Bartlett tops Streamwood for Vuckovich's 1st win
Right before the opening kickoff, Bartlett first-year head coach Milan Vuckovich was brought to tears after seeing his family and several out-of-town friends arrive at the field.
Vuckovich, who calls himself, "an emotional dude," couldn't hold back the tears after the game, either, following the Hawks' 14-10 Upstate Eight Conference victory over Streamwood (0-1) at Millennium Field.
"I've got two buddies who live in Tennessee right now, and one from Texas, who all came up for the game," said Vuckovich, also joined by his wife and family members. "My dad passed away six years ago so to get this opportunity after so many years of coaching -- I miss him. To have that crew here, I can't say enough."
Despite losing 3 of its 5 fumbles in the first half, Streamwood grabbed a 2-0 lead with 4:03 left in the second quarter when Cristian Clark sacked Bartlett quarterback Matthew Teruel in the end zone.
After the Hawks' Ravi Banipal recovered a fumble to thwart a Streamwood drive in the final minute of the opening half, Teruel (4 of 7, 148 yards) tossed a 73-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver Jalen Davis (3 catches, 138 yards) with 20 seconds remaining to give Bartlett (1-0) a 7-2 halftime advantage.
"I knew the play -- I knew what was coming," said Davis. "I knew I had to execute and go out and do what I do."
"You've got to take a shot," said Vuckovich. "The kid's (Davis) a stud and Matthew Teruel has a cannon. I said to Jalen, 'you make us look good."
After Dontain Williams (16 carries, 104 yards) recovered a fumble on the Sabres' first possession of the second half, the Hawks made them pay 3 plays later as senior Koleman Salyers scored on a 13-yard run, and Aidan Smolenski's PAT kick upped the lead to 14-2.
Streamwood answered on its next possession, as quarterback Genaud Phillips scored on a 16-yard touchdown run and added the 2-point conversion attempt to narrow the deficit to 14-10.
The Sabres threatened early in the fourth quarter, driving to the Hawks' 14 before being turned away on downs.
From there, Bartlett sealed the decision with a pair of first-down conversions -- 36- and 29-yard completions from Teruel to Davis.
"I'm just thankful we came out of here with a win," said Davis, whose team committed 11 penalties, including 3 holding calls on the final possession.
"It means a lot," said Vuckovich. "This is for our program. I can't do anything without everybody else. These kids played their hearts out."
Jaiden Thomas rushed for 103 yards on 16 carries for the Sabres.
"I couldn't be prouder defensively," said Sabres coach Keith McMaster. "I think we stopped them five times in the red zone. We work on turnovers but we're going to have to work on them offensively, too. It was a little bit sloppy for game one."