No. 1 Lincoln-Way East stuffs No. 7 Homewood-Flossmoor

Lincoln-Way East's Gus Christensen (20) recovers a fumble. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

First Lincoln-Way East shut down Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis. That vaulted the Griffins into the top spot in the Super 25 rankings.

On Friday in Flossmoor Lincoln-Way East turned in another commanding defensive performance, holding Homewood-Flossmoor running back Justin Hall to just eight yards on 14 carries. The Griffins beat the No. 7 Vikings 29-7.

“It isn’t any secret formula,” Lincoln-Way East defensive lineman Jaden Hacha said. “A lot of practice, a lot of film. And overall just a lot of desire. You have to want that. We circle the guys and we know if we stop them they have nobody to rally around.”

Hacha turned in several big plays, but Northwestern recruit Devin O’Rourke was the standout performer for the Griffins. The big, fast defensive end had three sacks and also hounded Hall throughout the game.

“We knew if we shut him down we’d be alright,” O’Rourke said. “We keyed on him and just played our defense and we were fine. We’ve shut down running backs before and we did it again.”

Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1, 3-1 Southwest Suburban) had some success with the passing game, but were never able to bust open a big play. Vikings quarterback Dominick Jones, a sophomore, was 17-for-24 passing for 148 yards and one touchdown. The 31-yard touchdown strike to Marcell Ellis was Homewood-Flossmoor’s only play of the game for longer than 17 yards.

“If they catch a pass it is hair on fire, run at the ball,” O’Rourke said. “We are going to get them. That’s just what it is.”

Hall fumbled twice, but he caught three passes for 31 yards.

“They haven’t seen a defense as good as ours and they weren’t expecting us to come out like that so it threw them off,” Hacha said.

Lincoln-Way East (6-0, 4-0) scored on its first possession. Quarterback Brendan Morrissey connected with sophomore AJ Henning for a 19-yard touchdown pass.

“[H-F’s] defense looked like the Alabama of high school football,” Griffins coach Rob Zvonar said. “It was an SEC-quality high school defense. Our offense coming out and driving [for the touchdown] to set the tone was great.”

Morrissey was 6-for-7 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He had 11 carries for 34 yards. Henning, one of this season’s breakout stars, only had one carry. He caught three passes for 49 yards.

Ryan Scianna was the workhorse back for the Griffins with 16 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns.

“We have a lot of confidence in our offense,” Scianna said. “I can’t stop talking about the offensive line, they played amazing tonight, just knocking the snot out of them.”

Prairie Ridge started the year as the top-ranked team. Maine South took the mantle after demolishing Glenbard West in Week 1. The Griffins were elevated after beating the Hawks. On Friday they cemented their claim as the team to beat for the Class 8A state title in November in DeKalb.

“We have a very intelligent team,” Zvonar said. “If we were at a scholastic bowl we’d do pretty good. There are all kinds of crazy high ACT’s. And they carry themselves with great humility and great hunger.”

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