Plainfield N. ends Minooka’s playoff hopes
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 13, 2012 12:50AM
Minooka's Joseph Carnagio (9) fumbles the ball into the hands of Plainfield North's Collin Holt as he is tackled during the first quarter of their football game in Plainfield Friday, October 12, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Player of the game
Plainfield North senior linebacker Brett Fox caught an 11-yard touchdown pass, intercepted a pass, had a huge sack and recovered an onside kick.
Updated: November 15, 2012 6:33AM
Minooka was keen on keeping its playoff hopes alive in Friday night’s Southwest Prairie showdown at Plainfield North.
However, the host Tigers were coming off a 35-7 loss to Oswego in a game in which they felt they hadn’t played well. And they also needed that sixth victory to guarantee their spot in the playoffs.
Senior wide receiver Kendall Interial returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and senior linebacker Brett Fox led a staunch defensive charge as No. 9 North survived 28-20.
Minooka (3-5, 3-3) never led but never was buried. The Indians had crawled back to within 14-10 late in the first half, and with the help of penalties stifled a threat by North (6-2, 5-1) that ended in a fourth-and-47 situation. They returned for the second half with momentum, but Interial took care of that.
“It was a great back-and-forth game,” North coach Tim Kane said. “Our guys showed a lot of courage and perseverance, and Minooka never quit. It seemed like every time we scored, they came back and scored.
“But Kendall’s kickoff return was a huge momentum burst. He showed great balance on that play. He was just about knocked down.”
“If we don’t turn the ball over early and they score off it, and then the kickoff return, those are the two plays I’m remembering,” Indians coach Paul Forsythe said. “The thing is, our kickoff coverage has been great all year. Take away those two plays and it’s a football game. Two mistakes had a huge effect.”
Minooka dug an early hole when quarterback Joe Carnagio fumbled after a 15-yard gain and North’s Collin Holt recovered at the Indians’ 24. Four plays later, senior quarterback Kurt Palandech hit Fox for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Minooka retaliated with a long drive but had to settle for Jacob Stytz’s 22-yard field goal and a 7-3 deficit.
Back came the Tigers marching 65 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown drive that was kept alive when linebacker Troy Mello’s interception was erased on a defensive holding penalty. Palandech hit Brock Thoms on a 14-yard touchdown pass for a 14-3 lead.
Minooka’s turn. The Indians needed four plays to go 60 yards with Nate Gunn scoring from 22 yards out to make it 14-10 with 2:38 left in the half.
After Interial’s return of the second-half kickoff, Thoms continued to win the field position battle for North. On the night, he dropped punts on the Minooka 7-, 12-, 4- and 6-yard lines.
The Indians scrambled back to within 21-17 on Gunn’s 15-yard burst early in the third quarter, capping a six-play, 71-yard march. But the running of Palandech and junior Robert Baker (who replaced area rushing leader Jay Roberts when he suffered a thigh bruise), Fox’s sack that forced Minooka into a Stytz 28-yard field goal that got the Indians to within 28-20 with 7:43 left, Fox’s recovery of the ensuing onside kick and interceptions by Fox and Palandech sealed the victory.
Palandech was 11-of-20 passing for 128 yards, with Thoms catching four for 53 yards. Baker had 62 of his 66 rushing yards in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to be aggressive, but it’s a tough thing against a quarterback that athletic and mobile,” Forsythe said of Palandech. “But our defense was outstanding. We did not let them run the ball.”
“Their defense did play very well,” Kane said. “Baker came in and did some things after Jay got the thigh bruise. He hides little bit behind our tall linemen.”
For Minooka, Carnagio was 13-of-17 passing at one point but went 1-for-12 the rest of the way. He threw for 218 yards, with Max Brozovich grabbing four for 114 and Luke Stovall having five receptions for 71 yards.