South Elgin strikes fast to win 1st home night game
It didn't take long for senior Shiking Marshall and the South Elgin football team to send an already energized crowd into a frenzy in a 47-0 home win over Elgin Friday.
Playing under Friday night lights on campus for the first time in the school's 15-year history, Marshall lined up deep to receive the kick, flanked by fellow speedsters Marcus Gillespie and Davion Cherwin.
The ball landed in Marshall's hands and he took it 82 yards to the house by following his middle wedge blockers.
"We knew that we're explosive up the middle," Marshall said. "All three dudes in the back are very explosive so whoever gets the ball, we hit the middle and it's on."
Marshall was on in all three phases of the game.
Playing cornerback, he foiled two Elgin drives with interceptions at the goal line to help the Storm (3-0, 3-0) win the turnover battle 3-1.
Playing slot back, he took a fourth-quarter reverse handoff from sophomore quarterback Ben Karpowicz and raced 77 yards to make it a 39-0 game. Drew Bucaro's extra point initiated a running clock with 9:12 remaining.
"He's a special player," South Elgin coach Dragan Teonic said of Marshall. "The thing that's made Shiking different this year than other years is, one, he did lift weights in the off-season and did a great job with that, much better than in years past. His summer was good for us, and his practice habits have been very, very good. I think when you put those three things together you end up with a real good football player."
Elgin (0-3, 0-3) played much better than the final score makes it appear. The Maroons actually outgained the Storm in the first half 237 total yards to 218, however, they could not conclude drives with points.
Elgin's first drive ended on downs at the South Elgin 13-yard line.
Their second drive was quashed by Marshall's interception at the goal line.
Their third drive reached the 2-yard line, courtesy of a 32-yard completion from 6-foot-4 junior quarterback Jeffrey Lomax to senior Xavier Bonds. However, a false start penalty -- one of 16 flags against the Maroons -- pushed them back. A fumbled shotgun snap and two negative rushing plays moved them further back before a bad snap led to a failed field goal attempt.
"We just couldn't finish," Elgin coach Anthony Mason said. "We couldn't finish, and our motto this year is 'Finish Now. No other way.' That's what we've been focusing on. That's what we're going to continue to focus on and we'll see if we can shift this thing around. It's getting closer but not close enough."
South Elgin finished four of five first-half drives with touchdowns to take a 27-0 lead. Calin Gurau hauled in a 34-yard pass from Karpowicz and Bucaro's extra point made it 14-0.
Two-way player Vince Clinite capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 7-yard run to extend the lead to 20-0 with 2:32 left in the second quarter.
After the South Elgin defense forced a punt, Karpowicz connected with senior Corve King on a crossing pattern that King turned into a 53-yard gain to the Elgin 1-yard line. Karpowicz ran the ball in on the next play to give the Storm a 27-0 halftime cushion.
"Huge deal going into halftime up four (touchdowns) instead of three," Teonic said. "I thought that was the difference."
Cherwin returned a third-quarter punt 32 yards for a 33-0 lead.
Bonds led Elgin with 3 catches for 81 yards. Lomax threw for 46 yards and rushed for 33 on 10 carries. Junior quarterback Giovoni Griffin completed 14 of 20 attempts for 192 yards. However, it wasn't enough to breach the end zone against the Storm.
"You've got to give it to them -- South Elgin is a physical team," Bonds said. "They go hard every play. My team, we just have to step it up. Day by day we're going to keep fighting. This loss hurt but we're going to keep fighting."