Conant outlasts Elk Grove for Mayor's Cup
The yearly clash that Elk Grove and Conant had between 1967-97 came to an end after the 1997 season when realignment separated the schools along a combination of district, enrollment, and geographic factors that created the current Mid-Suburban League setup of East and West divisions, leaving the battle for the Elk Grove Village Mayor's Cup a semiannual affair.
With that, a confluence of factors created a memorable spring 2021 edition between the two schools at Haskell Memorial Stadium Friday night on the Elk Grove campus.
As an additional by-product it was also the final varsity contest for a pair of the area's top ball carriers -- Conant's Malik Frederick and Elk Grove's Ian Ridge.
They didn't disappoint those in attendance as they combined for over 450 yards on the ground and 7 touchdowns in an action-packed 48 minutes of play that saw the Cougars will their way past the host Grenadiers 43-35 to take the Mayor's Cup back to their Hoffman Estates campus.
It would start for Conant (2-4) on its opening play from scrimmage as the Harvard-bound Frederick (31 carries, 328 yards) took a handoff 60 yards to the house for the first of his 5 rushing touchdowns and 6 overall. He would have scoring jaunts of 4, 12, 5, and 53 yards plus a 90-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
"Of course it all starts with the O-line, so it's a big thanks to them," Frederick, who had over 432 all-purpose yards, said. "I do my best to pay it back. Without them, I wouldn't be here. They open the way, so I do the best I can for the team."
Drake-bound Ridge (28 carries, 124 yards) also turned in a stellar performance in his final performance in an Elk Grove uniform that featured a 24 yard run that gave the Grens (1-5) a 28-27 advantage in the third quarter that increased to 35-27 on a 57-yard fumble return by Josh Bilodeau with 4:06 left in the quarter.
After Frederick's fourth rushing TD cut the deficit to 35-33, Conant would go on a 21-play, 87-yard drive that would give it the lead for good on a 27-yard Gracie Rodriguez field goal with 2:44 remaining.
Then, the Cougar defense would gain a pair of stops sandwiched around Frederick's fifth TD jaunt with 1:04 left.
Ridge spoke of his three-year varsity career as having been a comparison to his and his 22 senior Grenadier teammates' battle Friday night.
"In this game we fought our tails off and at the end of the day for me it doesn't matter what I do," he said. "All that mattered to me was this game and we were so close and it hurts. All four years I was here, it was a battle."