Sajenko's 6 TDs fuel Maine South's rout of New Trier
After holding off host New Trier for a 49-42 victory in the final football game of the regular season last weekend, nobody knew exactly what to expect when No. 6-seeded host Maine South met the No. 27-seeded Trevians again in an IHSA Class 8A playoff opener Friday.
But it didn't take long for the six-time state-champion Hawks to show New Trier who was boss as Maine South (9-1) stormed out to a commanding 24-0 lead with just under 2 minutes left in the first quarter of a game played in steady, wind-driven rainy conditions.
Maine South senior running back Mike Sajenko was the player of the game, scoring 6 rushing touchdowns in a lopsided 51-7 victory over the shellshocked Trevians.
With the win, Maine South will either host No. 11 Plainfield North next week or travel to No. 22 Evanston for a second-round contest.
New Trier (5-5) failed to move the ball on its first possession and that led to Sajenko scoring on a 20-yard TD run for a 6-0 lead 1:43 into the game.
The Hawks continued to score at will as quarterback Rowan Keefe hit Tommy Locascio for a 60-yard TD pass before touchdown runs of 9 and 13 yards by Sajenko staked Maine South to a 24-0 lead with 1:56 left in the first quarter. Sajenko had more than 200 yards rushing, and Maine South coach Dave Inserra was going to have to see if Sajenko's 6 touchdowns is a school record or not.
"We played pretty well last week, but we wanted to play better across the board and I think we did that, and Sajenko is a beast," said Inserra, whose team led 44-7 at halftime. "It was his best game ever, but we expect that from Mike. (New Trier) had our kids' attention in practice, and it's playoff time so we were ready to roll."
Sajenko's fourth TD run came on a 62-yard scamper as the wet field conditions did not seem to affect him at all throughout the contest. The extra point by Sam Taglia boosted the lead to 37-0 before a 2-yard keeper by New Trier quarterback Nevan Cremascoli broke up the shutout with 2:30 left in the first half.
But right on cue, the Hawks marched down the field as an 8-yard TD run by Sajenko made the score 44-7 with 38.2 seconds left in the second quarter.
Then Sajenko put the icing on the cake, racing 76 yards for the touchdown and a 51-7 lead. A running clock was triggered from 10:10 left in the third quarter until the end of the game.
"Obviously, thanks to my offensive line and my wide receivers, they were blocking to the second and third level, getting downfield and not giving up on any play, so I couldn't give up either," said Sajenko, who had just over 700 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in the regular season. "Everything was going my way. Last week, they came back and we studied them more and fixed everything we messed up the first time."