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Football: Stagg eclipses Hillcrest 28-14

Stagg's Tyler Mackessy (17) catches pass for touchdown as Hillcrest's Reginald Williams defends Monday September 2 2013. | Allen Cunningham/For

Stagg's Tyler Mackessy (17) catches a pass for a touchdown as Hillcrest's Reginald Williams defends, Monday, September 2, 2013. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 4, 2013 6:20AM



Stagg’s Tyler Mackessy doesn’t look like the prototypical wide receiver.

When coach Mike Fahey calls his 5-foot-8 senior “a gamer,” though, the description is spot on.

Mackessy came through with two huge conversion catches and had a touchdown grab that sealed Stagg’s 28-14 win over Hillcrest in Country Club Hills.

The game was played Monday morning after being postponed both Friday and Saturday.

“It’s all on the coaches because they have coached me up all year,” Mackessy said. “They put me where I need to be, and (quarterback) Adam Pilota puts the ball where it needs to be so I can go up and get it.”

Mackessy finished with three catches for 80 yards, all of them key in Stagg’s season-opening win.

With the score knotted at 14, the senior converted a huge fourth-and-7 in Hillcrest territory to open the fourth. Pilota’s throw was high, but the 5-foot-8 receiver went up and got the ball.

Two plays later, Pilota found Dennis Egan for a 5-yard TD strike, putting Stagg up 21-14.

“All summer long Adam and I practiced, even after practice now,” Mackessy said. “We play catch, run the routes. It’s just a good chemistry.”

With Hillcrest on the verge of scoring, Josh Cazley (20 carries, 128 yards) fumbled at Stagg’s 5-yard line, with Chargers linebacker Ryan Slager falling on the ball. Looking to ice the game, Pilota and waves of Charger running backs kept the ball moving downfield.

The biggest play, though, came from — who else? — Mackessy, who converted a third-and-10 with a leaping catch among three defenders. The grab was good for 35 yards.

Running a fade route in the end zone, Mackessy capped the drive with a 27-yard touchdown catch to seal the game with 1:20 remaining in the game.

“This win puts us in a very good position,” Mackessy said. “We’ve got to come out and play (against Oak Lawn), and that’s who wins the game.”

Pilota finished an efficient 6-of-8 for 127 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a 5-yard score in the second quarter.

For Fahey, Stagg’s first-year coach, the win was a big one.

“I try to put my heart and soul into Stagg football,” Fahey said. “We had to find our way through the early parts of the game. We made some nice second-half adjustments, got some mojo and confidence going.”

Austin Kelly busted free for a 54-yard rushing score for Stagg to open the third quarter.

For Hillcrest (0-1), Devonta Brewer finished 7-of-21 passing for 109 yards and a TD (3 yards to Trent Stephens).

The game marked the debut of Hillcrest coach Mike Leavy, who was named coach when Earnest Sutton was fired this summer in the wake of a DUI charge. Sutton, the Hawks coach from 1999 through 2012, was fired from Hillcrest as a dean in August.



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