Antioch blanks Grayslake Central for fourth shutout
On a chilly, early autumn night, the Antioch Sequoits continued their strong defensive efforts in Friday's 34-0 Northern Lake County Conference win over visiting Grayslake Central.
It was Antioch's fourth shutout of the season.
"I don't think we've ever had four shutouts in a season before," Sequoits head coach Brian Glashagel said. "It was nice to see them continue to play great."
The Antioch offense wasted little time showing off its prowess as well, pouncing on a Rams pooched opening kickoff and getting the ball near midfield.
Brandon Reynolds then promptly scooted for 13 yards to the Grayslake 38, with Andrew Bowles then gaining 7 to move it to the 31.
After a short Reynolds gain, and an intentional grounding call on junior quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, Gavin Calabrese picked up 8 yards on the ground before Kaliakmanis called his own number and went 30 yards for the opening touchdown.
Aidan Weir booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 10:26 mark of the first quarter.
The Rams could do little with their first drive, giving the Sequoits the ball back in good field position.
And it took just one play for the next score as Bowles hauled in a Kaliakmanis pass in stride over the middle and sprinted the rest of the way to make it a 14-0 game with 9:01 still remaining in the first.
Grayslake Central's Maurice Edwards, who totaled 265 yards and 5 touchdowns in the Rams' win over Round Lake, started gaining some traction as he picked up 21 yards on two carries.
But three straight incomplete passes thwarted the drive.
"It seems like every week our defense faces some new challenge," Glashagel said. "Whether it's a different type of offense, or formation, or great individual players like (Edwards), and we always seem to be able to adapt."
Antioch's third possession ended with a lost fumble, and the defense held to get the ball back.
A sustained drive, bridging into the second quarter, got the ball to the Rams' 23, when Kaliakmanis seemed to score on a scamper, dragging two Grayslake defenders over the goal line with him.
But an illegal block called the play back, and even more ominous, Kaliakmanis came out of the game and was taken to the locker room.
"I just came down hard when they tackled me in the end zone," he would say later. "It was more just precautionary to keep me out. I feel fine and I'll be ready for next week."
"I was kind of oblivious," Glashagel said. "The trainer just kind of motioned to me that they were going to keep him out, so it was just the next man up."
That next man was junior Evan Day.
"He started game two for us," Glashagel said. "So we had all the confidence that he'd be fine."
It took a while for Day to regain the traction the offense had earlier, though a number of penalties had a lot to do with it too.
But after holding the lead at 14-0 through halftime, Day would hit Reynolds for a 12-yard gain, pick up 9 himself on a run, before Reynolds cut through the Rams defense for a 15-yard score with 4:38 left in the third.
Then, after a fumble recovery, Day hot Kobe Kriese for a 22-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead early in the fourth.
Benjamin Wilson then picked off a Darfyl Overstreet pass at the 25, returning it to the 2.
Reynolds then burst through the line for a 2-yard score that provided for the final margin.
"We made too many mistakes offensively with the penalties," Glashagel said. "When we play mistake-free, we're pretty good at moving the ball, but hey, a win's a win."
With the win, Antioch moves to 5-1, 4-0 in conference play, and will host Round Lake next Friday.
Grayslake Central (1-5, 0-3) will get a visit from Lakes next week.