Campbell's 91-yard return sparks Lisle

 
By Bob Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 4/8/2021 10:23 PM

Lisle's Cole Campbell quickly put to rest any doubts about his team coming out with another sluggish effort on Thursday night.

Campbell returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to spark Lisle to a 24-0 victory over Peotone at Benedictine University in Lisle.

 

The Lions (2-2) dominated the Illinois Central Eight Conference game in all three phases to erase the sting of last week's 33-6 defeat to Coal City.

Campbell also ran for a game-high 83 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Lions attempted just 1 pass in the game.

"I'm so proud of what we were able to do because all week in practice we were stressing winning the one-on-one battles," Campbell said. "We came to practice and were really burning and mad about last week. We came out (strong), and gave it all we could."

The Lions, who are only playing five games this season due to conference policy, closed out their two-game home schedule with another shutout. Lisle gave its fans a sterling effort in its lone two home games, shutting out Reed-Custer and Peotone.

"There's nothing like playing on your home field, and our defense was phenomenal," Campbell said. "Our defensive line really stepped up ... Overall, we did a really good job."

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From the opening kickoff, Peotone (3-1) failed to built off the momentum from its 28-0 win over Manteno last week. In the shutout victory, the Blue Devils ran for 220 yards and four different players scored touchdowns, and had outscored their opponents 99-26 through three games.

That all changed on Thursday night.

The Lions' defensive line overpowered Peotone's offensive line, bulldozing their way into the backfield to disrupt plays. The Blue Devils generated a scant 16 total yards in 5 first-half possessions, including throwing an interception. Lisle sophomore defensive back Dominic Nigro intercepted a pass and Michael Walker added a sack in the first two quarters. Nigro finished with 2 interceptions and a pass deflection, as the Blue Devils did not complete a pass in 10 attempts. Peotone totaled 132 yards rushing, with Ben Balmer compiling a team-high 59 yards.

"I knew I had to bring my all for the seniors," Nigro said. "It felt good to get those first two picks. This was an encouraging game for our defense after getting killed last week against Coal City."

Meanwhile, the Lions immediately went to work on the offensive end to quickly establish a different tone after last week's blowout loss. The Lions' offensive line dominated Peotone's front five, paving the way for a run-dominated scheme that led to a 47-minute first half. The Lions had 129 yards rushing in the first half.

The Lions scored a touchdown on their first three possessions to seize a 24-0 lead at the 11:53 mark of the second quarter. Campbell scored on runs of 8 and 15 yards, but the Lions failed to extend their lead thanks to turning the ball over 5 times, though their defense forced 4 turnovers.

"We showed a lot of fight, and it's special to not let a team score on our field this year," Nigro said.

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