Antioch rolls over Round Lake, keeps playoff hopes alive
It was a disconcerting start to the season for the Antioch football team.
Two losses in the first two games for the Sequoits, who certainly aren't used to that. Only once in the previous five years had Antioch lost more than 2 games in an entire season.
But there was a flip of the switch after that 0-2 start, and since then the Sequoits have gone 5-1 to put themselves in position to make their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
As Antioch has fought to defend its honor, a common denominator in those five wins has been ... well, defense. And the defense had an impact again in the Sequoits' 54-6 dismantling of visiting Round Lake on Friday, which moved them to 5-3 and kept them in contention for a playoff berth.
Antioch, which is allowing just 6 points per game over their five wins and has pitched shutouts against North Chicago and Grant, put 2 defensive touchdowns on the board en route to forcing a second-half running clock against the Panthers.
The two touchdowns were the first by the defense this season.
"It felt good punching in back-to-back (defensive) touchdowns," said Antioch defensive back Hunter Bukowy, who scored off a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter. "It's a lot of fun scoring and seeing your defensive guys running up to you and giving you hugs."
There were more defensive hugs to go around because on Round Lake's very next possession, the Antioch defense struck again. This time, Ethan Koloff scored on a fumble recovery and return for a touchdown.
That gave Antioch a 34-0 lead just seconds into the second quarter.
"Before the game, Coach (Brian Glashagel, Antioch's head coach) challenged us to get turnovers and to put points on the board defensively," Koloff said. "And this just shows the hustle we had out there. It was pretty cool."
Antioch limited Round Lake to just 137 yards of offense. And the Panthers' only touchdown, a 14-yard run by quarterback Jamariel Brown, came with just three minutes remaining.
"When we put guys in the right spots and just fly around, it's hard to stop our defense," Bukowy said. "We've got a lot of guys with a lot of energy who pursue the ball."
Meanwhile, the offense showed plenty of energy of its own, particularly in the run game.
The Sequoits scored their first three touchdowns on runs by Andy Bowles (2 touchdowns) and quarterback Quade Moll. Nick Day also ran in a touchdown for Antioch, which was up 40-0 at halftime.
"We're getting better each week and we've seen that," Glashagel said. "And our defense has really gotten better each week. It's the entire crew, all of them, that has gotten better."
Round Lake drops to 2-6 on the season and has lost three straight games. The Panthers were without starting quarterback Cristian Castro, out with an injury.
"Antioch has a lot to play for with the playoffs coming up," Round Lake coach Scott Blecha said. "With us not having our quarterback, we just put in an (alternate) offense in about two practice days. That was tough. And we couldn't finish drives. We made too many mistakes."