South Elgin wins battle of unbeatens at Glenbard East
Junior Davion Cherwin makes big contributions for the South Elgin football team at running back and defensive back.
"I like it both," Cherwin said. "I like covering, I like hitting and I also like running the ball. Whatever coach needs me to do, I'll do it."
The defensive side of Cherwin may have been a little disappointed when the Storm gave up its first points of the season Saturday at Glenbard East.
But by the Rams' touchdown late in the first half, Cherwin had 2 of the Storm's 4 rushing TDs and it was on its way to a 35-7 showdown victory between the undefeated Upstate Eight Conference leaders in Lombard.
The Storm (5-0, 5-0) have outscored opponents 267-7 to remain among the state's leaders in most points scored and fewest allowed.
Cherwin rushed for 63- and 34-yard TDs and 123 yards. sophomore quarterback Ben Karpowicz rushed for 64 yards and two 2-yard TDs. Corve King rushed for 120 yards and a 34-yard TD carry in the third quarter. The Storm gained 391 of its 420 yards on the ground.
The Rams (4-1, 4-1) won last year's meeting by the same 35-7 margin en route to their undefeated UEC title.
"This is huge because we're both 4-0. It's just a huge revenge week because they really (defeated us) last year," Cherwin said. "We've been waiting for this moment for a year now. We just went out and got after it."
Despite many key graduations, Glenbard East also had a streak of 15 straight regular-season victories since Week 8 in 2017.
"They're by far the best team that we've faced all year. They were impressive physically considering how young they are," South Elgin coach Dragan Teonic said.
"I thought we rallied to the ball well. I thought our guys responded well to getting scored upon. That was a really great job by our defense. They spread you out. We knew about (receiver Deon Cook), some really good guys. It's hard to cover guys like that in space the entire game."
Afterward the Rams emphasized regrouping toward achieving back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time.
"That's all you can do at this point. You move on. You flush, you get rid of it," Glenbard East coach John Walters said.
"We got beat 35-7. They're a very good football team. They won the line of scrimmage for four quarters and that was the difference."
Like its previous games, South Elgin scored on its opening possession, this time a 71-yard drive on 9 rushes. Cherwin's TD runs and Karpowicz's second TD opened a 28-0 lead 3:28 before halftime.
Thanks to great blocking by center Sam Minnifield, guards Jess Mize and Michael Roath and tackles Kalvin Harvey and Vincent Tringali -- four of them juniors -- Cherwin's clear TD runs looked more reminiscent of his all-state track sprinting with the Storm's 400-meter relay.
"I couldn't have done that (123 yards) without my lineman and all of my teammates blocking for me," Cherwin said. "Track running and football running are two really different things. I like doing both. I think track really helps me speed-wise for football and it just really showed today."
Cook also made a great athletic play for the Rams' TD, a 41-yard pass play with sophomore quarterback Connor Cerkas 1:23 before the half.
Cook leaped with arms extended to catch the ball over South Elgin's Shiking Marshall at the 8. Safety Marquis Gillespie II caught Cook by his jersey near the 2, but Cook spun and eventually scored.
"After I caught it I started stumbling. And then the safety's right there. But I found a way to get in that end zone," Cook said.
"I knew they were going to play hard on us because they were trying not to let up a score. I knew I was just going to have to come down with it."
Other Glenbard East drives reached the South Elgin 15, 23, 14 and 26 but came up empty.
With the Rams trailing 7-0, a first-quarter 32-yard field-goal attempt clipped the bottom of the crossbar after Cherwin and Gillespie II broke up passes to the end zone.
The Storm thwarted the respective second-half threats with Dylan Bernal's tackle-for-loss on fourth-and-2 at the 23, Justin Giannini's fumble recovery at the 17 and on downs after Bernal's 11-yard sack back to the 26.
"On defense we work hard every day. We all believe in each other and I believe that we can keep on getting better," South Elgin senior linebacker Samuel Robles said. "We let up one touchdown today. It kind of upset us a little bit but we got back at it and didn't allow another one. We like to say that we are the best D in Illinois, not allowing so many points."