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Lincoln-Way West in top football form

Updated: December 8, 2012 6:31AM



No one can accuse Lincoln-Way West of backing in to the Class 5A quarterfinals.

The Warriors, seeded No. 9, knocked off No. 8 Rochelle 35-0 in the first round on the road, then followed with a 31-15 spanking of No. 1 Kaneland on Saturday in the second round.

Success has not come by accident for West (8-3), which will host Joliet Catholic at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“This team plays harder than any high school team I’ve ever been around,” West coach Dave Ernst said. “The effort, anger and intensity these guys play with is something. We’ll look at tape from games and there are 11 of our guys on a pile.”

However, the Warriors’ aggressiveness has taken somewhat of a toll. West resembles the walking wounded in some regards.

Three players — defensive lineman Keegan McShane, offensive lineman Brennan Mulroe and defensive back Andy Hensel — are playing with torn knee ligaments.

“But everybody else (teams) is walking wounded, too,” Ernst said.

The Warriors have benefited from different players stepping up, such as running backs Javier Montalvo and Lavonte Blackful, who admirably have filled in for injured Nick Dangles.

Then there’s the maturation of defensive lineman Matt Soraghan. Now a senior, he entered the school as a 5-foot-6 freshman. He now stands 6-4, 200 pounds.

“His dad played in the NFL and is a monster, size-wise,” Ernst said. “Matt played only five plays all of last year. He’s put in so much effort. His best days are ahead of him.”

The Warriors will have their hands full Saturday against 13-time state champion Joliet Catholic. West, however, won’t be intimidated — not after competing mainly against 6A and 7A size schools during the regular season.

“Playing larger schools forced us to play at a higher level,” Ernst said. “It’s definitely helped us.”

Marist’s Weishar
lost for hoops season

Nic Weishar, a Division I football recruit at Marist, had shoulder surgery Tuesday and likely will miss the upcoming basketball season. Weishar averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds per game in 2011-12.



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