Al Hindi runs wild as Lakes hangs on against Grant
Thursday night football in Fox Lake offered a bit more action than the NFL version.
While Lakes got its run game rolling after a slow start, Grant went through some wild swings of offensive success.
Trailing 21-11 with six minutes left, the host Bulldogs erupted for a quick touchdown drive, then got the ball back and drove from their own 16 to a first down on the Lakes 15-yard line with 51 seconds left.
Grant quarterback Rylan Art was pressured, started to run and had the ball knocked away by Lakes LB Payton Rodriguez. Amir Al Hindi recovered the fumble and the Eagles had clinched a tense 21-18 victory in the Northern Lake County Conference.
Lakes (4-4) kept its playoff possibilities alive, with one game left against Grayslake Central next week.
Al Hindi had a huge day with 35 carries for 226 yards. He said it was a season-high, but not a career-high.
"The big boys up front got locked in," Al Hindi said. "We wouldn't be able to do it without them. I give all the credit to them, they're the ones making those nasty blocks in the trenches. I don't want them going uncredited."
Quarterback Max Bausch added 78 rushing yards for the Eagles, and they converted an occasional clutch passing play, with Tyson Dewey hauling in 7 catches for 50 yards.
The game started with three punts, but Grant finally broke through on its second drive with a 44-yard run by Pryde Mendoza. The drive stalled inside the 10, so Ayden Sheppard came on to boot a 25-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs up 3-0.
By Lakes' third possession, the running game began to roll. The Eagles moves 80 yards in 10 plays, capped by an Al Hindi 12-yard run. Lakes followed with a 68-yard drive, with Al Hindi pushing in from the 1 to make it 14-3 with 7:54 left in the second quarter.
Starting at their own 5-yard line in the third quarter, the Bulldogs didn't go conservative. Art pump-faked and hit Mendoza deep for 36 yards. Art used a couple of outside runs to move downfield. Then even after getting pushed back twice by holding penalties inside the 5-yard line, Grant converted on fourth down. Art faked a jet sweep, then went 4 yards up the middle for the touchdown. A 2-point reverse pass trimmed the lead to 14-11.
Art and Mendoza, both juniors, were a solid combination. Mendoza carried 19 times for 144 yards. Art had 88 yards rushing and 104 passing. First-year Grant coach Tim Norwood said the Bulldogs have just two seniors on offense.
"That's just kind of where we've been at in the year, inconsistent," Norwood said. "We do really good things at times, but other times we haven't strung together four good quarters. We're trying to work on executing. I think when we played with tempo, that helped us quite a bit."
Grant gained possession near midfield with a chance to take the lead, but couldn't move the ball. After a punt, Lakes went mostly ground and pound for a 65-yard scoring drive, though a key play was an 11-yard reception by William Haak on third-and-10. Al Hindi's third TD run made it 21-11 with 6:14 left.
Grant started with good field position after the kickoff and the offense came to life, moving 55 yards on just 5 running plays. Mendoza's 11-yard run brought the Bulldogs within 21-18 with 5:01 remaining.