Football: Argo piling up points — and wins
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2013 8:20PM
Argo's Jason Noel carries against Ridgewood. | Stacia Timonere/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 19, 2013 7:01PM
With as many as seven sophomores starting, Argo endured some growing pains in 2012, which resulted in a 2-7 season.
However, those growing pains are paying dividends this season with the Argonauts sitting at 3-0.
“We weren’t making the plays when we had to last year,” Argo coach Jim Innis said. “This year we seem to be making those plays.”
Most encouraging is how the Argonauts have been able to rally from early deficits the first two weeks.
“We didn’t panic,” said Innis, whose team rallied for wins over Curie, 30-20, and Ridgewood, 69-40. “We stuck with the game plan.”
Much of the Argonauts’ maturity can be directed at quarterback Jason Noel, a three-year starter.
“He’s playing like a three-year starter,” Innis said. “He’s putting the ball on the outside on fades (routes). The biggest thing is he can scramble.”
Noel has two dangerous receivers in Corde O’Neal and Diamonte Mallory. When the Argonauts run the ball, D’Ken Jones and Hector Vasquez have been productive.
Vasquez, a fullback, topped 100 yards after three quarters during Friday’s 28-7 win over Reavis.
The Argonauts forced the Rams into seven turnovers, with O’Neal and Mallory, who double as safeties, snaring two interceptions apiece.
“We have a lot of guys going both ways,” Innis said. “Even Jason is playing cornerback.”
Argo should become even more formidable when offensive linemen Matt Wesolowski (knee) and Jonathan Villar (concussion) return to the lineup.
That’s good news for a program that hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2001. Argo did go 5-4 in 2007 and ’10, but didn’t have enough playoff points to qualify.
“We’ve been playing good ‘D’ and have been putting up some points,” Innis said. “We get some kids back and we’ll see what we can do when we’re all together.”
Richards quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers and wide receiver Spencer Tears connected on passes of 55, 69 and 30 yards, two of which were touchdowns, during the Bulldogs’ 28-14 win Friday over Lemont.
Their chemistry is not by accident. The two have been playing football together since age 7, when they joined the Dolton Bears.
“It’s easy for us to get into a rhythm,” Muhammad-Rogers said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time.”
Player of the Week
Julian Hylton, of Lincoln-Way North, is this week’s SouthtownStar Football Player of the Week.
Hylton, a senior running back and Illinois recruit, rushed for 323 yards and four touchdowns during North’s 43-36 win Friday over Andrew.