Plainfield South rides big plays to win
Updated: September 5, 2011 2:08PM
Two big plays.
That’s what the completion of the Plainfield South at Joliet West nonconference football game came down to Monday morning, and both favored the visitors.
As a result, South first-year coach Ken Bublitz has his first victory at the helm in most bizarre fashion.
The record books will show a 26-8 South win, but it was not that easy. The Cougars (1-1) led only 12-8 midway through the third quarter when play resumed — Saturday’s storms caused the suspension — and for a while the two sides continued to slug it out.
But on the third-and-8 play to open the fourth quarter, South senior quarterback Austin Howarth hit sophomore wide receiver Josh Harris over middle near the West 30-yard line, just shy of the first-down sticks. Although only 165 pounds, Harris took a hard hit from a couple of West defenders, bounced off, kept his feet and turned on the burners. He raced to the 1-yard line before being dragged down.
That set up the third of four Dantrell Wright rushing touchdowns, and Wright also caught the two-point conversion pass from Howarth to make it 20-8.
“I just try to get to the end zone the best I can,” Harris said. “Our team feeds off each other. We get one big hit or one big play and it pumps everyone up more.”
Two West possessions later, the Tigers (0-2) rode the running of SaVaughn Alexander and Ramarr Jordan to a second-and-1 at the 6. But on the next play, Alexander attempted to spin into the end zone and lost the ball at the 1. South linebacker Brandon Reyes fell on it in the end zone, and the Cougars then drove 80 yards to the clinching touchdown.
“The fumble into the end zone was the big play, that and (Harris’) play getting us the gap we needed,” Bublitz said.
“Our kids showed their willingness to come out today ready to play, and I thought West was ready, too. They did what they needed to do. They’re just snakebitten right now, and this game comes down to getting it in the end zone.”
West coach Jason Aubry could not agree more.
“You know what they say, if you don’t tackle and don’t finish, you aren’t going to win games,” he said. “You have to avoid mistakes and make the plays that are in front of you, and that’s what we aren’t doing right now.
“The kids were really ready to play today. That’s why I’m so surprised this happened.”
Alexander, who ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run during Saturday’s portion of the game, rushed for 121 yards in 14 carries and Kameron Hargrove chipped in with 68 in 15 carries. The Tigers rushed for 242 and had 265 total yards but were penalized eight times for 63 yards.
South, with its no-huddle attack, relied on Howarth’s arm and Wright’s wheels. Howarth finished 17-of-30 passing for 185 yards, with Ed Presniakovas catching four for 72 yards. Wright managed 90 yards in 30 carries. The Cougars totaled 22 first downs to West’s 13.
“After what happened Saturday, I think our coaching staff did a great job going position by position preparing our guys, reminding them each what their individual responsibilities were,” Bublitz said. “They all got the message what they had to do individually and as a group.
“Quite honestly, I didn’t know what plan to use in a situation like this.”