OSWEGO – With time running out on the regular season, Minooka traveled to Oswego East on Friday night for a pivotal Southwest Prairie Conference game with playoff ramifications for the identical 4-3 squads.
Oswego East scored 17 unanswered points to secure a 17-8 victory and all but crush the Indians’ hopes at a postseason bid. Minooka sits at 4-4 overall and 2-4 in the SPC heading into the final regular-season game against Plainfield North.
“Every game is a must-win. We knew this was an important game,” Minooka coach Paul Forsythe said.
Minooka linebacker Kenny Kirkland gave the Indians an early spark when he blocked a punt by Oswego East’s Chase Bruns and returned the ball into the end zone. Quarterback John Carnagio connected with Jacob Adams for the two-point conversion, and Minooka tried to set the tone with an early 8-0 lead with 5:11 to play in the first quarter.
But for the remaining three quarters, the Minooka offense sputtered. Oswego East scored on a 28-yard connection from Jaylon Banks to Kaelub Newman to get within 8-7 early in the second quarter. Minooka held the slim lead until Bruns kicked a 36-yard field goal with 4:37 left in the third quarter, giving Oswego East a 10-8 edge.
The Indians recovered a late Oswego East fumble on the Minooka 7, but the offense moved the ball just 13 yards and turned it over on downs. Five plays later, the Wolves scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper for the final score.
“Defensively, it seemed like we were on the field the majority of the night,” Forsythe said. “Offensively, we struggled a little bit up front. We’d have a couple positive plays and get into a long situation – second-and-13 – and that’s tough to overcome. When we struggle up front and get into long situations, teams bring pressure That’s tough.”