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Offensive outburst propels Lincoln-Way East past Edwardsville

Lincoln-Way East defensive back Sean Doherty reacts after stopping an Edwardsville drive.  |  John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media

Lincoln-Way East defensive back Sean Doherty reacts after stopping an Edwardsville drive. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 12, 2012 6:40AM



Lincoln-Way East quarterback Tom Fuessel knew how to handle the situation when his first-quarter fumble helped Edwardsville take a 3-0 lead Saturday night in the teams’ Class 7A state quarterfinal.

“We just flush it, we forget about it, and we keep going,’’ he said. “If it gets in your head, it’s going to stay in your head the whole game. You’ve got to come out and make up for it. And that’s what we did.’’

Fuessel put his team ahead for good with a 69-yard scoring run on East’s next possession and he added two more touchdowns while rushing for 248 yards on 15 carries as a swarming defense helped the host Griffins put up 40 unanswered points in a 40-10 victory.

Lincoln-Way East’s semifinal will be at Benet, a 26-24 quarterfinal winner over Downers Grove North.

“We got some great blocks by our offensive line and our receivers,’’ Fuessel said of his first touchdown. “I don’t think I got touched. I just ran right into the end zone.’’

The offensive line of center Nick Allegretti, guards Ryan Weitendorf and Mitch Arvidson and tackles Nick Cocorikis and Tom Plunkett helped Fuessel also score on runs of 24 and 51 yards. The latter gave East a 26-3 lead in the third quarter.

Three plays later, Sean Doherty’s 25-yard interception return for a touchdown put the game out of reach and East (12-0) in the semifinals for first time since 2006, when the Griffins finished 12-1.

Linebacker Kyle Langenderfer led an aggressive group of defenders that pinned Edwardsville (10-2) in its territory most of the game.

“Hair on fire, water is the ball,’’ Langenderfer said of East’s approach. “You’ve just got to get there. That’s what we try to live by. It showed tonight with all the gang tackling.’’

Linemen Curt Olbrich, Mike Stachowicz, Scott Kresal, Sean Stewart and Tyrone Suggs spearheaded the defensive front.

“We’ve got the best defense in the state,’’ Fuessel said. “We’ve got some studs in that group.’’

“Special effort tonight on defense against a heck of a team,’’ East coach Rob Zvonar said.

“To be able to advance to the semifinals is pretty amazing,’’ Fuessel said after the Griffins’ final home game. “This is the way we wanted it to end. We wanted to be strong the whole game. I love playing here. I’m going to miss it.’’



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