Meadows rolls on, will face Prospect next
On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, the lights were on at the Rolling Meadows football field despite the play of the Mustangs' defense.
"I thought the defense was lights out," said Meadows coach Matt Mishler after his third-seeded team advanced to the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs with a 33-12 triumph over No. 30 Lincoln Park of Chicago.
The Mustangs (10-0), who will host No. 14 Prospect (8-2) next, held the Lions to 67 yards rushing. Meadows defeated Prospect 35-14 in an Oct. 11 Mid-Suburban East game at Prospect.
Meadows' final touchdown was Chris Divito's second interception of the season which he returned 38 yards to the end zone to give Meadows a 30-6 lead with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
"He (Divito) has been good for us all season on both sides of the ball," Mishler said of the 5-foot-10 senior linebacker/running back. "He's always in the right spot and he was again on that play."
"It was zone coverage," said Divito, who also scored the game's first TD with a 16-yard run late in the first quarter. "I saw the quarterback was scrambling and I hoped he would throw the ball my way."
That was hardly the only time Lions quarterback Luke Satterlee was under pressure.
"Every time I looked up their quarterback was under duress," Mishler said. "I thought our linebackers were getting pressure on them and our free safety (Dave Zieba) jumped a couple of balls."
Nate Pedraza and Sean Nolan got to Satterlee for a big sack on the last play of the first quarter to force a punt.
The Mustangs came back with a 46-yard drive in seven plays, capped by senior Carson Schiller's 10-yard TD strike to classmate Jordan Wiles for a 16-0 lead.
Satterlee's perfectly thrown 58-yard bomb to Jalen Tripp got the Lions (5-4) to within 16-6 but Meadows answered with a 62-yard march culminated by Schiller's 24-yard TD pass to Nife Oseni for a 23-6 halftime lead.
"We started off pretty well," said Schiller, who was throwing behind the likes of linemen Michael Bogdanovski, Anthony Lara, Bruce Osslund, Zach Moore, Nick Tannhauser, Kevin Jacks and Pedraza. "Then we kind of died out but it was kind of a weird week not knowing if they were going to play or not (due to the Chicago teachers strike).
"I think that may have affected us but we did well when we needed to and the offensive line did really well when it needed to."
Schiller threw for 191 yards, connecting with five different receivers (Wiles, Oseni, Charlie Schmidt, Jimmy Golaris and Dan Sobkowicz).
"Hats off to Rolling Meadows," said Lincoln Park coach Reggie Collins. "They were a great team, very competitive. They're very disciplined and you can tell they've been playing together a long time.
"As you know, with the strike going on, it was hard for our boys because we had only three days to practice. But I liked the that the guys still came out and competed. So hats off to our guys, hats off to Meadows and I wish them the best."
Mishler was hardly surprised by the Lions' effort.
"We knew they'd come out and be excited to play," he said. "They've got some athletes and any time you're competing in the playoffs, you are facing team that has earned it.
"I think offensively we need to play a lot better than today. We need to clean up things but it's not anything our guys can't do. We just have to do it consistently."
"We prepared really well for them," added Divito, who has 11 touchdowns this fall. "The key was taking every play one at a time. They were obviously really skilled and we just had to focus on their skilled players."