PLAINFIELD – With the fall season settling in and wind gusts of 20 mph Friday at Plainfield North, the wind blew in favor of the Tigers and their quarterback JD Ekowa as they defeated District 202 rival Plainfield Central, 49-7, in Southwest Prairie play.
“I thought we executed really well and got off to a fast start,” North coach Tim Kane said. “I’m really proud of our kids. With homecoming week and the distractions, and with playing a crosstown rival, our kids stayed focused.”
Ekowa (4 for 8 passing, 149 yards) got the homecoming excitement started right away by scoring on the Tigers’ first offensive play on a 25-yard run.
The senior quarterback then led his offense to the end zone on the following three possessions with a 1-yard quarterback sneak, a 48-yard pass to senior wide receiver Zach Jarosz and capped it off with another 1-yard sneak to put the Tigers (4-2, 3-1) quickly up, 28-0.
“He’s been getting better, better and better each week and it’s really good to see him run the ball,” Kane said of his quarterback. “He has been throwing the ball quite a bit early, and now he’s getting more comfortable running the ball more.”
After a Wildcats punt in the second quarter, the Tigers kept the momentum in their favor with running back Tyler Hoosman (16 carries, 71 yards) setting up a drive with runs of 28 and 12 yards, putting the Tigers on Central’s 15 yard line. From there, Carlos Baggett (four carries, 30 yards) ran it in from 15 yards out to make it 35-0.
“When I saw what the wind was like, I wanted to get up early,” Kane said. “We talked to the kids about getting the momentum early and get some scores on them.”
The Tigers continued their offensive dominance on the final drive of the first half, with Ekowa targeting tight end Kyle Speas (two catches, 68 yards) on a 42-yard gain. Two plays later, Hoosman dove into the end zone, making it 42-0.
To end the second quarter, Central (0-6, 0-4) did have a bright spot when quarterback Cameron Cercone (who filled in for an injured Marcus Hayes) threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nate Graves (three catches, 70 yards).
“Our attitude has to improve,” Wildcats coach John Jackson said. “Our desire has to improve. I’m not used to this and we have to buckle up and work hard. Within the coming week, we’ll have to regroup.”
To put the finishing touches on the night for North, junior Kevin Block had an 80-yard kick return for a touchdown. From that point, a running clock was enforced and the Tigers cruised through the second half, getting an early start to their homecoming celebrations.