8/24 7:30 H
Week #4 vs.Frankfort
(Lincoln-Way East) 4-0
Griffins Out Fly Eagles
Orland Park – The Lincoln-Way East Griffins left Orland Park Friday night the same way they arrived: undefeated. The Griffins thoroughly dominated Sandburg, handing the Eagles a 30-0 loss.
With the shutout, the Griffins’ stingy defense has allowed just 9 points in their first four games. The defense intercepted three Sandburg passes and did not allow any big plays in game where Lincoln-Way East set the tone early.
The Griffins scored on their first possession of the game, relying on running back Kyle Oskielunas (7 carries, 32 yards) to get them deep into Sandburg territory before half back Gus Olofsson pounded the ball into the end zone for a 1-yard score.
Sandburg’s ensuing drive started strong. Junior running back Mike Anthony made a spectacular catch at midfield, gaining control of a ball in mid stride after failing to make the initial grab. A few players later, Anthony (18 carries, 74 yards) ran the ball to the Lincoln-Way 34 yard line. Sandburg continued the ground attack but came up empty when a 42-yard field goal attempt fell short.
The first quarter came to a close with Lincoln-Way leading 7-0, but the Griffins special teams came up big early in the second quarter, blocking a Sandburg punt and recovering the ball at the Sandburg 11 yard line. One play later, Griffins quarterback Anthony Kropp (11 of 22, 194 yards, 3 TDs) hit wide receiver Joe Mau in the end zone for the second TD of the game.
Sandburg’s offense started strong on its next possession. Anthony broke off a 23-yard run to bring the Eagles close to midfield. But Gersi Hoxha picked off Eagle QB Ryan Baise on the following play. The pick was the first of three on the night for Baise (8 of 20, 144 yards.) The three interceptions combined with Lincoln Way’s containment of Anthony were keys to the win.
The Griffins were unable to convert the blocked punt into points, and following a punt the Eagles took over at their own 14 yard line.
On perhaps their most impressive drive of the night, Sandburg found some success by combining the running and short passing games.
A third-down pass to Anthony got Sandburg close to midfield. Halfback Jim Clendenning (11 carries, 41 yards) carried the ball twice to pick up 9 yards. Anthony got the call on fourth and one and picked up the first down, putting the Eagles on the Lincoln-Way 46 yard line. But the drive was extinguished when defense back Al Mau intercepted a Baise pass and took it into Sandburg territory.
Lincoln Way went on the attack following the interception.
Kropp hit Joe Mau on a six-yard pass play to move the Griffins to the Sandburg 28 yard line. He then found running back Andy Gerritsen (7 carries, 28 yards) on a pass to the 16 yard line. Sandburg’s defense hung tough the next two plays, preventing Lincoln Way from gaining a yard. But on third down, the Griffins scored when Kropp hit Hank Johnston for the touchdown. The PAT gave Lincoln Way a 21-0 lead entering the half.
Lincoln Way’s defense continued to frustrate the Eagles in the second half. Sandburg’s first possession of the half was halted when Anthony was stopped for a one-yard loss on a fourth-and-one play. Lincoln Way took over at Sandburg’s 48 yard line and eventually settled for a 30 yard field goal and a 24-0 lead.
Late in the third quarter, the Sandburg offense briefly came to life as Baise completed a pass to the Griffins 27 yard line. Two plays later, however, Baise was sacked. On third and 12, he scrambled out of the pocket, forced a pass into coverage and was again intercepted by Al Mau at the goal line.
Lincoln Way completed it scoring in the fourth quarter with the longest pass play of the night, a 78-yard touchdown pass from Kropp to Joe Mau, his second of the contest. Lincoln Way failed to convert the two-point try.
After a Sandburg possession, Lincoln-Way relied on its ground game to keep the Sandburg offense off the field. The Eagles finally got the ball back with about 4 minutes left, but by that time the Griffins had wrapped up their fifth victory in the last six meetings between the two teams.
By Bob Rakow
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-Sandburg HS (official)
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