VERNON HILLS – Conant appeared to have a clear game plan in mind for this Thursday battle of the Cougars. The visitors launched an Antonio Ramsey showcase from the start.
On Conant’s first offensive snap, the senior wingback took a pitch 81 yards down the visiting sideline for a touchdown. Conant’s second possession was a Ramsey 11-yard run, 29-yard reception and 2-yard touchdown run.
Conant rolled to a 49-14 victory in this Mid-Suburban, Central Suburban crossover game, improving to 4-0 on the season.
“I really didn’t know I was getting the ball early,” Ramsey said. “We had a bad week of practice, so we just tried to get back to it. We just wanted to go full-speed and work as hard as we can.”
When Ramsey scored on a 30-yard run in the second quarter to put the visitors up 35-14, the Vernon Hills p.a. announcer joked that fans should check to see if they started Ramsey on their fantasy teams this week.
Ramsey’s final numbers were seven carries for 189 yards, plus the 29-yard reception. He also plays cornerback on defense and had an interception on a long pass attempt.
“He’s an awesome kid, the epitome of what you want in a kid, on and off the field,” Conant coach Bryan Stortz said. “He really could be our quarterback, but for the betterment of the team, we use him in so many different spots, we feel like we need to reward him for the leadership he’s shown the other guys.”
Conant’s offensive front of Ricardo Rodriguez, Harley Stary, Jonathan Gorski. Nicholas Mahnke and Jash Patel isn’t the biggest group, but on this night, they were getting in front of the sweeps and clearing plenty of room. Fullback Dominic Mininni added 97 yards on 10 carries up the middle.
“They’re not the biggest guys, but they work the hardest,” Ramsey said of the linemen. “I’ve got to give it all to them. I can’t do my job without them. They lead our team, they’re leaders. They’re relentless, they never give up.”
After gaining 103 yards on 13 carries in the first half, VH senior running back Ben Choi spent the second half seated on the bench with an ice pack on his right leg.
Vernon Hills (0-4) lost one of its two-way playmakers, junior Anthony Martorano, to an apparent ankle injury late in the first quarter.
Vernon Hills didn’t have much luck throwing the ball and had some drops on potential big gains. Left-handed quarterback Nolan Lazor finished the night 12 for 32 for 111 yards.
After the opening kickoff, Vernon Hills was on the verge of going three-and-out, but a pass interference penalty kept the drive alive and the offense moved 54 yards on six running plays to take an early 7-0 lead on Jack Pristas’ 2-yard run. A 44-yard TD run by Choi knotted the score at 14-14 with 2:19 left in the first quarter.