Christian knocks off Guerin in homecoming game
Chicago Christian had Guerin Prep’s number in more ways than one Friday night.
The Knights had it in the typical sense, as they were able to best the Gators in Palos Heights. But a likely reason for Christian’s success was that Guerin didn’t have bigger numbers personnel-wise.
The Knights weren’t superior in that category, either, but the simple fact they were dealing with someone their own size for a change made a difference. Christian only held a slight edge in total yardage, but its defense forced two turnovers while its offense wasn’t guilty of any.
And for one of the few times this season, the Knights enjoyed playing with a lead. Christian held Guerin scoreless through the first three quarters, and the 13-0 advantage the hosts constructed over that span pretty much held up as the Knights pocketed a 28-14 Suburban Christian Conference Gold win in their homecoming contest.
“We’ve been trying to get our guys to stay together and move forward, and they’ve done that,” Chicago Christian coach Jim Bolhuis said.
Bolhuis felt the Knights’ ability to draw first blood on the Gators was important, especially since the latter refused to wilt in spite of playing quite a few sophomores.
“They were really ready and were very aggressive,” Bolhuis said of Guerin players. “They kept fighting and they played hard.”
Christian (2-3, 1-1) didn’t place the Gators in chase mode until the second stanza, when Justin Downs hauled in a 62-yard scoring pass from Christian Bolhuis. Downs was one of six receivers Bolhuis sought out during the course of the contest.
But balance was the watchword of the Knights’ attack. While the younger Bolhuis completed half of his 24 pass attempts for 147 yards, Chicago Christian running backs Colby Roundtree and Luke Rattler were doing their part by garnering 152 rushing yards between them.
Roundtree’s 20-yard dash produced the Knights’ second TD during the third quarter. In between Roundtree’s and Downs’ six-pointers, Chicago Christian squandered another scoring opportunity when it threw incomplete on fourth down and watched a drive fizzle out inside the Gators’ red zone.
Luckily for the Knights, Guerin was being stonewalled over that same stretch. Roundtree and sophomore Nathan Krygsheld paced Chicago Christian’s defensive charge with six solo tackles and one assist each, and Krygsheld also swiped a Gators pass. Other Knights notables included Brandon Schmidt (three solos, four assists, one-half tackle for loss), Jack De Vries (three solos, two assists, one sack), Rattler (three solos) and Clay Bouquet (sack).
Roundtree’s second touchdown, a 16-yard run, offset Guerin’s first tally and restored a double-digit cushion for the home club in the fourth quarter. However, instead of silencing the Gators for good, the Knights’ TD seemed to ignite the visitors.
“A lot of their  passing yards came in the second half,” Coach Bolhuis said. “We didn’t get a good pass rush and I think the momentum shift was after our third touchdown — and it favored them.
“They had to feel good about their passing game, but that sparked us in reaction.”
First, though, Guerin narrowed the gap once more by tallying on quarterback Tyler Flynn’s 2-yard keeper. The Gators then successfully executed an onsides kick, which put the ball back in their hands with a chance to perhaps pull even.
But Guerin never did. Its ensuing series basically went nowhere, and that proved to be the Gators’ last gasp. Chicago Christian tacked on an insurance touchdown near the end on Roundtree’s 15-yard reception of a play-action pass from Christian Bolhuis.
“Both teams were suffering the same thing — they were tiring in the second half because so many guys were going both ways,” Coach Bolhuis said.
Interestingly, while the Knights snapped a three-game skid, their leader thought the progress made between Weeks 4 and 5 was less than what it had been between the third and fourth weeks of the schedule.
“I was hoping to build on it more,” Bolhuis said, referring to Christian’s solid overall display the week before in a loss to Aurora Central Catholic. “A lot of [good] things did come to pass, but we had to struggle [at times versus Guerin].”
The Knights meet St. Edward in an SCC crossover game on Friday, and the Green Wave, like the Gators, are on pretty equal footing with Christian in a filling-the-roster sense. So, too, are future opponents Walther Lutheran and Wheaton Academy, so Bolhuis thinks the Knights can make some additional headway.
“It’s good to be in that situation after some of the games we’ve had,” Bolhuis said.
Guerin Prep 0 0 0 14 - 14
Chgo. Christian 0 7 6 15 - 28
First downs 13 12
Yds. rushing 63 151
Yds. passing 217 147
Total yds. 280 298
Att./comp. 46-24 24-12
Fumbles/lost 1-1 0-0
Had intercepted 1 0
Penalties/yds. 6-75 2-15
Punts/avg. 5-31.8 4-31.3
CC — Justin Downs, 62-yd. pass from Christian Bolhuis (Jeremy Slager Evans kick)
CC — Colby Roundtree, 20-yd. run (pass failed)
GP — Corey Jones, 34-yd. pass from Tyler Flynn (Mike Marra kick)
CC — Roundtree, 16-yd. run (Roundtree run)
GP — Flynn, 2-yd. run (Marra kick)
CC — Roundtree, 15-yd. pass from Bolhuis (Slager Evans kick)
Chicago Christian Rushing: Roundtree 26-95, Rattler 12-57, Bolhuis 3-(-1). Passing: Bolhuis 24-12-147. Receiving: Bruinius 4-33, Downs 2-71, Roundtree 2-17, Santarelli 2-10, De Vries 1-10, Starostka 1-6.