Ayala, Hoffman Estates blank Schaumburg
Hoffman Estates kept itself in Mid-Suburban West contention with a 35-0 win at Schaumburg Thursday night.
With Palatine's 26-24 home win over Fremd, the Hawks (2-1, 2-1) can still win a share of the West title with wins in their final two division games at home against Palatine next week and at Barrington in Week 5.
"That's what we've been talking about," Hoffman coach Tim Heyse said. "In years past, we were always looking ahead. From this offseason, it's been one day at a time. We tell our seniors that we never know when this is going to be done, so go out like it's your last game."
After going 3-and-out on its opening possession, Hoffman, winners of two in a row, gained control of the contest on its next two offensive series in which it found pay dirt each time thanks to senior quarterback Joe Ayala. The Palatine High transfer (150 yards rushing and passing combined) brought successful conclusions on both drives with keepers of 7 and 23 yards out. He then scampered into the end zone for the 2-point conversion after both scoring runs, putting the Hawks up 16-0 midway through the second quarter.
Ayala then added two more touchdowns through the air on the Hawks' first two possessions of the second half, connecting with Jaylen West (21 yards) and Jashawn Johnson (11 yards). Those two scores put Hoffman up big 28-0 after three quarters.
Jesse Williams, the other signalcaller in Hoffman's two-headed quarterback monster, dove in from the 1-yard line with 7:04 left to complete the scoring.
Ayala credited his team's success over the host Saxons (0-3, 0-3) to gaining confidence through good practices.
"(It was) learning the playbook and all the new plays we put in," he said. "We have to keep going for next week."