SENECA – After missing a week of play due to a forfeit by Westmont, the Seneca Fighting Irish were in no mood to mess around entering a Chicagoland Prairie League game against conference foe Elmwood Park.
The Irish (4-0, 2-0) compiled 562 yards of total offense, including a whopping 438 in the first half alone, to completely suffocate the Tigers (0-4, 0-2 CPC) by a 60-point margin of 73-13 Friday evening in Seneca.
“The offense played well all night, and we’ll look back and see if we did the little things well, but I’m pretty happy with the things I saw on offense,” Seneca coach Terry Maxwell said. “Could’ve been better with our pass defense, but we’ll take a huge win like this after missing a game last week.”
On the first play of the game, senior Asher Hamby took the opening kickoff and rambled 82 yards to paydirt to start the Irish onslaught in grand fashion.
“I just followed the seam, and we had a lot of blocking downfield,” Hamby said. “It was the path I had, and I took it.”
The Tigers countered quickly thereafter with an 81-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Fritz to Isaiah Gomez at 10:23 to tie things up.
But senior quarterback Nathan Grant (71 yards rushing) would respond with a 20-yard touchdown run moments later to give the Irish a 14-7 lead that helped begin Seneca’s 405-yard overall effort on the ground.
“We believe in what we can do running the football,” Grant said. “Tonight we showed it again after a tough week off.”
Senior Nathan Neal (54 yards rushing) would chip in with a 40-yard touchdown scamper at 5:08 to put the Irish in front 21-7. After the ensuing kickoff, senior Lane Provence tackled Elmwood Park’s Johnny Baratta in the end zone for a safety, which put Seneca ahead 23-7.
Hamby (83 yards rushing) would follow with a 42-yard touchdown run at 3:52. The Irish offensive juggernaut was in full gear now up 31-7 after a two-point conversion from Grant to senior Kysen Klinker, who hauled in the pass.
After a failed attempt on fourth down deep in their own territory, the Tigers surrendered the ball. Seneca responded quickly, as Grant targeted junior Paxton Giertz (89 yards receiving) with a 24-yard scoring strike at 1:21 to put the home squad ahead 38-7.
“I decided to read the corner, and my quarterback (Grant) made a great throw,” Giertz said. “Our linemen produced some great protection, Nathan got me the ball, and we were rolling.”
Indeed they were. However, the Tigers scored on another long pass of 72 yards from Fritz to Jose Garcia with 34 seconds left in the first quarter that ended the opening frame with Seneca ahead 38-13.
The second period was just as good for the Irish, scoring four more times.
Junior Nick Grant rambled home for a 7-yard touchdown run at 11:25. Nathan Grant followed on a 9-yard scamper at 7:32 followed by a 1-yard touchdown blast from senior Nate Othon at 4:13 to put the Irish in front 59-13.
Junior Brody Rademacher then raced 71 yards to the house with 1:41 left in the second quarter to give Seneca a monstrous 66-13 lead at halftime. The Irish scored on every possession in just 27 plays.
“It was a great half of football for sure for us,” Giertz said. “All that was left was to finish things out.”
With a running clock in the second half, Seneca tallied one more time in the third quarter on Othon’s second touchdown run at 7:36 from 7 yards out.
“This was a huge game for us after being off a week,” Giertz said. “Now we’ve got to keep it going and show what a great team we are.”