Victory is music to WW South's ears
MACHESNEY PARK -- Late in the third quarter Friday night, the Harlem High School public-address system blared the Cheap Trick song "Surrender."
The song choice was probably inadvertent, but it was appropriate nonetheless. Wheaton Warrenville South led the hometown Huskies by 43 points on the way to a 50-23 victory in the first round of the Class 7A football playoffs.
Jake Arthurs scored 3 touchdowns, and Prince Lankah added 2 more as the Tigers used big plays and an overpowering offensive line to cruise to the win in steady snow showers.
The teams battled through a field-position game for a first quarter that ended 7-7, but the Tigers' quick-strike offense broke the game wide open during the second 12 minutes.
Arthurs ran 39 yards up the middle untouched to put the Tigers ahead to stay, then hauled in a 27-yard scoring strike from Parker Brown. Jason Haw then took a short pass in the flat, deked the only nearby defender and raced 62 yards to make it 28-7 by halftime.
Lankah's second score came on a 91-yard run in the third quarter.
Brown completed just three passes but two went for touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Arthurs, Lankah and Brown allowed WW South's power run game to dominate on the ground.
"Our coaches emphasized that all week," Arthurs said, "And our O-line really took it to them."
Despite the slow start Tigers coach Ron Muhitch believed their running game would eventually take over.
"I thought if we just stayed patient with our run game, we've got two really good running backs," he said. "And our quarterback made a couple of good plays, too."
While the conditions weren't ideal for those in attendance, the players didn't seem to mind.
"It was awesome," Arthurs said. "It was a snow game. You dream about that stuff as kids."
The Huskies never did surrender, recovering an onside kick and putting up a couple of late touchdowns, but they could never threaten the Tigers. Harlem receiver Brandt Hixson caught 9 passes for 162 yards and 1 touchdown.
If there was any doubt about the outcome at halftime, the Tigers erased it quickly after the break.
After forcing a punt on Harlem's first possession of the half, the Tigers needed just two Arthurs runs to make it 35-7. Then, after stopping the Huskies on downs, Lankah broke through the middle on the next play and raced 91 yards for the score.
The Tigers will play Downers Grove North in the second round next weekend.