Buffalo Grove's defense shines in triumph over Hersey
'Batting practice' paid off for the Buffalo Grove Bison football team Friday night at Hersey.
The Bison defensive backs came up with big defensive efforts in Buffalo Grove's thrilling 22-10 win over the Huskies in the Mid-Suburban East.
"During the week we practiced going up for the ball and batting it," said junior defensive back Dominick Marrazzo. "We knew that they would throw a lot. We had to high point the ball. We were ready for that. We're young and we're learning. We slayed the bear this week and next week we go for the giant."
The win, and Prospect's win over Rolling Meadows, sets up a showdown next Friday at Buffalo Grove for the title.
"I'm so proud of these players," said Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk. "As freshmen, this group of seniors was 2-7. Now we're 4-0 and have a chance for the championship. Our defensive backs just played a great game. They came up with big plays in the second half."
With the win, Buffalo Grove also claimed the Fireman's Trophy, which was started after 9/11 to honor the two cities' first responders.
Underclassmen Michael Cervantes, a sophomore, and juniors Dominick Marrazzo along with Brian Oberman prevented the Huskies (2-2) from reaching the end zone in the second half.
Hersey quarterback Jimmy Makuh completed 21 of 44 passes with 2 interceptions for 216 yards.Ben Randall would catch 7 passes for 79 yards. Teammate Ben Clawson caught 6 passes for 58 yards.
The Huskies would be plagued with 3 second-half fumbles, losing two of them.
"We're in a funk and turnovers hurt us," said Hersey coach Joe Pardun. "We gave up too many turnovers. We've got to clean that up and recover. You can't put yourself behind the sticks. You can't play football that way."
Senior Ryan Grossman recovered a fumble late in the third quarter stopping a Hersey drive. Cervantes intercepted a pass at the Bison 27 with 7:20 left in the game.
Marrazzo and Oberman each batted down balls in the end zone later in the quarter. Marrazzo recovered a fumble with 1:30 left in the game at the Bison 22.
Buffalo Grove quarterback Ian Luyando ran the option to perfection scoring a touchdown on a 51 yard run in the third quarter to give the Bison a 16-10 lead with 8:02 left. Minutes later, at the Huskie 10, Luyando ran 5 yards then pitched the ball to Ayden Anderson, who completed the run for the Bison and a 22-10 lead at the 4:23 mark.
"I can't say enough about our offensive line," said Luyando. "They gave me room to run and time to pass the ball. This was really a big win for us. I'm really excited about next week's game."
Luyando drove BG 78 yards in 10 plays and completed a 33-yard TD pass to Scott Murray for a 7-0 lead. Luyando would complete 16 of 29 passes with 2 interceptions for 208 yards. Anderson would catch 6 passes for 76 yards.
"Luyando had had a ACL issue and we didn't want to push him much last year," said Vlk. "He really showed great leadership this year. He has the confidence of this team."
Hersey bounced back in the second quarter to tie the score at 7-7. Clawson finished an 8-play, 60-yard drive with a 5-yard run.
Andrew Smith would kick a 27-yard field goal for the Bison with 5 minutes left in the half for a 10-7 lead, but Hersey's Max McCall would counter with a field goal from 30 yards with 2:26.