After a dominating win against Lane Tech in the first round of IHSA playoffs, the Maine South Hawks looked to soar their way past the eighth seeded Conant and into the quarterfinals.
Their path did not come easily, as the Cougars held the Hawks scoreless until the second quarter, along with a few hiccups throughout the game.
At 4:49 in the first quarter a controversial fumble call set the tone for the rest of the game. Hawks quarterback Matt Alviti was tackled by Cougars Tim Manczko near the 15 yard line and was ruled a fumble. After talking with the other referees and hearing yells from the coaches, the call was then reversed, but the Hawks still could not convert the drive into points.
The game could have very well been taken control of by either team by the end of the third quarter, but Maine South's defense stopped the Cougars in many crucial plays with four interceptions; two by Nathan Gruber, John Cerniglia, and Jack Perez.
The Hawks faced several setbacks throughout the game with a few personal foul calls and a missed field goal attempt, and they failed to recover an onside kick in the fourth quarter. The number one ranked 8A school did not have as explosive and dominating a game as last week, but still managed to get a step closer to the state championship.
Hawks head coach David Inserra commented on the penalties, stating, "Couple of dumb penalties I wasn't happy with, late hit on the quarterback and a late hit on us offensively. But otherwise I though it was a pretty solid game."
Inserra believes that having the experience from seniors Matt Alviti and Pat Maloney of playing in a state championship game helped the team not panic, and stay the course into the second half of the game to finish with a win.
Maine South will not have a rematch from last years playoffs against Stevenson, as Glenbard North beat them 23-14.
When asked Inserra about not facing Stevenson, he responded, "We'll take whoever we're playing. We get to play at home then against a very good Glenbard North team. Tremendous running back, they wanna run the ball right at you, we're gonna have our hands full. We saw them this summer with 7 on 7, now they've been predicted from the very beginning to be the team to beat. We're gonna have our hands full."