L-W East stays in control, sends Providence packing
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org November 3, 2012 10:56PM
Lincoln-Way East fans had a great deal to cheer about in the first half of their game against Providence. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:35AM
If Lincoln-Way East is not the best team in the Class 7A state playoffs, you would have a difficult time convincing Providence Catholic.
The Griffins rode their quick-strike ability on offense and superb defense to a 16-0 halftime lead and never were seriously threatened Saturday night en route to a 24-14 victory over the Celtics in their second-round showdown in Frankfort.
East (11-0), avoiding a Round 2 ouster for the first time in five years, stays home for next weekend’s quarterfinal against Edwardsville.
The Griffins entered the war against their neighbors from New Lenox knowing what had to happen. As much of a wepon as senior quarterback Tom Fussel is, they could not fall into the trap of relying too much on him. And they knew they had to win the field position game with their defense and special teams.
Mission accomplished on all fronts.
Fuessel enjoyed his typically strong game, rushing for 84 yards and hitting 6-of-10 passes for 98. His 54-yard scamper set up his own 6-yard run for the first touchdown, and he hit Justin Corbett on a pass in the flat that Corbett’s speed turned into a 49-yard touchdown for the 16-0 lead.
Senior running back Nick Colangelo provided the ideal alternative to Fuessel, rushing for 164 yards in 20 carries.
“Nick had a great game,” Fuessel said of Colangelo. “Get him the ball and special things happen. He helped us beat a great defensive team, a great all-around team. We have a lot of respect for them.”
“Our offensive line is the best around,” Colangelo said. “They’re all all-staters in my mind.I’m blessed to play with them.”
East’s field position was such that the Griffins managed two safeties, the second on a Scott Kresel sack in the fourth quarter. Those four points became very important when Providence (8-3) tried to come back late on the passing combination of Dominic Lagone to sophomore Miles Boykin, who caught five for 87 yards.
Outside of those connections, however, Providence’s offense never could solve the East defense, spearheaded by linebackers Adam O’Grady, Kyle Langenderfer and Mitch Murphy. For instance, Celtics standout tailback Brandon Price was limited to 35 yards in 19 carries and had only two runs of more than 3 yards.O’Grady went over the top to stop Price for no gain on a fourth-and1 at the East 25 and end Providence’s only threat in the first half.
“Our inexperience at quarterback showed tonight in this type of environment and against that great a defense,” Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “It’s hard to get points when you’re never breaking any big plays.
“Even when we started getting the ball to Boykin, he’s a big threat, a big weapon, but that’s not our game plan. We want to run the ball and we couldn’t.”
East limited Providence to 59 total yards while establishing it sdominance in the first half.
“We were never more prepared for a game than we were this one,” O’Grady said. “I amost think we were overprepared. But there was never a doubt we could come out here and get it done.”
“Our kids worked very, very hard for 11 months to have a chance to compete in this game,” Griffins coach Rob Zvonar said. “They sold out for 11 months.
“I love them.”