Antioch earns statement win over Grayslake North
A promise is a promise.
"I promised these guys that if we won, they could talk," Antioch football coach Brian Glashagel said with a chuckle Thursday night while standing at midfield, pointing at his starting offensive linemen.
Antioch came up with its biggest win of the season so far, turning back visiting Grayslake North 36-18 in a battle of Northern Lake County Conference unbeatens.
The Sequoits, the defending NLCC champions and now 3-0 in 2021, got the job done in the trenches, rolling up 287 rushing yards behind linemen Max Ness, Peyton Bardecki, Thomas Van Sickle, John Mendez and Shaun Keever-McFarlane.
"We knew this was going to be a battle in the trenches," Van Sickle said. "Us five needed to protect our skill guys and give them opportunities to win the game."
"All of the games are won in the trenches, but this one especially because this was a playoff caliber team we were playing," Ness said. "We just needed to grind it out and get the run game going."
The Sequoits certainly did that, with Minnesota-bound senior Dino Kaliakmanis leading the way.
Kaliakmanis rolled up 193 yards on 21 carries and scored the first touchdown of the game on a 36-yard run.
"I give a lot of credit to the line, I really do," Kaliakmanis said. "They gave it everything they've got. I mean, I have no words for how good they were."
Apparently, the feelings are mutual.
The offensive linemen are wowed every day by the skills and athleticism of Kaliakmanis and his brother Athan, the starting quarterback, who threw for 125 yards and a touchdown and ran for 51 yards and 3 touchdowns. Athan will also be playing at Minnesota next year.
"I think it's the most fun thing," Ness said of blocking for the Kaliakmanis brothers. "It's the most fun I've ever had playing football because both of those guys are so unpredictable. It can be third-and-25 and they're going to get us a first down. None of us are worried, we just have to get our assignments done so that they can make a play."
"It's honestly a blessing," Bardecki said of playing with the Kaliakmanis brothers. "Those guys play their hearts out and work so hard. They're probably the hardest working guys on the team. They're amazing."
Dino Kaliakmanis opened the scoring with his 36-yard touchdown run with 11:18 left in the second quarter and Grayslake North (2-1) answered right back with a 20-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jacob Donohue to Jack Kukis.
Both teams scored again before halftime. Antioch got a 17-yard touchdown pass from Athan Kaliakmanis to Joey Neumann while Grayslake North senior Christian Johnson caught a 15-yard pass from Donohue (23-of-41, 160 yards). That made the halftime score 14-12, Antioch.
Antioch dominated the second half scoring 3 touchdowns, all on runs by Athan Kaliakmanis (1 yard, 1 yard, 5 yards), while Grayslake North got just 1 touchdown, an 85-yard run by Johnson.
Johnson rushed for 123 yards on 10 carries.
"It's a tough team to beat," Johnson said of Antioch, a team that he has never been able to beat while in high school. "We tried to do everything we could but they just got the better of us. I'm a senior and this was my last chance to beat Antioch. We really wanted to do that."