Scouting the Class 8A championship game between Maine South and Lockport
No. 6 Maine South (12-1) vs. No. 4 Lockport (12-1)Where: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Road to Huskie Stadium: Maine South beat New Trier 51-7, Plainfield North 21-18, Neuqua Valley 14-13 and Marist 35-33. Lockport beat Lyons 35-10, Glenbard West 34-0, Glenbard North 28-22 and Loyola 35-21.
Outlook: This will be the 10th state championship game for Maine South. The Hawks are 6-3 with one of those losses coming in 2003 to Lockport 48-27.
"We will take a team picture on Friday again with all the kids we brought up," Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. "But we will also take an alumni picture the we will have close to 200 former players in. They send the boys off in the right way. We have done this as a tradition."
Maine South has found a way to win in the playoffs. After blowing out rival New Trier in the opening round, the Hawks have won their final three playoff games by a combined total of 6 points.
Maine South's offense begins with Mike Sajenko, the Hawks' do-it-all running back.
Sajenko has been spectacular in the state playoffs. He has scored 14 touchdowns in the playoffs and has 30 for the season. He has rushed for 1,296 yards and is the team's leading receiver with 41 receptions for 447 yards.
Rowan Keefe is the latest Hawk quarterback in the Charlie Bliss directed offense. Keefe has thrown for 2,245 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Besides Sajenko, Keefe likes to throw to Will Guzaldo, Tommy Locascio, Frank Bartell and sophomore Evan Agosto.
Maine South's offensive line might be on the small side, but it has been more than effective all season. Tyler Hopman, Tommy Porrello, Andy Podelski, Bennett Smith and Tyler Habetler have opened holes for Sajenko and kept Keefe upright all season.
Lockport is led by quarterback Hayden Timosciek. The senior has led a Porters' offense that has scored 418 points this season. Timosciek, who is 6-foot-7, has thrown for 2,007 yards and 23 touchdowns. He threw his first interception of the season last week against Loyola.
Ty Schultz is Lockport's leading rusher with 1,014 yards and 20 touchdowns. Andrew Lopresti has also been effective, gaining 620 yards and scoring 5 touchdowns.
Timosciek operates behind an offensive line that averages 6-2, 256 pounds and is considered the pillar of the Porters' offense.
However, Maine South is coming off a game against Marist where the RedHawks' offensive line was bigger and featured a D-I commit. Maine South's defense was able to hold its own against the larger force and was able to get a pair of key turnovers.
That defense will again be without Northwestern-commit linebacker Chris Petrucci, who suffered a lacerated spleen in the Hawks' 14-13 win over Neuqua Valley in the quarterfinals.
Cole Cichowski, Locascio, Bartell, Charlie Leach, Jimmy Brander, Teddy Gianaris, Emmet Wolf, Tony Vadez, Connor Wolfe, Brady Marques and Carter Collins have allowed just over 16 points per game. They have 16 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries.
"Our defensive backs play well," Inserra said. "We really stress when we tackle to tackle violently with your hand. It takes a lot of communication. But these kids love to play together."