Onside kicks help Streamwood topple Elgin
After opening the 2022 season with Upstate Eight Conference gut-wrenching losses to Bartlett and Larkin by a total of 10 points, Streamwood coach Keith McMaster dug deep into his bag of tricks hoping to produce the Sabres' first win of the season.
Recovering an onside kick by kicker Toviel Peter Parayno, Streamwood had the ball on its own 42-yard line to start the initial drive of the game.
The drive lasted one play as Jaiden Thomas rambled 58 yards for a touchdown with only 4 seconds elapsed. Thomas converted the 2-point conversion and the Sabres led 8-0.
Thomas, who ran for 273 yards on 37 carries and scored 4 touchdowns, led the Sabres to a 40-28 win over Elgin at Memorial Stadium in UEC action Friday night.
"We had two really tough losses and the onside kick and the early touchdown set the tone and the dynamic for the game," said Thomas. "It gave us early momentum. We work on the onside kick and special teams for 30 minutes every day. My line was great and the other backs blocked well for me."
McMaster praised Thomas's effort.
"Jaiden was a man and was impressive tonight," said the Streamwood coach. "He did a whale of a job. I was proud of the effort. We didn't finish in the first two games. The defense was great when it had to. We showed a lot of poise when Elgin made a comeback. It was a great win."
After Thomas's early score, the Sabres (1-2, 1-2) recovered the ensuing onside kick.
John Ray scored from 4 yards outs and Streamwood led 14-0 with 8:29 left in the first quarter.
Thomas scored 2 more touchdowns in the first half and the Sabres led 28-6 at intermission.
The host Maroons (1-2, 1-2) didn't quit.
Elgin scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter.
Quarterback Jim Syrek scored from 8 yards out and followed with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Aquino.
Streamwood held a narrow 28-20 lead after three quarters. The Maroons couldn't get any closer.
Syrek completed 13-of-23 passes for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Streamwood recovered 5 onside kicks in the game.