Guerin's big plays 'break' Westmont

  • Westmont's James Lyzniak veers off teammate Sam Abbatacola (30) for some of his 75 yards in the Sentinels' 32-21 loss to Guerin Saturday in River Grove.

    Westmont's James Lyzniak veers off teammate Sam Abbatacola (30) for some of his 75 yards in the Sentinels' 32-21 loss to Guerin Saturday in River Grove. Photo courtesy of Danny Carlino, Guerin Prep

 
 
Updated 10/5/2019 10:18 PM

No way does Westmont junior Ben Juska look like a first-year football player.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior scored 3 touchdowns on Saturday, and at linebacker on defense he intercepted a pass and darted through the line to bring backs down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Whenever Juska and his teammates did something positive, though, Guerin had an answer. In River Grove the host Crusaders' 32-21 Metro Suburban Red victory effectively knocked the Sentinels from playoff consideration.

"We just let the big plays break us and tear us apart," Juska said. "We just need to limit those mistakes. We're out of the playoffs now, but all we can really do is break other teams' dreams. That's what we have to do."

When Westmont (1-5, 0-3) dreams tonight, they'll be nightmares. Visions of Guerin's Remick Ware running for 158 yards and touchdowns of 30 and 24 yards. Of quarterback Bryce Thurman and another back, Abel De Jesus, breaking tackles to help Guerin (2-4, 1-3) run for 403 yards.

"When we could get that outside seal on the edge, with our speed it's hard to catch us," said Guerin coach Charlie Miserendino.

Westmont's Mason Pardy, a versatile senior receiver and defensive back, recruited a bunch of classmates to play this season, like James Lyzniak, who ran for 75 yards, and quarterback Zack Fischer, who passed for touchdowns of 29 and 37 yards to Juska.

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That 37-yarder had Westmont within 25-21 with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter. Guerin immediately responded with Ware's 50-yard kickoff return and De Jesus' 43-yard touchdown run. Fischer then led Westmont 65 yards downfield, but the Sentinels fumbled into the end zone and Thurman, playing safety, recovered for a touchback.

"I think we're there, it's just like little mistakes that we're making that we can improve on. We just have a few missed assignments and penalties that have been costing us," Pardy said.

The teams combined for 40 second-half points, but Westmont coach Dan Woulfe believed Guerin's touchdown right before halftime to get within 7-6 was a real downer, even if lineman Gabe Lischalk's big paw deflected Guerin's extra-point kick.

Westmont had scrapped 22 minutes for its first score. The Crusaders answered 63 seconds later.

Mentally, for a team fielding six first- or second-year football players on both sides of the ball, "that's a huge blow," Woulfe said.

"You go in with a 7-nothing lead instead of 7-6, that might be a different second half, a different attitude," he said.

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