After an 0-2 start to the season, Maine South gets in the win column
Last updated 10/2/2019 at 2:14pm
At Maine South, championships are the expectation.
Since taking over the program in 2001, head coach David Inserra has won four championships the most recent coming in 2016.
"I owe it all to the coaches," Inserra said. "Whenever we have adversity, we try and grow from that and we will just keep coaching the boys and not letting them take a easy route out."
This year, the Hawks started 0-2 for just the fourth time under Inserra.
In the three previous occasions, the Hawks went 7-0 the rest of the season, making the postseason every year. In the 2010-11 season after starting 0-2, Maine South defeated Mt. Carmel to win the Class 8A state title.
"We don't let our kids hang their heads," Inserra said. "When you start off 0-2, it's just about next game, next game and next game."
Trying to avoid a 0-3 start on the 2019 season, the Hawks got off to a shaky beginning, going down 6-0 on the first play from scrimmage at Fremd.
A 74-yard touchdown pass put the Hawks down early, but then marched right back down the field 89 yards where senior Western Michigan commit Ryan Kilburg scored from a yard out.
Not only have the Hawks started off 0-2 on the season, but also they had to compete with a quarterback who only had eight practices under his belt.
Senior running back Dan Lazic took over quarterback duties just a week before the match up against the Vikings, due to an injury to junior quarterback Luke Leongas.
To fill the void at running back, Kilburg is playing the position for the first time since sixth grade.
"Those two are obviously very talented," Inserra said. "And for them to come out and do this against a very good team with very little practice was special."
With Lazic rushing for 147 yards on 27 carries and Kilburg, who normally starts at receiver, rushing for 174 yards on 16 carries, the Hawks never trailed after the 6-0 start.
After the 89-yard score by the Hawks, sophomore running back Michael Sajenko scored to put the Hawks up 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The Vikings tied the game at 14-14 on a 1-yard touchdown run, but Kilburg again had an answer.
A 67-yard scoring run put the Hawks up at halftime 21-14.
"We don't quit here," Inserra said. "I've always tried to instill that into my team."
The Hawks opened the second half with a 10-play, 72-yard drive, capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Lazic.
The Vikings eventually cut the lead to 28-21, but Sajenko scored on his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to cap off the win.
From running the table in years past after the slow start, Inserra added that the next game mentality is something he and his staffed have always preached, but not looking ahead or comparing the current season to past seasons.
"Making sure the guys stay disciplined and only worrying about what we can control is the most important thing," Inserra said. "2019 is a new season, so past years won't help out what we're currently trying to achieve this year."