Conant dumps Hoffman to move to 5-0
Conant put the damper on Hoffman Estates' Homecoming Friday night by dispatching the Hawks 31-6 in the Mid-Suburban West opener for both teams. In doing so the Cougars took home the Mayor's Cup and avenged last season's 29-27 loss to the Hawks.
With the win the Cougars are now 5-0 with a trip to Barrington looming next weekend.
The Hawks dropped to 3-2 and 0-1 in conference play.
Once again it was junior running back Malik Frederick to the rescue for Conant. Frederick rushed 29 times for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win. Frederick has accumulated 859 yards in five games for an average of 171 yards per game.
"Our offensive line was just as good as always," said Frederick. "I love those guys. They put their hearts on the field. Every day in practice we go over and over plays to get everything right. They pay attention to detail which makes my job easier."
Linemen Ethan Richert, Kyle Prodzinski, Walter Pedro, Rory Conroy, and Henry Chang helped the Cougars to pound the Hawks' defense for 215 yards out of Conant's 248.
Conant's defense limited Hoffman's rushing attack to 60 yards, all by junior Mekhi Williams. The Hawks finished with 65 total yards.
"Hats off to Conant," said Hawks coach Tim Heyse. "The tougher team won tonight. They played well and we came out sluggish. We were on their 16 on third and four and we have a procedure penalty. That hurt. They just took it to us."
Conant took the opening kickoff and drove 51 yards in 10 plays to score on Frederick's 6-ard run midway through the first quarter.
An interception by Conant's Marktwain Green stopped a potential Hawks drive at the Cougar 33.
The Cougars went up 14-0 on Frederick's 17-yard run with 3:53 left in the first half to cap a 3-play, 19-yard drive.
Jeremy Betancourt set up the touchdown with a bizarre interception at the Hawks' 19-yard line.
" I was playing in the box," said Betancourt. "I saw that the play was a pass so I kept dropping back. I heard a noise and then the ball bounced into my hands. For a moment I didn't know what happened. It was just a timing thing of being in the right place at the right time."
A pass to Hawk receiver Jonah Walton hit off his chest went into the air and in to Betancourt's hands.
"When we got that turnover," said Conant coach Bryan Stortz, "we had the ball in good field position. Momentum goes a long way in high school football."
Conant went up 21-0 with 32 seconds left before the halftime break.
Quarterback Giuseppe Dugo found Green open in the right corner of the end zone and lobbed a 17-yard scoring pass. Dugo was 2-for-2 passing for 33 yards.
Ball possession was the key word for Conant in the second half. The Hawks had the ball for just five plays in the third quarter, all after receiving the kickoff.
Frederick would carry the ball on 15 consecutive plays in eating up 10:17 of the third quarter.
Conant kicker, sophomore Gracie Rodriguez, booted a 26-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Cougars would then chew up 7 minutes of clock with Dugo scoring from the 11 with 3:44 left in the game. Dugo rushed for 59 yards on 11 carries.
"Our offense is designed around different things, but you have to have a player (like Frederick) to be able to carry the load," said Stortz. "He wouldn't have had the great game without that offensive line."
Hoffman Estates' only score came moments after Dugo's touchdown run. Jashawn Johnson raced 93 yards on the ensuing kickoff for the Hawks' only score.