Maine South rolls by Niles West
There will be no state title run for Maine South football coach Dave Inserra's team this year. That doesn't mean that there will not be some magic moments.
The shortened season of six weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic started off with a bang for the Hawks.
Maine South took down Niles West 49-6 in the Central Suburban South opener for both teams Friday night in Park Ridge.
The Hawks, who have garnered four state championships and three runner-up seasons are still treating this season like the playoffs.
"We're excited to be out here playing," said Inserra. "We're looking at the rest of the season as our playoffs. We're going to try to do the best that we can."
Quarterback Luke Leongas led the way for Maine South with a 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter on his first carry. Leongas completed 11 of 14 passes for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"It was the greatest feeling in the world to be back on the field with my teammates," said Leongas. " We have really worked hard in practice and this was amazing to be able to be playing."
Leongas played with a torn ACL in 2019 and has been able to fully recover from the injury.
"He played all last season with the tear," said Inserra. "It was incredible that he even thought of doing it (playing) and he did it. You could see on that first touchdown run that he's recovered. He also threw the ball well."
"It was a long road to recover," said Leongas. "I was a little nervous on the first snap. A little butterfly. After my first run, I got the juices back."
Mike Sajenko took a screen pass from Leongas to complete an 81-yard scoring play and a 14-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
Johnny Sassan made it 21-0 on a 36-yard run with 8:23 left in the second quarter. Sassan also kicked 6 extra points.
Joey Dellumo (1-yard run) and Sajenko (43-yard reception) scored before halftime for a 35-0 lead.
Connor Leyden caught a 10-yard pass on the Hawks' first drive of the second half for a 42-0 lead.
Niles West scored on a 33-yard pass play from quarterback Jack Leons to Max Nauman early in the first quarter.
Charlie Gleason finished the Maine South scoring on a 10-yard run.
"We executed well," said Inserra. "Our first-team offense executed extremely well and our second-team offense was not too bad. It was a great start for our offensive line. We had only one returnee in Arthur Hoelscher."
Senior center Ben Romo noted how well the offense line has gelled.
"This past week was awesome," said Romo. "All the linemen were hyped up this week in practice. We all wanted to do our best."
Sajenko caught 2 passes for 124 yards on his touchdowns. Nine different receivers caught passes. The Hawks used nine runners. Frank Bartell had 2 carries for 68 of the Hawks' 151 yards rushing.