Homewood-Flossmoor endures late rally for win

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Homewood-Flossmoor endures late rally for win

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
11:53 PM
By Jim Owczarski
YourSeason.com

FLOSSMOOR Homewood-Flossmoor seemingly had its second round game with Waubonsie Valley all sewn up as the fourth quarter was about to start, leading 21-0 and having done pretty much whatever it wanted on offense and defense for three quarters. But in a blink, the Warriors rallied with three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes to send the game into overtime, but the host Vikings pulled out the 34-28 victory in the second extra session when the Warriors Demetrius Gray was stopped at the six-inch line on fourth down by Vikings defensive back Sheldon Jones. Vikings QB Tim Williams won the game with a 10-yard TD run to start the second overtime.

I was real nervous, but I had to stay focused and stay relaxed and make sure my team was behind me, Williams said. I told them we were going to pull out this victory and we did.

The Vikings will now travel to Naperville North for the Class 8A quarterfinals after the Huskies dispatched top-seeded York.

Overtime was never a thought for the Vikings early on as they pounded the Warriors for 18 minutes and 19 seconds of the 24-minute first half, running 27 plays, gaining 17 first downs and piling up 202 yards of total offense in taking a 14-0 first half lead. It was a methodical performance led by running back Malik Norman, who carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a TD in the opening half. He finished with 230 yards and two TDs.

By keeping the Warriors offense on the sidelines, the Vikings defense came in fresh and aggressive, keeping the Warriors multi-faceted option attack grounded.

The Warriors ran just 12 offensive plays in the half, but Purdue-bound Vikings defensive tackle Michael Rouse spent more time making plays than any Waubonsie skill player. On those 12 plays, Rouse posted four tackles, a half sack and a forced fumble.

Nothing changed coming out of the break, as Rouse continued to disrupt everything the Warriors tried to do offensively and Nelson led the Vikings up and down the field, rushing for another 74 yards and a score to make it 21-0.

Then it became interesting. The Warriors finally cracked the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter when Devon Morgan plunged in from 1-yard out and defensive lineman Zac Steele immediately followed with an interception return for a score to make it 21-13. Kolzow then hit Gray for a 22-yard TD and Eric Josupait for a 2-point conversion in the final seconds to force overtime.

Bears defensive problems vs. Cowboys not complicated (unfortunately)

Bears defensive problems vs. Cowboys not complicated (unfortunately)

That the Dallas Cowboys were able to put 447 yards, almost 200 of them running the football, and 31 points on the Bears was concerning in itself. The way much of it happened, however, was perhaps more concerning, even if not completely surprising.

And the issues were in more than one area.

The rushing yards, of which 140 were provided on 30 carries by rookie Ezekiel Elliott, were largely gained by simply pounding away on an undermanned Bears front seven. The Bears have allowed 10 runs of 10 yards or more; five of those came in Dallas.

The problem was an alarmingly simple one. Not scheme, not missed assignments.

“We were getting blocked and not getting off blocks well enough,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said on Wednesday. “But basically getting blocked most of the time, a guy or two every time was just getting blocked.”

The defense was without linchpin and nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) as well as inside linebacker and co-captain Danny Trevathan. In Trevathan’s spot, rookie Nick Kwiatkoski started and played on 18 of Dallas’ snaps (26 percent).

He did OK,” Fangio said. “Again, he was part of those guys that got blocked some. Had some good plays, some not so good. The first play of the game that popped out of there for 21 yards, he was at the point of attack on that one. It was OK, hope for better, expect better moving forward.”

The Bears use something of a hybrid form of gap control, not strictly two-gap with linemen responsible for gaps on either side of the blocker in front of them, and not strictly one-gap, with a tighter responsibility but with expectations that the defender get more penetration and disruption.

The system is what one lineman described as “gap-and-a-half,” playing their assigned gap but also with responsibility to help out with one other assigned gap. They are not head-up on offensive linemen, being slightly shaded toward a gap a’la one-gap schemes most of the time.

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The Bears generally were unable to control either their assigned or their secondary gaps.

The issues were not confined to the run defense. The Bears’ pass rush was virtually non-existent (zero sacks, one hit on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott) and yet it allowed Prescott to scramble free three times, converting first downs on all three.

“Our rush wasn’t good enough when they weren’t throwing it quick,” Fangio said, “and it was evident by the times [Prescott] scrambled. He scrambled three times for first downs and they hurt us.

“Our rush wasn’t good enough. There are a lot of passes that the rush won’t be a factor because it is coming out fast. But we have to get better coverage to make them hold the ball longer, too.”

Blackhawks get shut out in preseason opener by Chris Kunitz, Penguins

Blackhawks get shut out in preseason opener by Chris Kunitz, Penguins

Scott Darling stopped 33 of 35 shots but Chris Kunitz scored twice, including the game-winning power-play goal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Blackhawks 2-0 in the preseason opener at the United Center.

Tristan Jarry stopped all 30 shots he saw for the Penguins.

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The Blackhawks outshot the Penguins 13-3 in the first 20 minutes. But Darling’s quiet first period was followed by a very busy second, when he saw and stopped 23 shots.

The Penguins broke through 2:31 into the third period when Kunitz tipped Trevor Daley’s shot for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Kunitz batted home his own rebound for a 2-0 Penguins lead.