Minooka defeats Plainfield North to move to 6-0 on the season
Last updated 10/9/2019 at 4:22pm
Entering Friday night's crucial Southwest Prairie West match-up, Minooka was ranked No. 7, in the Associated Press Class 8A state rankings, while Plainfield North, were looking to bounce back, from a heartbreaking, 14-13 SPC West loss No. 8- Oswego last week.
Led by senior quarterback, Seth Lehr (11-for-14, 193 yards, TD; 82 yards rushing), Minooka (6-0, 2-0) posted scoring drives of 88, 81, 74, 80 and 68 yards to for a 34-0 victory and spoil Homecoming 2019 for Plainfield North (4-2, 0-2).
The Tigers received the opening kickoff, took almost half of the first quarter and faced a fourth and three at the Minooka 15-yard line.
In the words of the late Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, for the Tigers, it was "de'ja' vu all over again."
Late in the first half of last week's loss at Oswego, Tiger running back Nate Simpson, fell short by one inch on a fourth and four play at the Oswego 46. After stopping the Tigers' on downs, Oswego marched 54 yards and scored the only touchdown of the first-half.
Against Minooka, Marcellus Moore (six carries, 47 yards; 3 catches, 37 yards), was stopped one inch shy of the crucial first down.
After the key stop on Moore at the 12, the Indians marched 88 yards on 13 plays and senior Noah Ellens (18 carries, 76 yards), scored the first touchdown of the night, crashing in from the two-yard line. A bad snap led to an Indian PAT failure, for a 6-0 lead.
Minooka junior quarterback Josh Davis' 30-yard run down to the Tiger 10 yard-line, replacing Lehr, for one play, was the highlight of the scoring drive.
Scoring drives of 81-yards on just five plays and 74-yards on eight plays, in the second quarter, gave the Indians a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Lehr's 54-yard pass to senior Connor Etzkorn (7 carries, 33 yards TD, one catch, 54 yards) set up Jake Kellams 3-yard scoring run, with 8:37 left in the half.
Lehr hooked up with Etzkorn for a 34-yard reception, which highlighted the Indians 74-yard scoring drive, right before halftime. Etzkorn, on the eighth play of the drive, would rumble in from the five and junior place-kicker Mason Spivey's PAT, made it 20-0 Indians at the half.
"We really played well tonight," Etzkorn said. "Our offensive line was outstanding and the defense did their job."
The Indians leading pass receiver, Trent Hudak (six catches, 119 yards, TD), caught three Lehr passes for 61 yards of the Indians', 8-play, 80-yard scoring drive to open the second half.
Lehr's picture-perfect 27-yard scoring strike to Hudak made it 27-0 Indians with 9:26 left in the third quarter.
"Seth is the best," Hudak said. "His 27-yard touchdown pass to me was pure perfection."
A mutual-respect society between the Lehr-Hudak, deadly passing combo.
"Trent is the best," Lehr said. "All I have to do is just get the ball near him and Trent will go get it. We played great tonight. My offensive line made the offensive go. Our defense was outstanding and our special teams were outstanding as well."
With 10:20 left in the game, Indian junior Jake Wingerter (three carries, 29 yards, TD), scored from three yards out to conclude a 68-yard, 10 play, Minooka scoring drive.
Chris Carpenter, Jake Shipla, Dylan Meyer, Ryan Doody, Mike Susnar and TE Mike Zito led the way for 257 Indian rushing yards. With Lehr's 191 passing yards, 468 total yards of offense were posted by the undefeated and state-ranked Indians.
Kellams, Wingerter, Steven Gonzales, Zach Grayson, Mason Cave, Tommy Burrs, Ernesto Ramirez, Sam Beck, Drew Gutknecht and Nick Schultz, completed the shutout of the explosive Tiger offense.
Ramirez picked up another interception and Indian DE Kellams had a big quarterback sack.
"We were really concerned about their outstanding speed and went out tonight, to not allow any explosive plays, "Minooka coach John Belskis said. "Zero explosive plays. We played great tonight, in all three-areas.
"I felt that our stop of Plainfield North on their first drive of the game, was key tonight. If they would have scored on that drive, it could have been a different game. Football is truly a game of inches."
For the Tigers, senior quarterback Adam Smith, completed seven of his 13 passes for 79 yards. Simpson would rush for 49 yards on 10 carries.
Cooper Bridges (two catches, 21 yards), Tobenna Enyi (two catches, 21 yards) and Simpson (one catch, 20 yards), led the way for the Tigers, with pass receptions, Friday night.