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SXU sports summary

LB Dolph honored after record-setting day

  Two days after he put his name into the St. Xavier University football record book, linebacker Zach Dolph also got it attached to a couple of prestigious awards.
  The senior was tabbed as the NAIA National Defensive Player of the Week for his role in the Cougars’ 12-6 victory over William Penn University on Oct. 26, and also received that same designation from the Mid-States Football Association, which chose Dolph as the top defender in the Midwest League for that week.
  Dolph was in on 23 tackles — five of them solo efforts — versus the Statesman, a single-game defensive performance that eclipsed the 20-tackle ones former SXU linebackers Sean Kenney and Joe Miller both produced on the same day in 2007. In addition, Dolph registered 1 1/2 tackles for loss and a half-sack as the Cougars held William Penn to 199 total yards.
  Dolph, who also was selected as the national Player of the Week on Sept. 9 following SXU’s 31-24 come-from-behind overtime triumph against defending national champion Marian University, leads the Cougars in total tackles this season with 94. He is second in solo stops (36), sacks (three), forced fumbles (three) and interceptions (one), and third in tackles for loss (6).
  Dolph’s 10.6 tackles-per-game average is 11th overall in the NAIA, while he is 16th in forced-fumbles average.
  Also feted by the MSFA as its Special Teams Player of the Week was Spencer Nolen, who kicked 31- and 50-yard field goals, averaged more than 40 yards on seven punts, and also gained 16 yards on a fake punt to keep alive a fourth-quarter drive that resulted in SXU’s lone touchdown versus William Penn.
  The NAIA honored Nolen on Sept. 30 after he kicked five field goals in a game, making the Cougars one of only two programs in the country to have three national honorees thus far during the 2013 campaign. Both Nolen and Dolph have been two-time Player of the Week selections in the MSFA.

Community sports news

Palos Park to host winter basketball league

  Palos Park, in conjunction with the Palos Heights Recreation Department and Worth Park District, will host a winter basketball league for youngsters in grades 1-8 that will play games each Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. beginning Jan. 18 and running through March 15.
  Each child will have one practice and one game per week, with an emphasis being placed on skills development. Separate leagues will be formed for boys and girls, and play will be conducted in a total of four different age groups.
  Volunteer coaches are also needed and must be registered before Nov. 22. Player evaluations will be held Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
  For more information, call 671-3760.

Mistakes mean missing out

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Error-plagued Vikings fall short of postseason  

Whatever lessons St. Laurence players may have learned from their mistakes Saturday afternoon won’t help them until 2014.

  That was the painful reality for the Vikings after they dropped a 28-14 verdict to Chicago Catholic League White champion Fenwick at Morton West High School. St. Laurence needed to win its finale to have any hope of extending its season beyond Week 9, but a total of six turnovers undermined that mission.

  There’s no question the Vikings were vastly improved in their second campaign under Harold Blackmon, but the coach wasn’t quite ready to declare himself satisfied.
  “Maybe as time goes on, I’ll change my opinion of it,” Blackmon said. “But I judge success on the field by wins and losses, and we didn’t win enough. You’re never satisfied totally unless you go all the way [to the top].”
  St. Laurence (4-5), which will not be offered a spot in the upcoming Catholic League playoffs, wasn’t without opportunities to upset the Friars. Fenwick scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions — running back Robert Spillane notched all of the TDs — and required a total of just eight plays to do so, but the hosts grew relatively quiet after that.
  While some damage was obviously done to the Vikings in the early going, St. Laurence may have actually inflicted a greater degree of it on itself over the entire course of the contest. The Vikes did answer one of the Friars’ first-quarter scores when Mike Sterna’s 4-yard reception successfully capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive.
  However, St. Laurence also missed a short field goal and fumbled the ball away at Fenwick’s 2-yard line during the opening half. Another drop occurred at the Friars’ 44.
  “We did not play up to our expectations,” Blackmon said. “It was a little disappointing to see us not take advantage of [scoring] opportunities. It’s something we have to focus on [improving] going into next season.

Woods leaves ’em lost

  • Written by Ken Karrson

QB’s exploits carry Raiders over Eagles

  Getting lost in the woods is a somewhat common occurrence for characters in fables and fairy tales.
  The scene shifted to a football field Friday night, but the storyline remained the same: Woods caused Sandburg to lose its way, too.
  Quincy Woods wasn’t the only one responsible for sending the Eagles in a wayward direction, but the Bolingbrook quarterback certainly played a starring role in Sandburg’s eventual misfortune. By rushing for 177 yards on 20 carries and tallying three touchdowns, Woods inflicted the most pain on the Eagles at Seliga Field.
  Sandburg’s defense did a credible job of preventing the Raiders from running the score up much higher, but its offense was unable to follow suit with an equally productive performance. Already without starting quarterback Sean Leland, the Eagles lost backup signal-caller Julian Gutierrez (shoulder) and first-string tailback Brian Langowski (possible concussion) during their encounter with SouthWest Suburban Conference-Blue leading Bolingbrook and simply didn’t have enough firepower to seriously challenge the Raiders.
  Instead, Sandburg got tagged with a 35-6 loss. While the setback didn’t shut them out of the Class 8A tournament, it did relegate the Eagles (5-4, 4-3) to a first-round date at Homewood-Flossmoor this Friday.

Finished, but just getting started

  • Written by Ken Karrson

After loss to H-F, Chargers looking forward to 2014

 The end is just the beginning for Stagg.

  Thanks to a 42-14 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor Friday night in Palos Hills, the Chargers couldn’t advance into the state playoffs for the first time in eight years. However, Stagg came much closer to doing so than almost anybody could have imagined back in August.
  “We played meaningful games in October,” first-year coach Mike Fahey said. “It was a positive year [because of that].”
  In fact, had a controversial finish at Lockport not gone against Stagg on the last Friday in September, the Chargers would have had the requisite five victories to become eligible for the postseason. And with 37 playoff points in hand at the end of Week 9, Stagg likely would have garnered an invitation.