PLAINFIELD – After graduating several talented starters, Plainfield East’s football team has many new players filling big roles.
And those new starters had a few things to figure out in Friday’s season opener.
The Bengals showed some of the new talent but came up just short against Rich Central, losing, 24-23, in a nonconference game that went down to the final minute.
“We have a lot of inexperienced guys who have not played in a real game before,” Plainfield East coach Mike Romeli said. “When you have that, it takes a little while to get acclimated to a game.”
The Bengals found themselves down, 8-0, midway through the first quarter as Rich Central’s Deshawn Jones (17 carries for 115 yards) scored on a 66-yard run and got the two-point conversion.
After three straight three-and-outs, the Bengals got a bounce to go their way as the Olympians’ long snapper overshot the punter and East took over on Central’s 14-yard line.
The Bengals weren’t able to take full advantage of the field position, but they did get on the board as Kyle McMahan nailed a 20-yard field goal to make it 8-3.
East took the lead when senior quarterback Matthew Mazurkiewicz (12 of 29 for 124 yards passing) hit wide receiver Jacob Schramm (six receptions, 42 yards) for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Jones put the Olympians back in front on a 2-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Quarterback Demetrius Roebuck ran in the two-point conversion to give the Olympians a 16-10 lead at halftime.
“They’re fast,” Romeli said about Central’s speed. “It’s hard to emulate their speed in practice and show our defense that kind of speed with our scout team.”
East found itself down, 24-10, after Rich Central’s Franklin Hunt scored on a 66-yard punt return, but that was all the Bengals would give up.
A 3-yard scoring run by Troy Mayon (17 carries for 93 yards) and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Mazurkiewicz to tight end Dylan Koch (five receptions for 64 yards) put the Bengals within one point of tying the score. However, the extra point was wide right, and the Olympians hung on.
“I thought our kids played hard,” Romeli said. “I thought they were resilient and fought back to almost tie it up. After we missed the extra point, we didn’t really have a letdown – we just ran out of time.”