Libertyville downs Mundelein to keep playoff hopes alive

 
By John Phelps
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/11/2019 11:21 PM

The intensity level automatically turns up a notch when you're fighting for your playoff lives.

And both Mundelein and Libertyville needed to win their last three games to become playoff eligible with 5 victories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

It was the Wildcats who rose to the challenge, coming away with a 29-7 North Suburban Conference win at home on a cold Friday evening.

Libertyville's playoff hopes are still alive after it improved to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in the league.

Mundelein, meanwhile, was eliminated from playoff contention, dropping to 2-5 overall and 1-4 in league play. It also marked the 15th time in 16 years Libertyville has prevailed in the series.

"It took us a while to get going," said Libertyville coach Mike Jones. "We didn't come out with that fire."

This one indeed took a while to get going as both teams traded first downs, each punted five times in the first half.

Wildcats quarterback Blake Ellingson got things going with a 72-yard scoring pass to senior wideout Sam Paden down the left sideline just 12 seconds into the second quarter, giving Libertyville an 8-0 lead.

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"Big plays helped us get going, and Blake had some really nice throws tonight," Jones added.

Then, with 1:47 left in the half, Ellingson hit senior wideout Sean Wittenbrink and the Cats were ahead 14-0 at intermission.

Mundelein's deepest penetration in the first half was down to the Libertyville 13- yard line, but a blocked 28-yard field goal by junior defensive lineman Chase Baczek negated any points.

Senior running back Sean Luce then got into the action with a 3-yard plunge with 8:11 left in the third that put Libertyville up 20-0.

Luce added another score in the fourth, this time from 10 yards out to give the Wildcats a 26-0 lead with 6:34 left in the game.

Mundelein spoiled the shutout when halfback Joey Foreman cruised in from 10 yards out to make it 26-7 with 4:45 left. The touchdown was set up by a 33-yard pass play from Isaac Wellman to Foreman.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A 26-yard Wittenbrink field goal in the closing minutes provided the final margin of victory.

Ellingson finished 15-for- 26 for 288 yards and the two scores.

Defensive back Will Murphy picked off a Wellman pass, while Trace Batesky had a first-quarter batted pass.

Paden was Ellingson's favorite target with 100 yards on 5 grabs.

Defensive back Luke Pietrusiewicz picked off a pass for the Mustangs.

"We can't look past anyone, and it's one game at a time," said Jones, whose team travels to Lake Forest next Friday and ends the regular season with a home date against Zion-Benton.

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