Looking back at big wins for Lisle, York
Decisions, decisions. High school football is full of them, from the monumental to the minutiae.
Take Lisle's homecoming game last Friday with Herscher, for instance. The Lions and the Tigers battled just like their natural counterparts for three-and-a-half quarters, before Lisle scored a rushing touchdown by junior Tyrese Watson with 4:54 left in the contest.
What was coach Paul Parpet's immediate reaction to the score?
"To be honest, (it was) do we go for one or two?" he said. "I decided to kick it. If we don't kick it, and they score, we lose."
A loss at this point of the season could be crucial to making the playoffs. Lisle had lost two of their last three, and couldn't afford another one.
Junior lineman Chris Farrell is also the Lions' kicker. He booted the extra point, and his team held on the rest of the way to secure a 7-0 victory.
"I knew in that game, points were not easy to come by and I sort of figured like in the second or third quarter that it was going to come down to the one who struck first," said Farrell, who plays right tackle on offense along with defensive tackle. "When Tyrese scored, I knew we were in good position."
Parpet, formerly the longtime Addison Trail coach, divides his season into thirds. His team was 2-1 in the first third of the season and equaled that in the second. Right now, the Lions are 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Illinois Central Eight ... with a monster game against 6-0, 4-0 Wilmington this Friday at Benedictine.
Wilmington knocked the Lions out of the Class 3A playoffs back in 2019 -- the last time there was playoff competition.
The bottom line, according to Parpet, is to go 1-0 each week. Do that, and the playoffs will take care of itself.
"We've got to take it one game at a time," Farrell said. "All of our focus is on next week, Wilmington, and whenever the playoffs come around, we'll be ready."
Added senior left guard and defensive end Kyle Martin: "I feel like if we fight hard, we can make it far in the playoffs. We have the right pieces, but we have to figure out our offense a little bit."
And, continue making the right decisions in clutch situations.
Kickers king in Week 6:
Farrell wasn't the only kicker to do his coach proud this past week. There was Benet's Michael Lawler, who got iced not once, but twice, by Notre Dame before kicking a 27-yarder as time expired to lead his team to a 20-17 victory.
That kick lifted Benet's record to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the CCL/ESCC Green.
Then there was York senior Max Hansmann, who nailed an 18-yarder with under a minute to go to lift the Dukes to a 12-10 win over Glenbard West and their first victory over the Hitters since 2007. They also did it at Duchon Field, a tough place to play for any team.
Hansmann nailed his kick after a 30-minute lightning delay, which just added to the pressure. How does he gauge this kick compared to others he's hit?
"This is 100 percent the best one ever," Hansmann said, "and I've kicked some from farther out. I kicked a 55-yarder in practice that doinked off the crossbar and went in. Nothing compares to this chip shot."
Downers South seizes Rebel Cannon:
It's been a challenging season for Downers Grove South, which sits at 2-4 overall and 2-1 in the West Suburban Gold. But that was tempered last Friday with a 14-7 victory over rival Hinsdale South -- which brought back to the Mustangs the coveted Rebel Cannon traveling trophy.
"I'll be honest, it's a big thing for us," coach Mark Molinari said. "We haven't won a big game like that this season. It seems like we've been on the short end. Getting the Cannon and getting into the playoffs are our goals. We've been having a playoff game every week, after starting 0-4."
Senior linebacker Noah Rapinchuk was beaming when discussing bringing back home the Rebel Cannon.
"The last time we had it was 2016," he said. "This is the first time I've seen it in my school, so for our seniors, it's big to get it back."
Bright spots for Lake Park:
Lake Park is another team that has had a challenging season, sitting at 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the DuKane Conference. But that doesn't mean there haven't been bright spots, according to coach Jason Kradman.
Take senior safety/wide receiver Mikey Mangialardi, who has five interceptions this season, including one in a tight 31-22 loss last Friday to St. Charles North. He also had a touchdown catch in that game.
"For all the seniors, we have a lot of motivation coming into these last three games," Mangialardi said. "For some of these guys, it's going to be their last high school games. All the juniors are playing for the seniors. We're just thankful we have a full nine games this year, unlike the last graduating class."
Another key player is senior defensive lineman Cooper Cerese, who has a helmet full of stickers, which are issued by the coaching staff for big plays like sacks and tackles for loss.
Like Mangialardi, his goal is to play in college, but his big challenge is acquiring enough film highlights for prospective programs. He tore the UCL in his elbow as a sophomore, and only had four games last spring due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, he's optimistic.
"I just want to play somewhere," he said. "I want a team to trust in me."