Justin Kowalak returns to lead Crystal Lake South past Burlington Central

BURLINGTON – Crystal Lake South got its quarterback back and its third consecutive victory Friday night at Rocket Hill.

Senior lefthander Justin Kowalak returned from a leg injury to throw for 200 yards and the Gators gained 25 first downs as they defeated Burlington Central, 44-26, in their Fox Valley Conference football game.

South (3-2, 3-2 FVC) racked up 392 total yards. Kowalak completed 18 of 29 passes and threw for three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Cooper LePage, who has scored in every game, grabbed four passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Wide receivers Michael Prokos (six catches, 92 yards) and Brady Schroeder (four, 44) also had a touchdown catch apiece.

“We felt we should have won the first game of the year against Jacobs and then we lost to a very good Cary-Grove team,” Kowalak said. “We just tried to keep things together after a slow start. I also have great receivers which helps.”

Gators coach Rob Fontana praised his team’s passing game.

“Justin is a very good quarterback and we have great receivers,” Fontana said. “We lost two tough games to start the season, but we stayed together as a team.”

Junior running back Nate Van Witzenburg led the Gators’ rushing attack with 16 carries for 183 yards and TD runs of 87, 5 and 1 yard.

The opportunistic South defense recovered three fumbles and had two interceptions.

Burlington Central quarterback Shawn Adkerson led the Rocket offense with 106 yards on 16 carries and scored on runs of 4, 1 and 29 yards.