Antioch dominates Mather; Cary-Grove up next
Host Antioch raced to a 57-0 win over visiting Mather Saturday afternoon to open up the Class 6A playoffs.
The rout put a definitive end to what was a very strange week for Antioch, which was caught between having a potential forfeit win or playing Mather, depending on the Chicago teachers strike.
"It was very interesting," Antioch head coach Brian Glashagel said. "We were prepping for them, and we get word early in the week that it looks good. But then it starts to not look good, but then we got the call that it was on.
"We also had six inches of snow on the ground in late October. The kids had a lot of fun with it, but I don't think I've ever dealt with that."
The Rangers took the opening kickoff and proceeded to get a quick first down on two Westyn Simmons runs.
A Sequoits offside penalty added another 5 yards, Simmons gained 1 and Destiny Ogbomo broke free for 5 more, but the Antioch defense then locked in and shut down the Rangers from that point on.
Simmons was tackled for 5-yard losses on consecutive plays after an incomplete pass, and Mather had to punt it away.
Antioch (8-2) had two 11-yard plays on the ensuing drive, one on a run from Jayden Marquis, another on a pass from Alex Kutcher to Dino Kaliakmanis.
Victor Monzon then broke off a 12-yard run and soon after, Gavin Calabrese raced in from 9 yards out for the opening score with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter.
Aidan Weir split the uprights for the extra point and a 7-0 lead.
Two plays into Mather's next drive, Andrew DeBoer sacked the Ranger quarterback and forced a fumble that Lucan Bentley recovered on the 17-yard line.
Kaliakmanis then took an end around those 17 yards for another score at the 2:36 mark.
Lined up to kick the extra point, back-to-back offside calls on the Rangers pushed the ball near the goal line and Antioch opted to go for two which it got on a Calabrese run for a 15-0 lead.
The defense then forced a three-and-out, bridging into the second quarter and the offense took over on the Antioch 34.
Marquis ran for a 14-yard gain, then Monzon broke around the left side for 23 yards, with a late hit penalty moving the ball to the 14.
After an incomplete pass, Calabrese ran three straight times, the final one for an 8-yard score and a 22-0 lead.
Less than four minutes later, Monzon took it in from 17 yards out for a 29-0 lead with 6:02 left in the half.
Marquis would come up with a big interception over the middle, and Monzon ran for a 28-yard gain on the next play, before Kutcher connected with Kaliakmanis for 31 yards to the Mather 25.
Marquis then got the payday for his interception by scoring on the next play, putting Antioch up 36-0.
Another interception, this one by Jackson DeVaughn, gave the Sequoits a chance for another score before the break, but with just 16 seconds left, the Ranger defense just kept Khalid Anderson from a potentially huge run as the clock expired.
Antioch received the initial second-half kickoff and got a nice return from Anderson to near midfield.
Calabrese took a handoff and gained 16 yards, as would Anderson on consecutive runs for the key score to make it 43-0 and begin the running clock for the rest of the game.
Chris Penn would soon scoop up a fumbled punt reception and took it in for a score, and Evan Day would take a quarterback keeper in from 6 yards out early in the fourth quarter to provide for the final margin.
"Our defense was flying to the ball, and we were executing very well on both offense and special teams," Glashagel said. "I think it was a combination of us playing well and those poor kids on the other side with all they've had to go through leading into this. But it's the playoffs and a win is a win and now we'll get ready for next week."
A week that should be a lot more back to normal for Antioch, but no less stressful as the Sequoits will be preparing to take on the defending 6A champion Cary Grove, a 41-13 winner over St. Ignatius Saturday.