Maine South tops Glenbrook South to clinch playoff spot
Usually when a team sets a goal, to achieve it is in response to having fallen short of that same goal in the previous year.
At Maine South, the goal has been for Dave Inserra's team has been the restoration of the football program to its usual place in the Central Suburban League as well as the area.
The Hawks sought to erase the bad memory of having to vacate its 9-win campaign from a fall ago due to the Illinois High School Association ruling the use of ineligible players who were deemed not to be residents of the school's boundaries.
After the Hawks put on a dominating performance in the first half, it would need to hold off a spirited Glenbrook South second-half rally to eventually triumph 45-36 Friday night in Park Ridge. The win earned them a return ticket to the postseason for the 37th time in school history after seeing their streak of 29 straight playoff berths end with the ruling.
"The first half we came out (and) scored (on) the first drive (and) that got us going real hot," Hawks junior QB Constantine Coines said of their sixth consecutive win that moved them to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in CSL South play.
"The second half we came out real flat. We didn't execute and that's how we let them back in the game which shifted momentum. In the end, we eventually got it back. (Our) defense got (a couple of) big stops and we finished it at the end."
The swing in momentum to which Coines referred to came after a 20-yard Mike Dellumo TD jaunt had the home team up 35-7 with 7:44 left in the third. Coines was 13 for 21 passing for 263 yards and had 16 carries for 50 yards rushing.
The strength of Titans senior running back Nate Canning (29 carries, 237 yards) whose 3-yard TD run plus a 20-yard TD catch from Adam Motoa pulled GBS (2-5, 2-1) within 35-20 just 58 seconds into the fourth.
It was there that the Hawks defense came through with a pair of big interceptions by Samuel Cooper and Tommy Naughton that gave them the cushion it needed to hold off the visitors with Naughton's becoming a 53-yard pick-six for a 45-20 lead with 4:49 left.
The Titans would add two more scores; a 12-yard James Dooman run plus a 14-yard Motoa TD toss to Joshua Sherman.
"Credit to them (GBS)," Inserra said. "They were going to give us everything they got. Moving forward and improving, you got to remember that they are high school kids. We talked about the first five minutes of the second half and obviously we came out and laid an egg in all three aspects (of the game). If we would've taken care of business in (those) first five minutes I think the game goes quickly."