Lincoln-Way East fans bubbling over visiting ’brook
By Hannah Kohut For Sun-Times Media September 29, 2012 4:26PM
Updated: November 1, 2012 6:28AM
The mood at Lincoln-Way East’s homecoming game Friday night was electric, and very loud. And for good reason. The Griffins were going head-to-head with Bolingbrook, last year’s Class 8A state football champion.
Both teams went in undefeated at 5-0, and Lincoln-Way East fans rallied strong around their Griffins, starting with the sophomore game.
“We won 49-20 earlier today (against Bolingbrook),” Louie Yasin, a 15-year-old sophomore football player from Frankfort said as he watched the varsity team march down the field. “The first half wasn’t that great, but then we dominated.”
Yasin said a lot of the team’s momentum came from the pep rally earlier in the day.
“People go crazy,” Yasin said. “We’re going to come out on top.”
Olivia Neri, a 15-year-old sophomore from Frankfort, is on East’s pom team and was equally pumped up after a day of rallying.
“This is a great year for East,” Neri said. “The pep rally was outstanding, then the sophomore win just makes it all better.”
Brandon Siaj, a 16-year-old junior from Mokena, said he’d been ready for the game between the Herald-News’ two top-ranked teams all week.
“Everyone feels good about Lincoln-Way,” Siaj said.
Well, not everyone. A group of football players from Sandburg High School in Orland Park came to scout their opponent for next week.
“We’re excited to play (Bolingbrook),” Mark Manning, a 17-year-old senior at Sandburg, said. “They’re definitely a challenge, but we like challenges.”
That excitement may have dimmed with East’s 42-19 dismantling of the Raiders.
Regardless, many East fans said the Griffins were a team of winners — on and off the field.
“I know all these boys because my son used to play with them in the Burros Football League,” Marty Gramont, 53, of Mokena said. “They have a real good defense this year, and their quarterback (Tom Fuessel) is a beast.”
John Kruzel, of Frankfort, said he came out to watch what he calls a “great football team.”
“My son is in the Frankfort Falcons (football league),” the 46-year-old Kruzel said. “He really likes to watch these high school kids play. My son (who is in fifth grade) is excited to go out for this team some day.”
Jeff Folgers said he was also there, as a Burros parent, watching what he calls his son’s future team. Folgers said the atmosphere and energy from the community give the Griffins the inspiration they need to succeed.
“The community really supports these kids,” Folgers said. “This football team is the lifeblood of the community.”
Casey Hossa of Mokena was at the game to support his daughter, junior Jessica Hossa, and the Griffins pom team, but agreed with Folgers about the community atmosphere.
“I really think it’s the legacy of Lincoln-Way football,” Hossa said. “They create a positive reaction, for how they treat the game, and how they act outside the game. This is just a great program.”