Conant runs all over Wheeling in 41-7 win

By Bill McLean
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/2/2022 11:27 PM

At least a couple of Conant football players are still unsure where the team practiced for a week in June.

"In the middle of nowhere," Cougars senior quarterback T.J Ramsey and junior middle linebacker/offensive lineman Harley Stary said in unison Friday night.


"It could have been in Illinois," Harley said.

Where they found themselves Friday night was in the middle of somewhere familiar, Hoffman Estates.

Or Conant's home base at Charlie O. Feutz Field.

Cougars coach Bryan Stortz's club defeated visiting Wheeling 41-7 behind a highly efficient and productive Ramsey (7-of-8 passing, 169 yards passing, 2 touchdowns; 3 carries, 60 yards rushing) and a ferocious Stary, who set a terrific tone on defense with a fourth-and-1, tackle-for-loss on Wheeling's first possession.

The host school, which led 28-0 at the break, triggered a running clock after taking a 41-0 lead at the 2:30 mark of the third quarter.

Sturdy senior running back Dominic Mininni (18 carries, a game-high 102 yards) added a pair of short rushing TDs -- the first two tallies of the warm night -- in the Mid-Suburban League crossover featuring 1-0 clubs.

"We don't have a star-studded team," said Stortz, who noted his team traveled to downstate Lacon (located two hours south, in Marshall County) for its getaway. "What we do have is a ... team, a true team with players who don't care who gets credit for our success.

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"And we have contributors all over the place."

Wheeling (1-1) was coming off a 58-7 defeat of Round Lake in Week 1. The Wildcats set the program mark for points in a game, with senior running back Simon Micula scoring a Wheeling-record 5 TDs.

Conant (2-0) limited the 6-foot, 215-pound Micula to 20 yards rushing on 10 carries Friday night.

"That's a very good team, a very well-coached team," Wildcats coach Peter Panagakis said. "Anytime you play an MSL team, you're guaranteed a tough game, a true test. We'll look at film, learn, regroup."

Conant senior running back Cody Biedke scooted for a 6-yard TD run at 8:01 of the second quarter, upping the advantage to 20-0.

Three-way threat Connor Minogue performed admirably on offense, defense and special teams for Conant, picking off a pass as a defensive back, rushing for a 4-yard TD as a running back and providing superb field position via his returns. He scampered for a 2-point conversion, too.

Ramsey's TD tosses landed in the hands of junior RB Cooper Hanson (10-yarder) and junior wideout Lennon Johnson (33-yarder).

Ramsey found senior tight end Michael Kennedy for a 59-yard connection in the second quarter.

Wheeling got its lone TD from senior RB Gavin Stanke on an 18-yard run with 5:47 left.

Wildcats senior QB Anthony Marchetti rushed for a team-best 40 yards on 15 keepers.

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