SOUTH ELGIN – South Elgin’s defense was up to the task Friday night.
Facing a talented Glenbard South offense averaging 42 points in its first two games, South Elgin’s defense limited the Raiders to just one trip to the end zone during its 35-7 Upstate Eight Conference football triumph in South Elgin.
“It’s a real challenge to stop a team like this with multiple Division 1 threats on offense,” said Storm coach Dragan Teonic, whose team improved to 3-0. “To be able to hold them to only seven points is one heck of a night.”
Led by linemen Omari Larson, Cody Doolin, Eduardo Ramirez and linebackers Alex Rios, Rocco Cataldo, Axel Bernal and Salvi Macaluso, the Storm defense held elusive Raiders senior tailback Trevor Burnett to 60 yards on 15 carries.
“Our defense was so great,” said Macaluso. “Burnett is a great player, but we fought hard and stuck with it. We want our guys at the ball 90 percent of the time every single play.”
“We were relentless,” added Teonic, whose team won the turnover battle, 4-0, highlighted by a pair of interceptions from Jordan Jones. “They couldn’t get the edge on us.”
South Elgin grabbed an early 7-0 lead as Mason Montgomery (12 carries, 204 yards) took a pitch from sophomore quarterback Jake Sullivan and raced 24 yards down the sideline for a touchdown at the 6:50 mark of the opening quarter.
The Storm added a pair of second-quarter touchdowns within a 3-minute span — the first on Montgomery’s 28-yard misdirection run before Sullivan tossed an 8-yard TD strike to Joey Viverito to make it 21-0 with 28 seconds left before halftime.
The Raiders (2-1, 2-1) broke the ice with: 0.5 remaining in the half on a 25-yard TD pass from Michael Champagne (16 of 23, 137 yards) to Cam Williams (5 catches, 60 yards) to cut the deficit to 21-7.
However, the Storm broke the game open with a pair of short TD runs by Sullivan (24 carries, 129 yards) in the third quarter.
“When you play a triple option offense like South Elgin and they’re so well-coached with it, if you don’t play disciplined football, you get that result,” said Raiders coach Ryan Crissey.
Crissey felt his team lost the game at the point of attack.
“Their defense is stout,” he said. “They just play so fast, and they had a great game plan against us. They won the game on both sides of the line.”
Despite the Week 3 setback, Crissey feels confident moving ahead.
“I didn’t say one word after the breakdown,” he said. “Some of our senior captains — Connor Murphy, Trevor Burnett and Sam Scullion — all stepped up right away and started talking about using it as motivation moving forward.”