Conant ground game chews up New Trier
Passing. Who needs it?
The Conant football team is proving that a passing game doesn't have to be a big part of an offense. Or any part of an offense at all, for that matter.
Even in 2019.
The Cougars did their best impression of a 1960s Woody Hayes Ohio State football team and ran, ran, ran the ball down the throat of the New Trier defense on Friday night.
Conant attempted only one pass, which was intercepted. But even with no passing yards, the Cougars still managed to get into the end zone four times en route to a dominating 31-6 win over host New Trier on its West Campus in Northfield.
A de-emphasis of the passing game has been typical this season for Conant, which moves to 4-0 on the season.
"I mean, it's more of, 'Why pass the ball when our running game is going just fine the whole time,'" said junior running back Malik Frederick, who rushed for 3 touchdowns on his way to 161 yards on 30 carries. "We were putting together 8-minute drives. There was really no need to pass the ball.
"And for us to do the same thing again and again, it kind of just takes (the opponents') will to play. If you know what the other team is going to do and you still can't stop it, at some point, you probably just give up."
The Cougars' relentless rushing game grinded away at the clock, chewing up 31 of the 48 minutes of game play.
Conant was up 10-0 at halftime on an 11-yard touchdown run by Frederick and a 21-yard field goal by Gracie Rodriguez.
Two Frederick touchdowns (5 and 7 yards) in the latter part of the third quarter put the game away for the Cougars.
"I really think it was the offensive line, like usual, just working hard and doing their part of their job every time, which helps me do what I do," Frederick said of offensive linemen Walter Pedro, Ethan Richert, Kyle Prodzinski, Derek Lewandowski, Henry Chang, Rory Conroy and tight end Tony Datoli. "They do a lot of work for our team, and I just love them so much. They put their hearts out there every game and leave everything on every play."
Frederick was working hard, too, accounting for 51 percent of Conant's plays and 45 percent of its yards.
"It means a lot that my team and my coaches trust me enough to give me the ball that much and to leave so many plays in my hands," Frederick said. "This year, I've really worked on lowering my pads and driving the pile more. Just picking up those extra yards. I wasn't really able to do that as much last year."
Conant put up an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Carrell (11 carries, 96 yards) ran in a touchdown from 29 yards out. That came a few minutes after New Trier got its only score, a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nevan Cremascoli to Sean McNeely.
Overall, the Trevians (1-3) were limited to just 152 yards of offense.
"It's a good group," Conant coach Bryan Stortz said of his defense. "But the good thing about them is that they're a bunch of guys that really aren't ever satisfied. They're not happy right now that we let up 6 (points) at the end. That's something that they're going to look at in terms of how they can get better."