Antioch able to overcome Week 1 miscues
Mistakes and penalties were expected.
In a makeshift season with shortened prep time, high school football coaches were ready for some rough patches in their Week 1 games last weekend.
"We knew the quality of football would not be even close to where we would be normally," Antioch coach Brian Glashagel said. "You saw it in college football too. With less prep time, there was a certain degree of sloppiness and mistakes, and we are not different."
That's why Glashagel was simply relieved that his team escaped a Northern Lake County Conference game against Grayslake Central with a 34-28 victory after a series of uncharacteristic mishaps.
"It was crazy," Glashagel said. "We had four touchdowns called back. We would get into the red zone and then implode. It was frustrating. We coulda, woulda, shoulda scored about 50 points in that game. Our uncharacteristic, bonehead plays almost did us in."
Ultimately, the Sequoits were carried by the Kaliakmanis brothers, both of whom will be playing football at the University of Minnesota next year.
Quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis threw for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns while Dino Kaliakmanis rushed for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries.
"We were getting into scoring position with relative ease, and we were moving the ball up and down the field," said Glashagel, whose team hosts Antioch Thursday night. "We just weren't always punching it in when we should have."
Late in the game, Dino Kaliakmanis also scored on an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that put Antioch up by two scores late in the game and essentially sealed the win for the Sequoits.
"I live in Antioch and you hear a lot in that community about how talented (the Kaliakmanis brothers) are and they are every bit of that," Grayslake Central coach Mike Maloney said. "They made plays when they needed to. But without that kick return and maybe one or two other plays, we were right in the mix."
The Rams got an impressive performance out of quarterback Darryl Overstreet, who threw for 267 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"The biggest things with Darryl is his competitive juices," Maloney said. "He is so competitive and he is able to lead with composure and calmness and moxie. He is a great field general and the kids believe in him and they know that when the ball is in his hands, we have a chance."
More Antioch notables:
Joey Neumann also had a big game for Antioch against Grayslake Central with 7 catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Defensively for the Sequoits, Gavin Calabrese had a team-leading 8 tackles as well as a fumble recovery. And defensive end AJ Kutcher was on the field nearly the entire game, playing a vast majority of the offensive snaps as well.
More Grayslake Central notables:
The offensive line at Grayslake Central returns all five players from last year and that continuity and chemistry showed against Antioch.
Chase James, Nat Ziemke and Devin Racho are all juniors who started last year as sophomores, and Matt Ogunnubi and John Treadau are both experienced seniors.
"The communication they showed and the ability to identify different defenses and make adjustments was really good," Grayslake Central coach Mike Maloney said of his offensive linemen. "We've seen a lot of growth out of that group in the last year and we are excited about how they are going to help us showcase our weapons on offense."
Quarterback Darryl Overstreet was given time by the line to connect with multiple receivers.
Colin O'Malley had 8 catches for 113 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown. Kaiden Miller had 6 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Kurt Heerdegen had 3 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The spark behind the Grant offense last week was more like a bolt: John Bolton.
The senior running back rushed for a school-record 6 touchdowns in Grant's 37-6 Northern Lake County Conference win over North Chicago.
Bolton, who has played every skill position on both sides of the ball over his career at Grant, finished with 255 rushing yards on 23 carries.
"We're always thinking about how we can maximize a kid like John," Grant coach Chris Robinson said. "He's played quarterback, running back. He's been in different positions on defense, like linebacker and defensive back. The ability to move him around also helps us showcase other kids' strengths as well. But we really like having him out in space, giving him the ball in space and letting him go. That's why we really like him at running back."
Bolton will be playing at Augustana next year, and Robinson says the coaches there see Bolton as a floater as well, capable of playing almost any skill position.
Dogged on defense:
Grant gave up only one touchdown last week to North Chicago and it came early.
The Bulldogs pitched a shutout in the second half.
"We had to shake off a little bit of the rust early. It's been a year-and-a-half since we hit another team," Grant coach Chris Robinson said. "But once we did that, we liked what our defense did. We're really proud of their effort."
The Grant defense is led by former Grant head coach Kurt Rous, who has returned to be the defensive coordinator.
"Kurt brings an energy to the defense and he calls a great game," Robinson said.
Junior safety Nick Blencoe stood out on defense for the Bulldogs, knocking down multiple North Chicago passes.