Lawson's 96-yard kick return helps Hoffman Estates rout Niles West
After his Hoffman Estates team earned their first win on the season at Elk Grove last week to even its mark to 1-1 on the young fall campaign, not even a few minutes after the postgame handshakes with the other team coach Tim Heyse turned his immediate focus to his team's week 3 foe, Niles West, led by former Schaumburg standout Nick Torresso.
The Wolves had put a combined 83 points on the scoreboard in wins over Thornton and Morton that gave them a 2-0 start to their season.
"It's going to be fun," Heyse said. "Nick was at Schaumburg forever. I got to know Nick and had a good relationship with (him) and when (he) started over that program (at Niles West) a few years ago, they came over to our place every year in the summer. (We've) worked with them and he's doing a great job over there. He has those kids playing hard (and) playing disciplined. There's bright things there for Niles West, so hopefully we're up for the challenge."
Which was a sentiment shared by Torresso during pregame warmups.
"They're good. They're very good," Torresso said.
By the time the final seconds had ticked off the scoreboard at Mike Basrak Stadium, it was Heyse who was pleased with his unit's response as the visiting Hawks left Skokie with a 47-17 victory in week one of the two round crossover series between the schools of the Mid-Suburban and Central Suburban Leagues Friday night that left both squads at 2-1 on the season.
The game's turning point came with just 5:32 left in the opening quarter, after the host school took a 3-0 lead after compiling a 14-play, 51-yard drive that resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Gabriel Filipczuk.
On his ensuing kickoff, Hoffman junior RB Matt Lawson fielded the football at his 4 and then proceeded to take it back 96 yards to give the Hawks a 7-3 advantage it would not lose. Hoffman built a 21-3 lead at the break on a 29-yard Nate Cleveland TD pass to Stephon Sellers and a 3-yard QB keeper by Cleveland in the second.
Then, the duo of Cleveland and Sellers hooked up on a pair of scoring strikes (64 and 29 yards) over the first 1:42 of half number two thanks to a pair of muffed kickoff returns by the Wolves. Cleveland (12 of 23, 226 yards) then tossed his fourth TD pass of the night to Lawson from 24 yards out to give Hoffman a 40-3 lead entering the fourth.
"We saw on film that (they) hadn't seen a passing attack as effective (as ours)," Heyse said. "They had played two teams that (didn't) throw (the ball) that much and we can throw the ball."
The Wolves would finally find pay dirt in the final stanza with touchdown jaunts by Aidan Delisi (6 yards) and Krystian Robinson (3 yards) while a 6-yard Landon Ford scoring run closed out the Hawks scoring.