Stevenson grits out tough victory over Mundelein
A large crowd turned out to watch Stevenson host Mundelein for its homecoming on Friday night. The stakes were high as either the Mustangs would remain undefeated and become playoff-eligible or the Patriots would break a two-game losing streak to get back over .500. The latter of those scenarios played out, and the Patriots can breathe a little easier after a tough 10-3 victory.
"We've got our season back on track," said Patriots running back Frank Costabile, who paced his team's rushing attack with 57 yards on 12 carries. "It feels amazing. We have the momentum going into the next game. Just nothing stopping us right now."
The first quarter featured no scoring, and the second had very little of it. After a Maddux Hermestroff punt was downed at the Patriots' 1-yard line, the Mustangs (4-1, 2-1) recovered a fumble at the 16-yard line but only got a 32-yard Kristian Garcia field goal out of it. The Patriots (3-2, 1-2) then took the lead on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Aidan Crawley (9 of 18, 112 yards, 1 interception) to Armand Burris (62 yards on 4 receptions) on fourth-and-goal. That 7-3 score held at halftime.
The game's only other score was a 24-yard field goal by Caden An late in the third quarter. After that, it became a game of possession and field position. The Patriots had the ball last and were able to hold onto it until the clock hit zero.
Punts and penalties were the name of this game. Many possessions ended with the teams kicking it back to each other, and flags were thrown like they were going out of style, continually backing the teams up and slowing the game down. Three Patriots touchdowns were taken off the board by penalties. Otherwise, the final score would have been a lot more lopsided.
"We made plenty of mistakes," said Patriots coach Brent Becker. "But I think the speed of the game is just kind of a normal North Suburban Conference football game and back and forth a little bit. We knew Mundelein was going to be a tough opponent, so a great conference football game."
Mustangs running back Brody Paluch had 11 touches and ran for 49 yards. Quarterback Danny McNelly completed six of 14 passes for 40 yards and threw 1 interception. On what turned out to be the Mustangs' final possession, McNelly suffered a leg injury and turned things over to backup quarterback Griffin Troha, who threw one pass, which fell incomplete.