Liaromatis a beast for Wilmington
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org October 7, 2012 7:42PM
Wilmington’s quarterback Sean Liaromatis throws a pass against Reed-Custer in the first quarter at Wilmington, Friday October, 5, 2012. | Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 9, 2012 6:10AM
The sign at Wilmington High School read “Beware of what comes out of the woods.”
Maybe Reed-Custer should have heeded the warning.
The Wilmington tradition is its football players run onto the field from the nearby forest on school property before the game. The host Wildcats came out Friday night and manhandled Reed-Custer 48-6 in an Interstate Eight Small contest.
What made the drubbing more significant for Wilmington, which now has five consecutive conference championships and 17 straight playoff appearances, was its quarterback continued to emerge as one of the school’s more talented and versatile athletes.
Playing against a team with only one victory — Reed-Custer’s only win was a 26-0 decision over Dwight on. Sept. 7 — it appeared as if Wilmington slacked off during the early part of the game.
With the Wildcats leading 6-0 in the first quarter, Reed-Custer’s Mark Harper scored on a 42-yard run to tie the score at the 8:51 mark.
That’s significant when you realize the Wildcats’ defense had a scoreless streak going for the past five weeks. That’s 20 quarters of football that opposing offenses hadn’t scored on the Wildcats.
Wilmington has outscored its opponents 241-19. Reed-Custer has been outscored 223-69.
“It’s always nice to keep a scoreless streak going, but there wasn’t really much pressure and what happened tonight happened,” Wildcats running back Chris Tworek said. “I don’t think it’s that easy because we have to focus on next week and then there’s the playoffs. I hope we can improve and do well.”
Wilmington coach Jeff Reents gave a coy smile when he talked about the streak, mentioning that people finally were starting to notice it last week. So wouldn’t you know that when people took notice of it, the streak ended.
Scoreless streak aside, Reents had high praise for Wilmington quarterback Sean Liaromatis, who apparently needs to decide sooner rather than later if he’s going to pursue football or baseball in college.
“He’s very good in the classroom, too, so he’s going to have some opportunities,” Reents said. “He’s one of those kids at a small school who does everything.”
Liaromatis downplayed nearly everything about the victory, but that’s the way he is. A three-sport athlete who also plays baseball and wrestles, Liaromatis is a humble kid who didn’t have much to say after the blowout.
He didn’t seem to mind that the scoreless streak ended, either.
“To be honest, I knew it was going to happen eventually,” Liaromatis said. “I didn’t feel (pressure), so I don’t think there was any.”
Liaromatis passed for 126 yards on 5-of-7 passing and threw for three touchdowns. He also rushed for 23 yards.
“He really took a step forward,” Reents said. “Even last year, as a junior, when he started to feel heat he would try to force something.
“But tonight it was great to see him take the ball and scramble and get a first down two or three times. Sometimes he would try to roll out and make something happen very fast. But now he’s patient and will wait for his receivers to get open.
“As Sean goes, we’re going to go.”
On the first play of the game, Reed-Custer fumbled the kickoff and turned it over to the Wildcats. In a sign of things to come, Comets receiver/defensive back Logan Zavala took a vicious hit and remained on the ground for a while. Zavala had to be helped off the field, but returned late in the first half. It was a foreshadowing of the physical pounding the Comets would take.
“I think the momentum definitely changed in our favor after that,” said Tworek, who rushed for 94 yards on seven carries, including a big 55-yard touchdown run.
Reents agreed, but added it was the Wildcats’ special-teams unit that should be given credit for the fumble — and even the game’s outcome. Special teams is something that has gone up and down for Wilmington in the past few years, but Reents and his staff have put a lot of emphasis on it.
“We’re having a lot of pride right now in our special teams and what they’re doing,” Reents said. “We’re very fortunate this year to have a lot of depth and some of our kids that maybe aren’t starting this year are on special teams and they’re making things happen for us.”
Five consecutive shutouts, another conference title and another state playoff appearance. How dominating can this team be?
“Dominating?” Liaromatis said. “That’s not the word I’d use. We just played as a team tonight. We just have to keep getting better at what we do: running and passing.”