After a blowout loss to Oak Park and River Forest High School in Week 1, Fenwick High School football coach Matt Battaglia vowed his team would get better.
For the most part, the Friars have. While pleased with a 33-15 homecoming victory over De La Salle Sept. 16 at Triton College, Battaglia is looking for more consistency.
“We won the first half but lost the second,” he said. “The last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten off to fast starts, but right around halftime we start to let it slip. We’ve got to clean that up.”
Fenwick (2-2, 1-0 in the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference White Division) started fast, marching 77 yards on nine plays for a touchdown with quarterback E.J. Hosty doing the honors with a 1-yard sneak. Kicker Luis Avalos’ point after gave the Friars a 7-0 lead at the 9:19 mark of the opening quarter.
After the defense stopped De La Salle (1-3, 0-1) on downs in the red zone, Fenwick went 81 yards on 11 plays and hit paydirt again when Hosty (12-of-22, 176 yards, 2 TD, INT) found Jalen Williams (3 receptions, 72 yards) over the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.
“Jalen is really quick,” Hosty said of the junior wide receiver. “He’ll blow right by you, and he’s been catching touchdowns for us all year.”
The play of the game occurred on the De La Salle’s next possession. One fourth down the Meteors attempted a fake punt, but the pass deflected into the hands of Fenwick defensive lineman Mirko Jaksic, who rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 Friars lead.
“I just read the play. The ball was tipped and it came right to me,” Jaksic said. “I blacked out and ran as fast as I could and got into the end zone. It probably won’t hit me until I watch it on film, but it feels good.”
Late in the first half, Hosty threw his second touchdown strike, a 9-yarder to Michael Caccitolo to give Fenwick a 27-0 halftime lead. Hosty then tacked on another 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to conclude the Friars’ scoring.
However, De La Salle got on the board twice in the final quarter on a fumble return by Evan Smith and a 15-yard touchdown run.
“We got a little lackadaisical with the football, and that just can’t happen,” Battaglia said. “We’ve got an opponent coming up [Loyola Academy] that’s not going to show much mercy if you don’t protect the football.”
The Friars travel to Wilmette to meet the Ramblers, one of the Chicago area’s top programs, on Sept. 24.
Lyons Township downs OPRF 38-13
After spending the first three weeks of the season away from Oak Park Stadium, the Oak Park and River Forest High School football team played its home opener against Lyons Township High School on Sept. 16.
The Huskies led early, but two costly turnovers in the second quarter turned the tide for good as the Lions rolled off 31 consecutive points en route to a 38-13 West Suburban Conference Silver Division victory.
In the first quarter, OPRF quarterback Jack Gooch (11-of-22, 99 yards, 2 INT) tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Martin — the eighth time this year that the duo has connected for a score.
However, late in the second quarter, fumbles by Eric Evans and Gooch on consecutive possessions swung the momentum towards LTHS. Gifted short fields, Lions quarterback Ryan Jackson threw touchdown passes of 7 and 10 yards to give LTHS a 17-7 halftime lead.
Two more scores by the Lions (4-0, 2-0) in the third quarter put the game away. Lemer Burnett had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Huskies (2-2, 0-2).
OPRF was held to 187 yards of total offense. Evans led the Huskies in both rushing (11 carries, 82 yards) and receiving (3 catches, 38 yards). On defense, Sam Gray had a team-high 11 tackles, including two resulting in losses.
The Huskies will try to get back into the win column Sept. 23 when they visit Hinsdale Central.