FLOSSMOOR — Midway through the first quarter, Lincoln-Way East quarterback Sean Walsh wildly overthrew an open receiver.
A few plays later, however, an unfazed Walsh threw a dart to Trey Johnson for a touchdown.
On the first play of the second quarter appearing on its way to a score, a bad snap on a wildcat formation led to a near 20-yard loss for Lincoln-Way East.
Merely seconds after that, Walsh dropped back and hit Max Tomczak for a 22-yard touchdown.
And while the offense overcame missteps to succeed, the defense punished throughout to allow Lincoln-Way East to catapult itself to an 31-0 SouthWest Suburban Conference victory over longtime rival Homewood-Flossmoor on Friday.
Although the offensive attack for Lincoln-Way East (2-0) may have been up and down, the Griffins’ defense was fairly rock steady throughout. Virtually nullifying Homewood-Flossmoor’s standout running back Sean Allen, H-F was forced to attack through the air.
Although the Vikings (1-1) were able to find a way to move somewhat successfully between the 20-yard lines, the Griffins defense steeled up on the few occasions that the Vikings threatened to put points on the board in the first half.
“Defensively they made some plays there, and we bent but didn’t break, and we’ll take that,” Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. “But anytime you come over here and play one of [coach Craig Buzea’s] teams and as a good as they are and as good of schemes as they run and come out of here with a shutout, you have to be happy with it.
It didn’t get any better for H-F in the second half. The Griffins continued to meticulously pick apart the Vikings, largely through the air as Walsh would connect for a third touchdown to Ben Ritter and Connor Kubic would add a rushing touchdown in the late portion of the third quarter to cap the scoring.
Walsh finished with 202 passing, and his favorite target, Tomczak, hauled in six passes for 111 yards, including a score.
“I thought that if H-F watched the Bolingbrook game last week that they were going to come out and try to stop Jamal no matter what, watching the game that he had last week,” Tomczak said. “I knew if they succeeded in that even a little bit, we were going to throw the ball and we needed to be ready for that.”
Johnson did get the running game on track after the break and finished with 88 yards rushing, helping establish the offensive balance the Griffins lacked in the uneven first half.
“Sean Walsh grew as a quarterback tonight and our receivers did a very nice job as well,” Zvonar said. “You don’t want to be a one-dimensional team and when someone takes something away from you, you want to be able to go to something else and I think we did that overall tonight.”
The win put the Griffins in full control of the conference race, as they’ve now toppled their two biggest rivals in succession to start the season.
“You go against our two biggest rivals in the conference through the years and you come out 2-0 and you feel pretty good about where you are it,” Zvonar said. “I don’t know if its official or unofficial, but there’s no state championship so we’re playing for a conference championship and we’re in the driver’s seat and that’s what we wanted to say after Week 2.”