Lincoln-Way West slaps the ‘D’ on Lincoln-Way Central
By Dick Goss email@example.com September 1, 2012 2:18AM
Lincoln-Way Central quarterback Jeremy Wilson gets a pass off under pressure from Lincoln-Way West's Matt Soraghan and Josh Hilt during their football game in New Lenox Friday, August 31, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
of the Game
Lincoln-Way West linebacker
Wychocki forced two fumbles and had a tackle for loss in leading a defense that allowed 69 total yards.
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:21AM
The third time was the charm.
Or in this case Friday night, the third turnover in rapid succession to open the second half pretty well decided things.
Lincoln-Way West linebacker McKenna Wychocki separated the Lincoln-Way Central back from the ball, and as happened in the first half, safety Andrew Gray dived in to make the fumble recovery.
This time, a Lincoln-Way West offense that had turned the ball over on each of its first two possessions in the second half marched 65 yards in 13 plays to extend its lead to 20-9, and the Warriors were on their way to a 27-9 victory in the district battle before about 4,000 fans at West’s packed stadium.
Rich Kruis scored three touchdowns on short runs and Nick Dangles ran for 69 yards in 21 carries against a tough Central defense, while junior quarterback Justin Keuch completed 10-of-21 passes for 97 yards, including five to Adam Slattery for 62. But this one belonged to the defense, which limited the Knights to 69 total yards, minus-9 with no first downs in the second half.
“They played well defensively and we played poorly on offense,” Central coach Brett Hefner said. “Our defense was on the field too much.
“Our defense got a couple of turnovers early in the second half and we couldn’t capitalize. We did some things well last week (in a 28-27 overtime win over Lincoln-Way North) that we didn’t do well tonight, and when you have a veteran group like we do, that’s frustrating.”
“The first win feels great,” West first-year coach Dave Ernst said. “I’m proud of our guys for bouncing back (after last week’s 19-13 loss at Sycamore). We made some mistakes, but our defense bailed us out twice there in the second half.”
Central’s Nick Bechtold intercepted a pass to open the second half and on West’s next possession, Matt Schneider recovered a fumble. But the Warriors defense held on each occasion. Yet to come were a sack by West linebacker Jake Bohne, a sack by defensive end Josh Hilt and a tackle for loss by Wychocki.
“The big thing for us was to play like a team defensively,” Wychocki said. “The defensive line kept the blockers off the linebackers so we could make plays, and the secondary shut down their passing game.”
Wychocki said he has lots of friends on the opposite sideline.
“I love all my Central friends,” he said. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take the opportunity to knock the football from their grasp.
“I’ve got to give it to my defensive line,” he said of ends Hilt and Nick DeAngelis and tackles Matt Soraghan and Keegan McShane. “They held the offensive guys off me so I could make the hits. And I definitely have to thank Andrew Gray for getting on those fumbles.”
West led 14-0 and was dominating until Central marched 89 yards in 10 plays for its only touchdown in the second quarter, a drive helped by a huge pass interference penalty against the Warriors. Moments later, West’s bad snap on a punt resulted in a safety and the Warriors’ 14-9 halftime lead.
Momentum seemed to be with the Knights to open the second half, but West’s defense had other ideas.