Strong ground game powers Conant past Elk Grove
For the second week in a row, the Conant running game dominated its opponent.
Friday night, the Cougars total offense of 251 yards came on the ground in their 21-6 win over Elk Grove in a Mid-Suburban League crossover in Hoffman Estates.
The win kept the Mayors Trophy in the hands of the 2-0 Cougars.
"The running game worked for us last year and so far this year," Conant coach Bryan Stortz said. "If your defense can stay fresh and play hard, it keeps the other team's skill players off the field. Something like that goes a long way.
This week, sophomore quarterback Giuseppe Dugo led the Cougars with 145 yards on 20 carries. Dugo scored Conant's two first-half touchdowns on runs of 46 and one in building a 14-0 lead against the 0-2 Grenadiers.
"Our offensive line has really bonded," Dugo said. "I was more comfortable going into Week 2. With a player like Malik (Frederick) behind me and our line, it makes things easier."
Dugo pointed out that senior center Rory Conroy has made his job easier.
"Rory shows great leadership at center," he said. "He calls out the defensive formation and that really helps. We're very confident as a team, but we have a lot more to work on. We will get there."
Conroy took the move from guard to center of the summer as a challenge.
"I always had played guard on the line," he said. "I took it as a challenge to learn a new position. All of us on the offensive line have worked hard, and being 2-0 gives us a confidence boost."
Fellow linemen Kyle Prodzinski, Henry Chang, Ethan Richert and Walter Pedro kept the Grenadiers offense in check.
Conant took advantage of a short punt to get the ball at its 35-yard line late in the first quarter.
Dugo, on the fourth play of the drive, called his own number with a keeper. Racing to the right, Dugo scored on a 46-yard run with 55 seconds left in the quarter. After a Xavier Vazquez extra-point kick, Conant led 7-0.
With 4:25 left in the first half, Dugo finished off an 11-play, 56-yard drive with a 1-yard run behind Conroy for a 14-0 lead.
"Our offensive line showed some really good technical skills," Stortz said. "They executed very well."
The Cougars scored their final touchdown on Frederick's 19-yard run up the middle that capped a 66-yard, 10-play drive and gave them a 21-0 lead. Frederick added some punch with 91 yards on 22 carries.
Elk Grove came back to score with 3:33 left in the game on Ian Ridge's 3-yard run to finish a 70-yard drive to make the score 21-6.
Grenadier Charlie Janczak rushed 22 times for 56 yards. Ridge carried 12 times for 74 yards.
Elk Grove had two chances to score in the first and second quarters, but penalties stopped drives at the Conant 30 and 39.
Janczak finished 10 of 24 passing for 101 of Elk Grove's 233 offensive yards.
"We need to clean up our penalties, but we are taking steps in the right direction," Elk Grove coach Miles Osei said. "Our defense played well against a very disciplined Conant team. I was proud of the way our team played tonight."
"Miles has done an outstanding job in turning the program around," Stortz noted. "He has them plugging away and playing hard."