Leongas leads Maine South past Evanston
It was a big night for the Maine South football team. Not only did the Hawks easily defeat the Wildkits of Evanston, but with the 41-0 victory, 19th-year head coach David Inserra picked up his 200th career win.
"A lot of players and a lot of coaches have contributed to this (over the years), and having the full support of the community and the administration, I couldn't be prouder," the coach said. "Coach Bliss has been our offensive coordinator for all 19 seasons, and we're known as the most high- powered offense in the state. It's an absolute group effort from a community that loves its football."
On the Hawks' opening drive, junior quarterback Luke Leongas led the offense on a 6-play, 66-yard scoring drive that lasted a little over 2 minutes and was polished off by a 37-yard touchdown pass that was hauled in by senior wide receiver Ryan Kilburg.
"We had to start off fast and that's what we did," said Leongas. "We had to play hard and we knew if we played hard, we would get the job done."
That drive was one of 3 touchdowns Leongas accounted for as the offense racked up 41 first-half points. The junior quarterback would then sit the entire second half, finishing the game 9 of 14 for 203 yards and 3 touchdowns.
"I wouldn't have done anything if it wasn't for our offensive line. My receivers are unreal and we have the best coaching staff in the state," Leongas said.
"The boys did a good job of protecting him (Luke) and not letting him take hits, said Inserra. "We got some weapons, but it starts up front and the line did a phenomenal job, both run-blocking and obviously protecting the quarterback."
Leongas wasn't the only player on offense to throw for a touchdown. The Hawks lined up in the Wildcat offense on several occasions, and on one play, in particular, senior jack-of-all-trades Dan Lazic took a direct snap and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Nathan Smith.
Not missing a beat, the Maine South defense was also phenomenal all evening. It forced 4 turnovers, and not only did it shut out the Wildkits, but it also stopped the Wildkits twice in the red zone, coming up with two huge fourth-down stops at the goal-line to maintain the shutout.
"Our defense was scrapping and fighting at the end of the half and at the end of the fourth quarter to keep the shutout," Inserra said. "I'm really happy for the guys there."
For the Wildkits (2-4, 2-1), one bright spot was their run game. Led by senior running back Quadra Nicholson and junior Jamarhe Bowen, the bruising duo accounted for 93 of the team's 128 total rushing yards.
Looking ahead for the Hawks (4-2, 2-0), they will take their four-game winning streak on the road, traveling to Northbrook next Friday for a matchup with Glenbrook North.
"It's all about ourselves," said Inserra. "I put a sign up this week that says, 'Don't lose to Maine South.' That means the only team that can beat us is us."