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By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Minooka looks to end Oswego's SPC run

 

Last updated 10/24/2019 at 4:17pm



Over the last eight-plus Southwest Prairie Conference seasons, Oswego High School has won eight consecutive SPC football championships.

In that time period, the Panthers have amassed a 66-2 SPC record.

The only Panther SPC losses were to Plainfield North 12-7 in 2011 and 37-25 in 2015.

On September 28, the Tigers almost did it to the Panthers again falling 14-13.

On Friday night, at historic Ken Pickerill Stadium on the campus of Oswego High School, the Panthers (8-0, 4-0) will shoot for their ninth consecutive SPC football championship.

Standing in the way of the Panthers will be the undefeated Minooka High School (8-0, 4-0).

In the revamped SPC, with the addition of Yorkville and West Aurora, the Indians and Panthers, were part of the six-team SPC West. Plainfield North and Oswego East, along with the new additions of Yorkville and West Aurora, comprised the new SPC West Division.

Returning 17-starters from their 2018 Minooka squad that went 7-3 and lost in a first-round game, to eventual Class 8A State champion Loyola Academy; we all knew the Indians, would be special in 2019.

Before the 2018 season, Hall of Fame head coach John Belskis forecasted the success.

"We will start 17 juniors in 2018. I believe we will be very good in 2018,” Belskis said before the season, “I believe in 2019, we will be in position to make a run, for the IHSA Class 8A State Football Championship.”

Along with Hall of Fame associate coaches Terry McCombs and Bob Williams, the 2019 Indians, have been special.

The Indian offense is led by senior quarterback Seth Lehr.

Lehr has completed 71 of his 108 passing attempts for 1,123 yards and nine touchdowns. Lehr can run, too, as evidenced by his 50 carries for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

Impressive numbers, especially with having missed two-plus games due to injury.

Senior halfback Noah Ellens has rushed for 751 yards and nine touchdowns. Ellens has also hauled in 13 of Lehr’s tosses for 145 yards and a touchdown. Senior Connor Etzkorn has rushed for 220 yards and has seven rushing touchdowns to go along with eight catches for 118 more yards.

Senior wide receiver Trent Hudak has been Lehr’s favorite receiver with 27 catches for 521 yards and eight touchdowns. Se

nior wide receiver/defensive back Steven Gonzales has caught 20 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Doody 6-1, 290 pounds; Mike Susnar 6-3, 275 pounds; Dylan Meyer 6-2, 245 pounds; Chris Carpenter 6-2, 250 pounds and 6-foot-3 275 pound Jake Shipla, comprise the massive Indian offensive — that’s 1,335 pounds of offensive line.

Toss in the hard-blocking, 6-2, 210 pound tight end Mike Zito and Minooka has one of the best O lines in Illinois.

Indian defensive coordinator, Williams’ defense has held their nine opponents to just 7.5 points-per-game.

The Indians defensive has been led by DE Shipla and FS Zach Grayson, who are Indian co-leaders in tackles, with 54.

Shipla has four sacks and 10 tackles for losses. LB Mason Cave, DT Gutknecht and DB Ernesto Ramirez, who has four interceptions, have been key performers in Williams ‘ 3-5-3 defensive alignment. Ramirez’s had a pick six against Oswego East.

Oswego is led by their junior quarterback Cole Prade who has completed 75 of his 117 passes for 1,048 yards. Pradel has throw 11 touchdowns and suffered six interceptions.

Senior Jack Lemke (33 catches, 658 yards, 7 TD) and junior Ben Hampton (22 catches, 300 yards, three TD) are Pradel’s favorite targets.

Senior Connor Laird ( 383 yards, five TD) and junior Beau Miller (236 yards, 3 TD), lead the Panther ground attack.

Junior DE Anthony Cikauskas, has seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss among his 29 tackles this season. OLB Evan Brown, leads the Panther with 68 tackles, which included seven tackles for losses.

By the Numbers

2019 MINOOKA-OSWEGO COMPARATIVE SPC WEST SCORES

Oswego 14 Plainfield North 0

Minooka 34 Plainfield North 0

Oswego 40 West Aurora 21

Minooka 27 West Aurora 13

Oswego 14 Oswego East 3

Minooka 24 Oswego East 7

Oswego 28 Yorkville 20

Minooka 19 Yorkville 10

OFFENSE/DEFENSE

Minooka 8-0 Overall 35.16 ppg; OP 7.85 ppg

Oswego 8-0 Overall 29.25 ppg; OP 10.75 ppg

Minooka SPC West 4-0 26 ppg; OP 7.50 ppg

Oswego SPC West 4-0 24.1 ppg; OP 14.2

The Indians have lost eight consecutive games to Oswego, last beating the Panthers in 2010.

 

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