CN100 Sports Football Preview: Week 3 - Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Lincoln-Way East

CN100 Game of the Week: Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Lincoln-Way East

IHSA Football Week 3 – Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Lincoln-Way East

– This is always the marquee matchup in the Southwest Suburban Conference, but Homewood-Flossmoor Coach Craig Buzea thinks Friday’s incarnation of the rivalry is even more special than usual.

"As I watched their first two games, they may be the best team I have faced in close to 25 years as a head coach," Buzea said. "Well-coached, tremendous line play, their skill is off the charts. Obviously the depth they can throw at you due to the size of their roster is very overwhelming."

Buzea is referring to the fact that Lincoln-Way North closed in the spring, meaning the vast majority of the Phoenix roster is now at Lincoln-Way East further fortifying a program that has reached the playoffs in each of its 15 years of existence.

The next chapter in this rivalry can on be seen on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12. You can also watch it anytime in HD with Xfinity On Demand by clicking Get Local and CN100. X1 users, look for Get Local under the Xfinity Services tab.

The Griffins (2-0) rolled over a pair of long-distance opponents to start the season: South Bend (Ind.) Adams (49-12) and downstate Belleville West (35-0).

Senior quarterback Jake Arthur is East’s field general. He’s gone 23-for-34 for 363 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions thus far. His main target has been senior receiver Nick Zelenika with 14 receptions for 178 yards and a score. Senior receiver Jeremy Nelson (eight catches, 168 yards, two touchdowns) and senior receiver Ken Anderson (five catches, 77 yards, two touchdowns) also produce.

Two running backs have carried the load in the early going. Junior Brendan Morrissey leads the team with 96 yards and a touchdown in his 15 carries. Senior Nigel Muhammad has 86 yards and four touchdowns in 22 carries.

Senior strong safety Sean Maloney is pacing the defense through two weeks with 18 tackles, 11 solo, and an interception. Junior linebacker John Christensen contributed 15 tackles, seven solo, a sack and three tackles for loss. Junior defensive lineman Jaden Hacha has two sacks. Junior free safety Max Cesario, junior defensive end Devin O’Rourke and senior linebacker Henry Palmer each have 11 tackles.

After taking second in Class 8A in 2014, Homewood-Flossmoor (2-0) had another big year last year by going 10-2. Graduation took its toll on that talented group, however, as Buzea had to replace 50 seniors this year, many of which were three-year varsity players.

Senior quarterback Bryant Wright leads the way completing 10-of-15 passes for 343 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding a rushing score. The Vikings average 12.2 yards per carry in the backfield, led by the explosive play of senior running back Herbert Hughes, who has rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns in only eight carries. Junior Kellyn Gerenstein (10 rushes, 135 yards, two touchdowns) and senior Tyler Nutall (10 rushes, 127 yards, three touchdowns) have also contributed in the backfield.

Junior Justin Hall (two catches, 101 yards, one touchdown) and Nutall (three catches, 100 yards) are Wright’s main targets in the pass game.

Defensively, senior defensive lineman Khalil’allah Bowens (10 tackles, two tackles for loss) and junior linebackers Opeyemi Fatuki (11 tackles, four tackles for loss, sack) lead the way.

"Hopefully we’ll be close enough in the fourth quarter to have a shot at the end," Buzea said. "Nevertheless, we’re excited to play such a quality opponent in East and know when the game is done we will have a pretty good idea what we need to work on moving forward."

- Paul Johnson, CN100 Sports Correspondent


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