CHICAGO – The first career touchdown run for Dylan Hodges is guaranteed to be the shortest TD run of his career. The next time he touched the ball, the Sycamore junior had what could end up as the longest touchdown run of his career.
The 1-yard and 92-yard scoring runs in the second quarter got things rolling for Sycamore in the Spartans’ 28-6 win over Simeon on Saturday at Gately Stadium in Chicago.
“I’m just thinking, run as fast as you can,” Hodges said of the longer of his two runs. “I was looking behind my shoulder a little bit, saw my guys, then just run as fast as I can. I can get some water after, but finish this run and we’ll be good.”
Sycamore (2-0) faced second-and-8 from its own 8-yard line with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. The Spartans were coming off a 13-play, 50-yard drive the series before, then held the Wolverines (0-2) to their second straight three-and-out.
Hodges took the carry around the right side and once he got through the line there were only defenders behind him as he outraced everyone to the end zone to give Sycamore a 14-0 lead.
“It felt great, but there was also great blocking up front,” Hodges said. “I went clean through the line and just ran. That’s just great teamwork.”
“I’m just thinking, run as fast as you can. I was looking behind my shoulder a little bit, saw my guys, then just run as fast as I can. I can get some water after but finish this run and we’ll be good.”— Dylan Hodges, Sycamore football player
Simeon gave the ball back to the Spartans with less than a minute left. Quarterback Burke Gautcher found Carter York open for a 40-yard strike, but Sycamore had an ineligible man downfield and the touchdown was waved off.
Hodges ran six times for 110 yards.
“He’s a track kid. He went down to state. He’s not slow,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “And dadgummit, if we didn’t have that lineman downfield it’s 21-0 at half. But they want to keep giving me gray hairs I guess.”
Simeon has started the year with two big challenges, falling 12-6 to Wheaton Warrenville South in Week 1.
“We had two tough teams,” Simeon coach Derrick Hunter said. “We played fairly well, but we’ll do better next time.”
Sycamore started the third quarter with a scoring drive capped by a 2-yard run by Diego Garcia. Simeon answered with its only scoring drive of the game.
Hunter put Kaleb Sims in at quarterback in the second half, shifting first-half starter Keshawn Parker to receiver. Hunter said he liked the way the move worked out in sparking the offense.
The Wolverines had to punt on that initial drive, but Colton Sharpness dropped the punt and Simeon recovered at the Sycamore 17. After a defensive hold in the end zone, Te’shon McGree punched it in from the 8 with 2:20 left in the third, cutting the Sycamore lead to 21-6.
After getting a stop, the Wolverines started on their own 8 and ended up at the Sycamore 17, but Landon Egler sacked Sims to end the threat on fourth-and-5.
“I think we played OK. We could have played better,” Hunter said. “I think it could have ended up 14-6 instead of 28-6. Two touchdowns we gave away, kids weren’t in the right position to make a play, tackling how they should be. But we’re going to be better.”
Sycamore tacked on its final touchdown with 1:04 left, feeding a steady dose of sophomore fullback Cooper Bode until Tyler Curtis broke off an 18-yard run up the left side.
The Simeon defensive line has NCAA Division I prospects Christopher Burgess and Mikeshun Beeler, but the Spartans still rushed 45 times for 312 yards, with Curtis running for 66 and Garcia 70.
“We didn’t have the size, but we definitely had the heart,” Hodges said. “I think we did a great job blocking those guys up front. Everybody did what they needed to do, and that’s what happens.”