Belmonte scores 3 touchdowns in Elk Grove victory

 
By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/28/2021 1:00 AM

There looks like there's something special with the Elk Grove football program this season.

Friday night in Des Plaines, the Grenadiers made a good first impression with a rousing 36-14 over Maine West in the season opener for both teams.

 

"This is the first win I have had in the opening week of a season," said Elk Grove coach Miles Osei, now in his fifth year. "We have an offensive line with no returning starters and some skill players who really stepped up tonight. We still have along way to go."

Among them was junior quarterback Mitchell Janczak, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 114 yards and 1 touchdown.

"We challenged him in the summer. He's a real competitor and a leader," Osei said.

Sophomore running back Dominic Belmonte added some punch with 3 rushing touchdowns. He carried the ball 10 times for 54 yards.

The offensive line of Ramiro Valdivia, Anthoni Brautigam, Gavin Ewen, Christian Tuiaana and Colin Kalinowicz provided the muscle up front to allow the Grenadiers to rush for 148 yards.

"The did a nice job, but we still have a lot of work to do with Schaumburg next week," Osei said.

Maine West accounted for 185 total yards. Warriors quarterback Conor McAndrews completed 6 of 12 passes for 91 yards. Running back Isaac Pittman was held in check until late in the game when he used a 33-yard burst to set up his 5-yard touchdown run in the game's last minutes. Pittman finished with 91 yards in 14 attempts.

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"We were a block or two from having some good runs," Maine West coach George Klupchak said." Hats off to Elk Grove. They came out and they executed. The biggest improvement a team makes is between weeks one and two. I think we'll have some explosive runs this year."

Elk Grove used the steady hand of Janczak to score on its opening drive, a 9-play 71-yard effort, for a 7-0 lead. Belmonte finished the drive with an 8-yard run.

Pittman tied the game with 44 seconds left in the first quarter on a 3-yard run to tie the score. Belmonte broke the tie with a 6-yard run early in the second quarter for a 14-7 lead. Janczak's 16-yard pass to Brady Tosterud as the half ended gave Elk Grove a 21-7 lead.

"We spent a lot of time over the summer working things out," Janczak said. "Our offensive line did a really good job on my rollouts. It's Game 1. We're hungry."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Linebacker Samir Valenzuela fulfilled every defensive lineman's dream by returning a pass 28 yards for a touchdown with 9:20 left in the game for a 29-7 lead.

Belmonte finished the scoring with a 5-yard run late in the game.

"My confidence was boosted with this game," Belmonte said. "Our offensive line did a real great job for me. This was a big win."

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