Lisle runs over Carver
Lee Maciejewski admitted his statement that the offensive line was the strength of Lisle might be biased because he is in charge of that position group.
But the way those guys upfront played on Saturday, the longtime coach might be on to something.
With huge holes to run through, the Lions rushed for 440 yards in a 49-0 victory over Carver in a Class 3A first-round matchup at Benedictine University.
Running behind juniors Joe Raineri and Jack Archer and seniors Chris Farrell, Kyle Martin and Douglas Bradley, Tyrese Watson led the way with 156 yards and three touchdowns on 15 rushes.
The junior scored on runs of 24, 6 and 7 yards, all in the first half.
"Our lineman once again did the job," Watson said. "They opened up the holes and we just ran through them."
Gabe Quinones added a pair of touchdowns and 121 yards total on 11 carries and Cole Campbell gained 72 yards on 10 attempts. Also finding the end zone were Dom Nigro, who kicked off the scoring with a 1-yard dive in the first quarter, and Dean Tchakanakis, who ended it with a 64-yard run late in the fourth.
"A lot of guys stepped up today," said Martin, who added a fumble recovery on defense. "In practice, we got our roles settled and we came out and did what we had to do."
Also getting the job done was Lisle's defense, which held the Challengers (6-4) to three first downs and 50 total yards of offense. Watson contributed on that side of the ball as well with two interceptions.
"I was very pleased with the performance of both the offense and the defense," Maciejewski said. "Our defense did a great job of containing an offense that can score from anywhere on the field.
"And we have some running backs who make our linemen look good as well. They make good cuts, they run with their eyes, they see little creases and they get in them. And for littler guys, they are very powerful."
The Lions won its third game in a row to improve to 7-3, with each of the regular season losses coming to playoff teams. They will face another stiff test in the form of undefeated and top-seed Byron on the road next week.
Lisle fell to the Tigers in the quarterfinals in 2018.
"It seems the road to the big games always goes through Byron," Maciejewski said. "To quote Ric Flair, to be the man, you have to beat the man and right now in our division, Byron is the best. We will be ready to go next week."