Maine South scores 6 unanswered TDs to throttle Stevenson 42-3
There was a feeling of anticipation in the air Friday night at Wilson Field in Park Ridge.
Football was back, at near normal conditions, and Maine South was hosting Stevenson in the 2022 opener.
And when the Hawks players marched into the stadium, there were loud and sustained cheers, and a general sense of excitement on both sidelines.
"This is important, for all the kids participating in the game, and for the kids in the stands," said Maine South band parent Jill Wille just before the game. " It's very exciting, it's a great night and a great way to start the season."
Patriots senior cheerleader Bella Wojtulewicz agreed.
"I feel like everything is coming back, she said. "It feels like normal, and having everyone back together out here is great. There's been a lot of excitement around school in general."
On the field, it was Maine South that rallied for a big victory.
The Hawks spotted Stevenson an early 3-0 lead, but roared back with 6 unanswered touchdowns in a 42-3 nonconference win before a packed house.
Maine South senior quarterback Ryan Leyden threw for 4 scores in the win, while the Hawks were extremely impressive on defense.
"Our defense is looking really strong," said Hawks senior safety Charlie Crampton, who helped lead a defensive performance. "We were stopping the run."
"They (Stevenson) were able to get a couple of deep balls (early on), but we focused on it later in the game and really locked in the second half."
Patriots quarterback Matt Projansky had a couple of long completions in the first quarter, and Stevenson recovered 2 Maine South fumbles, but it only led to 3 points.
Maine South took a 7-3 lead into halftime after a Ryan Pothast 74-yard TD catch.
Then the Hawks exploded for 21 points in the third quarter to take the wind out of Stevenson's sails.
Maurice Densmore caught 2 touchdown passes from Leyden, from 9 yards and 25 yards out, and Evan Agosto had a 25 yard scoring grab over the middle.
The Hawks tacked on 2 more scores late, as backup QB Jack DeFilippis connected with Sean Mullan from 33 yards deep, then ran one in to the end zone from the 5-yard line.
Maine South defensive players Alex Eng and Ty Warnock made some big plays early, keeping Stevenson out of the end zone in the first quarter and setting the tone for the rest of the game.
"It was just our energy and our fans out there," added Crampton of the Hawks second-half burst. "It was electric."
"It was the fans who really helped us out, their energy was great."