JOLIET – Things started with a rush of excitement
Friday night at Joliet Central.
The Steelmen scored on their first two possessions and forced a Sandburg fumble in between as they raced out to a 13-point lead in the SouthWest Suburban Blue battle.
However, Sandburg came back to score twice to take a 14-13 lead after one quarter and wound up putting 55 straight points on the board en route to a 55-19 victory that kept the Eagles tied with Homewood-Flossmoor atop the league standings.
“What you saw out there early was not a fluke, we did not run any trick plays,” Central coach Brett Boyter said. “We executed our fundamentals.”
Jomarre McNair caught a deflected pass from quarterback Zach Wisneski and took it to the end zone to complete a 38-yard play that gave the Steelmen (0-6, 0-4) an immediate lead
After Jeremy Fennewald recovered a Sandburg fumble, Wisneski hit McNair for a 36-yard scoring strike and the 13-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Steelmen still were within 21-13 at halftime, but things went south in the third quarter, which ended with the Eagles (5-1, 4-0) in command, 41-13.
After Sandburg tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Ernest Grant scored the final Central touchdown from a yard out with 11 seconds remaining. He finished with 142 yards in 25 attempts after having a modest 25 yards at halftime
“Ernest Grant gives this team a boost,” Boyter said. “He has worked so hard. He has the discipline to get the job done.
“He had a very good night, but I also have to give credit to the guys in the trenches. Yes, Grant runs hard, but he needs some holes to run through and our line did that tonight. We are making strides. Our quarterback [Wisneski] is progressing, and tonight he made some very good decisions. We had no turnovers.”
Boyter said he was proud of the way his team stayed in the game and was able to come back and score at the end.
“We did not quit,” he said. “But at times, we had some lapses of who was to play where, what are my duties and responsibilities? The effort was there and that is why I love coaching these kids. They are giving it their all on the field, they are invested in each other and they are invested as a team. That means a lot.”