NEW LENOX – Lincoln-Way West’s seniors have done an excellent job leading the program.
Running back Donte Barber and quarterback Greyson Grimm are the backbone of the Warriors and the duo needed a solid game to compete with a solid Simeon squad at home Saturday.
Barber and Grimm delivered solid performances, but it was not enough in a 48-35 loss in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs. The 11-0 Wolverines will host 10-1 Nazareth Academy in next week’s quarterfinals after the Roadrunners claimed a 49-14 win over Hersey.
Things started off great for the Warriors (8-3) as Barber took the first play from scrimmage up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown.
“Donte Barber has been here for
four years. I can’t remember the last time I coached a team and he wasn’t on it,” Lincoln-Way West coach Dave Ernst said. “When we went to the state championship game in 2015, he was the backup tailback, and now he’s gone. It’s sad.”
He was memorable in his final game, rushing for a team-high 96 yards and adding three receptions for 21 yards.
The Wolverines were able to match Barber and the Warriors’ offensive output step for step, however.
Quarterback Alante Brown, a Michigan State commit, showed why he is headed to the Big Ten. Brown fired four touchdown passes and ran for a 43-yard score. His touchdown passes were for 30, 70, 15 and 7 yards. Two of those passes came on fourth down and were crippling blows to the Warriors.
“The kid is going to Michigan State for a reason,” Ernst said. “He’s good.”
Despite Brown’s outstanding the game, the Warriors were in the game the entire way.
Aidan Tyk returned a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter. Caleb Marconi punched in a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and the Warriors took the lead against Simeon late in the first half.
The Warriors took advantage of a blocked punt and scored on a trick play. Barber took the snap and handed to Nicholas Gula who threw a 5-yard touchdown to Grimm giving his team a 28-27 lead headed into halftime.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the Wolverines’ talent shined in the second half. Brown scored a rushing touchdown to recapture the lead and Kenshawn Bragg stepped in front of a Grimm pass and took it back for a 37-yard touchdown to go up two scores.
The Warriors continued fighting as Grimm marched them down the field for a touchdown. The drive culminated on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Billy Dozier, who made an acrobatic catch in the end zone.
But on the next drive, Simeon’s Deangelo Hudson busted through the Warriors’ defense for a 67-yard touchdown dashing the home team’s hopes.
While the game didn’t end the way Lincoln-Way West would have liked, there was still a lot to be proud of.
“I’m proud of our guys. We played hard. That’s a really good team. We just had so many injuries here that got us down the stretch,” Ernst said. “Not to take anything away from them, they’re great. They had so many weapons, but we fought the whole way.
“Right up to the last part where they were taking a knee, our guys were playing as hard as we could. It would have been easy to get down two scores and pack it in, but we fought the whole way.”