Kentgen throws for 6 touchdowns in Maine West victory
For the first time in program history, Maine West won the CSL North outright in back-to-back seasons. The Warriors' 49-13 win over Highland Park Friday night gave them their third conference title in a row.
In the process, Highland Park had its postseason hopes ended.
"We are excited," said Warriors head coach Jason Kradman. "One of our main goals this year was to win the conference championship like it has been the last couple of years, and our guys came out and played well."
Senior quarterback Danny Kentgen had another sensational performance, a common trend for him this season. He finished 13 of 21 and tossed 6 touchdowns, four in the second quarter alone, while going over the 2,000 passing-yard mark on the year. Kentgen set a school single-season mark for passing yardage.
"It felt good," said Kentgen, "but it's an easy job for me when I have my offensive line. They protect me and all my receivers. We owe it all to them." Jaden Dolphin, Kentgen's go-to man all year, caught 4 touchdown passes for 136 yards (all of his catches were TDs). He now has 13 touchdown receptions on the season, which is a Maine West single-season receiving record.
"Danny and I have been working in practice a lot, especially this year," said Dolphin. "We have a really good connection and some chemistry going, and it was fun to come out here and work on it some more."
Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, but the Warriors received an unexpected boost from one of their lineman, junior Louis Corey. With 45 seconds remaining in the first quarter, junior defensive back Kamrin Hutt forced a Highland Park fumble. The ball was then scooped up by Corey and returned 50 yards for a touchdown, a play that changed the momentum of the game.
"I felt like it was a momentum switch right there," said Corey "It was one of those plays that automatically gets you in the mode."
It was a special moment for Louis since he's never had the opportunity to score a touchdown, even as a kid. "It felt awesome, it was the first touchdown in my entire career. It's every lineman's dream to score a touchdown," he noted.
From there, Kentgen and the Warriors' high-powered offense locked in and never looked back.
"Our whole focus this week was to just win the conference outright," said Kentgen. "We came in and knew what we had to do. Our team was very focused and we came out and executed. It was really great to see."
As the Warriors (8-1, 5-0) prepare for the IHSA playoff selection show Saturday evening, coach Kradman's message to his team is clear.
"This is our third year going to the playoffs in a row, we aren't new to it, we aren't just excited to be there, or to be a cute little story," he said. "Our goal this year is to advance deep into the playoffs and win a state title. We think we have enough firepower in all three phases."