Lincoln-Way East flurry too much for Plainfield Central
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org October 27, 2012 12:38AM
Lincoln-Way East's Josh Maholovich breaks tackles and runs the ball in for a touchdown against Plainfield Central during their first round football playoff game in Frankfort Friday, October 26, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
OF THE GAME
Lincoln-Way East running back Justin Corbett set up a touchdown with a 23-yard run and scored on runs of 30 and 25 yards.
Updated: October 27, 2012 7:23PM
Plainfield Central took the first round of punches like a champion.
But the flurry Lincoln-Way East had yet to unleash resulted in a knockout before the first half ended in Friday night’s Class 7A opening-round playoff game in Frankfort.
The No. 1 Griffins (10-0) turned a bundle of big plays into a 47-6 halftime lead and rolled to a 47-22 victory. The result is a Round 2 home game against Providence.
“It’s always a rivalry game when we play those green guys down the street,” East running back Justin Corbett said.
However, Plainfield Central arrived in town with other ideas.
“We knew they would come out and throw their best punch, and they did,” East coach Rob Zvonar said.
East’s Moe Almasri set the tone when he picked up the rolling opening kickoff and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown. But No. 8 seed Plainfield Central (6-4) marched 70 yards in 12 plays, scoring on Jordan Ellingwood’s 5-yard run. Adam O’Grady blocked the extra point to keep the Griffins on top 7-6.
East responded with a 73-yard scoring drive. Corbett, who rushed seven times for 85 yards and two touchdowns, turned a second-and-20 into a first down with a 23-yard scamper, and quarterback Tom Fuessel went 29 yards on the next play for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead.
Central tried to rebound again, driving to a second-and-9 at the East 22. But Griffins safety Jarret Lecas stepped into a Mike Smiley pass, intercepted it in stride and returned it 85 yards to make it 21-6.
“We had a great week of practice and a good game plan,” Central coach John Jackson said. “We’ve been spotting people points all year, and all year we’ve fought back. But they’re a very good team, and that pick-six deflated us. They didn’t make mistakes and we did, and when we made a few, we got out of our game plan.”
Before the first half ended, East scored when Fuessel’s 29-yard pass to Austin Winkler set up Corbett’s 30-yard touchdown run, Josh Maholovich took a pass to the right flat, broke a tackle and went 56 yards for a score, Anthony Sciarini kicked a 32-yard field goal, the Griffins added a safety and Corbett scored from 29 yards out. Fuessel completed 5-of-8 passes for 112 yards and rushed for 55 yards, all in the first half as the East starters took the second half off.
The negative for the Griffins was running back Brian Casey suffering a broken right leg while blocking on Corbett’s 23-yard run that preceded Fuessel’s 29-yard TD run.
“Overall this game was what we needed,” Zvonar said. “We needed big plays from special teams and our defense, and we got them.
“We’re pretty healthy, which you always want at this time of year. But right now, we feel for him (Casey) and his family.”
Even with a running clock the entire second half, Central did score touchdowns on Ellingwood runs of 1 and 35 yards, and the Wildcats also added a safety. Ellingwood closed his outstanding career with 104 yards on 17 carries and the three TDs. Smiley completed 5-of-14 passes for 85 yards but was picked twice, with safety Brendan Sleeman pilfering one in the second quarter.
“We’re proud of our guys,” Jackson said. “The seniors have done an outstanding job. They worked hard to get to this point, and it has been an honor to coach them.”