Evergreen Park picks off North Chicago
By Bryan Bonato For Sun-Times Media October 27, 2012 9:16PM
4A First-Round Results
No. 1 VOISE Academy 30, No. 8 Marshall 15
No. 4 Payton 49, No. 5 Brooks 14
No. 7 Evergreen Park 23, No. 2 North Chicago 7
No. 6 Richmond-Burton 41, No. 3 Harper 32
No. 1 Alleman 49, No. 8 Manteno 26
No. 4 Stillman Valley 49, No. 5 Plano 28
No. 2 Coal City 27, No. 7 Peotone 20
No. 6 Geneseo 17, No. 3 Sandwich 0
No. 1 Macomb 21, No. 8 Quincy Notre Dame 19
No. 5 Peoria Notre Dame 38, No. 4 Prairie C. 27
No. 2 Rochester 43, No. 7 Mahomet-Seymour 0
No. 3 Charleston 55, No. 6 Bloomington CC 10
No. 1 Harrisburg 44, No. 8 Herrin 6
No. 4 Columbia 57, No. 5 Mt. Carmel 22
No. 2 Alton Marquette 28, No. 7 Waterloo 21
No. 3 East Richland 29, No. 6 Mater Dei 23
Updated: November 29, 2012 6:38AM
Surely at some point this season, Dan Hartman used the expression “pick-six” while talking to his players at practice.
But no way was the Evergreen Park coach talking about THIS kind of pick-six — six interceptions in a game.
Yet on Saturday in Round 1 of the Class 4A playoffs, Hartman’s Mustangs put into practice what their coach preached, picking off six passes, forcing eight turnovers overall, and adding a safety in a 23-7 thumping of host North Chicago that moved the winners into the Round of 16 and a match-up at Richmond.
North Chicago finished 7-3, but had its season completely unravel in the final two weeks, starting with a 62-0 beatdown against Lakes in Week 9 and continuing with Saturday’s embarrassing showing.
“The defense played great. They’ve played well all season but they really stood out (Saturday),” Hartman said. “They fought hard when the offense couldn’t get the chains moving.
“Kudos to them. They bailed us out (Saturday).”
The game was scoreless until the final 24 seconds of the first half. That’s when Evergreen Park’s Jack Lyon picked off a JaVairius Amos-Mays pass and took it 69 yards for a TD for a 7-0 halftime lead.
“For us to get a pick-six, that changed the momentum of the game,” Hartman said. “We were really kind of down at that point because we weren’t able to move the ball, so that pick-six really gave us some energy going into the second half.”
As it turned out, neither Amos-Mays nor Evergreen Park’s defense were done.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Amos-Mays threw to Evergreen Park’s DaQuad Gatewood, and the linebacker returned it 34 yards for a score for a 14-0 lead.
North Chicago then fumbled the ball away in the red zone, but finally got to within 14-7 when Amos-Mays (11-of-22 passing, 111 yards) hit Jamero Shelton from 28 yards out.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Warhawks got the ball inside the 10, thanks to a good Mustangs punt coupled with a North Chicago personal-foul penalty. On fourth down, North Chicago’s center airmailed the snap out of the end zone.
Evergreen Park tacked on a 7-yard TD pass from Brandon White (5-of-13, 92 yards) to Mike Reuter. White also ran 22 times for 23 yards.
“We talk about details all the time. The first four weeks (all wins), we were dialed in on the details,” North Chicago coach Glen Kozlowski said. “We got sloppy in Week 5 and started turning the ball over and were never able to correct. That’s something we’ll have to get better at.”
This was North Chicago’s first playoff appearance since 2006. Evergreen Park lost in the 2011 quarterfinals.
Hartman saw his team get just 124 yards in 48 minutes of play.
“Hats off to their defense,” Hartman said. “That’s one of the best defenses we’ve played all year, and that’s saying something. They were getting after it. They attacked the ball and really got after our QB.”