williams on a punt during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. The Cougars recovered the ball on the play. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Joseph Perez catches a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Joseph Perez catches a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Charlie Lyne, left, pursues Conant runningback Bradley Spates during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Hinsdale Central's Charlie Lyne, left, pursues Conant runningback Bradley Spates during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant quarterback Kevin Polaski throws a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale.

      Conant quarterback Kevin Polaski throws a pass during Saturday's Class 8A playoff game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Anthony Wachal, right, hugs teammate Mason Reiger after scoring a touchdown to make the score 28-14 in favor of Hindale Central with 90 seconds left during Saturday's game in Hinsdale.

      Conant's Anthony Wachal, right, hugs teammate Mason Reiger after scoring a touchdown to make the score 28-14 in favor of Hindale Central with 90 seconds left during Saturday's game in Hinsdale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Bradley Spates recovers on the bench after being hit hard late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Hinsdale Central.

      Conant's Bradley Spates recovers on the bench after being hit hard late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Hinsdale Central. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Hinsdale Central's Brandon Passarelli (66) shakes hands with Conant players after his team's 28-14 victory Saturday.

      Hinsdale Central's Brandon Passarelli (66) shakes hands with Conant players after his team's 28-14 victory Saturday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Big plays ended Conant's big season.

The Cougars, who won their first Mid-Suburban League title since 2003, allowed Hinsdale Central to score 3 long touchdowns as the Red Devils eliminated Conant 28-14 Saturday in the opening round of the Class 8A playoffs in Hinsdale.

Hinsdale Central (8-2) will travel to Warren (9-1) for its second round game. That date and time will be announced by the IHSA on Monday.

It was a disappointing end to the season for Conant (6-4) and second-year head coach Bryan Stortz.

"It didn't end the way our kids wanted it to end," Stortz said. "I think you have to look at a couple plays here and a couple plays there. We needed to play error-free football and we made a few mistakes."

Hinsdale Central used its huge offensive line to move the ball down the field in the first quarter. On fourth-and-2, Matthew Bobak broke a run to the outside and scampered 29 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Red Devils appeared to be in control when they moved the ball late in the first half into the Conant red zone. Hinsdale had a third-and-goal from the 2, but the Conant defense, led by Anthony Wachal, Malik Frederick, Fillippo DeFrenza and Joey Carrell, stiffened and turned Hinsdale away.

That play sparked the Conant offense, which had been mostly dormant to that point. The Cougars went 98 yards in 9 plays with Wachal catching a 7-yard slant in pass from Kevin Polaski for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. The duo combined for 3 plays for 56 yards on the drive.

It appeared the game would stay that at the half. But Hinsdale Central had other ideas.

On fourth down at its own 49, Braden Contreras slipped behind the Conant defense and hauled in a 51-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Rush with 5 seconds left to make it 14-7.

Conant had a chance to get back into the game early in the third quarter when Ronald Williams made a huge hit on a Hinsdale punt returner, forcing a fumble that Ruben Valdez recovered.

However the Cougars threw an interception on the very next play. They compounded matters when Bobak burst over the left side and raced 50 yards for a touchdown to put the Red Devils up 21-7.

Bobak, who would finish with 193 yards on 23 carries, stretched the lead for Hinsdale to 28-14. The senior scored his third touchdown of the day on a 6-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Conant added a late touchdown when Wachal, who would have 6 receptions for 119 yards, hauled in a 36-yarder from Polaski.

"I would not want to be on any other team but this team," Wachal said. "We have been through a lot and we changed the culture for this program and I know the juniors here will keep it going."

Polaski, who was 11-of-20 for 168 yards said he and his teammates are proud of what they accomplished this year.

It was a step in the right direction, but not where we wanted to be," Polaski said. "So the guys next year, they will be ready. Our conference championship was great, but you are never satisfied."

Stortz said the senior leadership was key to his team's success this season.

"I am so proud of this group," Stortz said. "They had a ton of grit, a ton of toughness and a lot of heart out here."

Bears honor Bellizzi: The Chicago Bears announced Friday that Jake Bellizzi of Maine West was named the Chicago Bears High School All-Star.

Bellizzi and the Maine West Warriors posted a 32-0 win at Deerfield on Oct. 19 to register their first outright Central Suburban League championship.; 2018 also marked the team's first eight-win season since the program's inaugural year in 1959.

Bellizzi, a senior, has rushed for over 1,400 yards this season.

The Warriors, who are the 12th seed, defeated Benet Academy 20-18 Friday night in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.