Palatine cruises past Hoffman Estates to clinch MSL West title
This time Palatine won't have to share.
Palatine came up with a pair of key defensive stops and Dom Ball ran like a man possessed as the Pirates cruised past Hoffman Estates 30-7 Friday in Palatine. The win clinched the Mid Suburban West for the Pirates (8-1, 5-0).
Palatine beat Hoffman last year in the final game of the season. But that win only earned Palatine a tie for the MSL West title as both teams had one loss, so they become co-champs.
"We are undisputed with the win here today," Palatine coach Corey Olson said. "I am excited that we are able to put that hardware behind the glass in there. It will be there forever. This senior group of mine has been as good as any senior group I have had."
Hoffman Estates (6-3, 4-1), which had their six-game winning streak snapped, was playing without running back Quincy Williams who was forced to sit out due to disciplinary reasons.
Despite that, the Hawks offense was flying high in its first series. Hoffman drove to the Palatine 1-yard line. But on fourth down, the Pirates' Rocco Paddack knocked the ball away on a pass in the end zone.
Hoffman had another opportunity a few minutes later. The Hawks drove to the Palatine 27. But in another fourth-and-1 situation, the Hoffman pass fell incomplete.
It was all Palatine and Ball from there.
The junior, who does not have any Division 1 offers yet, busted off a 56-yard touchdown run. Ball got sprung by a terrific block downfield by wide receiver Nate Branch to make it 6-0.
"It was sour taste in our mouth after last year," senior Branch said. "It's what we wanted. So this was kind of a revenge game for us."
On the Pirates' next series, Ball scored again on a highlight 44-yard touchdown. This time he did it all on his own, breaking 4 tackles en route to the end zone.
Tommy Elter threw to Branch for the conversion and a 14-0 lead.
"I have had runs like this every game since I put on these pink socks," said Ball, who finished with 168 yards on 13 carries. "It's crazy. But they are not coming off."
Following an interception and 35-yard return by JD Wardle, the Pirates were back in business.
Palatine and Elter were able to convert a fourth and goal play for a touchdown as Elter found Andrew Danielczyk on a four-yard pass to mark it 21-0.
Another long run by Ball set up a touchdown for Palatine to begin the second half. Elter (12-of-16, 139 yards) tossed a 9-yard corner route to Tommy Cornelius to make it 27-0.
Hoffman got on the board late in the third quarter. Aidan Cyr (20-of-30, 134 yards) threw a five-yard slant pass to Stephon Sellers to make it 27-7.
Connor May booted a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Palatine to close out the scoring.
"That first quarter was the biggest thing," Hoffman Estates coach Tim Heyse said. "We were down there twice and didn't score. But we will regroup for next week and the playoffs."