SCHAUMBURG – Two years ago this week when the prep football season began on the final Friday in August, York and Schaumburg battled late into the night, needing an extra session to determine a winner.
On this Friday night, the visiting Dukes were able to shake off some early rust and a pesky Saxon squad to earn a 37-7 season-opening win at Gary Scholz Stadium.
“We knew this was an important game to get out on the right foot,” York coach Mike Fitzgerald said. “They did a great job. I think our defense really set the tone stopping the run, doing what they needed to do.”
York (1-0) got its offense going on its second possession after missing a 42-yard field goal try on its opening drive. The Dukes found pay dirt after an 11-play, 83-yard drive that saw senior running back Mark Schneider (17 carries, 106 yards) take it in from 10 yards out for a 7-0 advantage.
The Saxons evened things up with a successful 11-play drive of its own (71 yards) when D.J. Wilson found Daniel Uczarczyk on a 27-yard toss with 9:57 left until half.
Then, the Dukes took control of the game on their next offensive series when senior quarterback Colin Doherty found Charlie Specht on a 39- yard score that put the visitors from Elmhurst ahead to stay at 14-7 with 9:57 remaining in the first half.
After making it 17-7 on Max Hansmann’s 31-yard field goal, senior linebacker Jeff Coglianese’s block of a Saxon punt and subsequent scoop and score from 19 yards out put the Dukes ahead 23-7 with 2:35 left in the half. Fitzgerald labeled that score “huge” in regards to keeping game control.
“(It) got it rolling from there,” he said.
York then added to both its scoring and yardage totals in the second half as a third-quarter touchdown run by Doherty (16 yards) and a 6-yard scoring jaunt by Kelly Watson allowed it to amass 453 yards of total offense on the night.
Doherty (8 of 11 147 yards passing, 4 carries, 48 yards rushing) and his teammates felt more familiar with themselves as the game progressed.
“You go out there and you find the groove and you figure it out,” Doherty said. “We feel great and we feel supremely confident in what we can do.”
Junior running back Najari Williams (17 carries, 61 yards) paced the hosts who were without senior starter Takumi Fred who did not play due to a wrist injury.