Sports wrap

  • Written by Anthony Nasella

 Over the past decade, Sandburg’s girls’ swim program has been blessed with talent and depth, which translated into a streak of 10 consecutive sectional championships and downstate appearances.

  This season, however, the Lady Eagles’ roster boasts just eight swimmers. That represents a significant drop-off, percentage-wise, from the 11 or 12 athletes that coach Jane Caliendo has typically had available to her.
  But despite the situation, Sandburg narrowly missed extending its string of sectional crowns. Only the host Lady Porters bettered the Lady Eagles at Saturday’s Lockport Sectional, and the winners’ margin of success was slim: just six points.
  Sandburg did well enough, though, to amass 280 points and, more importantly, qualify people in seven events for this weekend’s state meet. The Lady Eagles advanced six individual swimmers, a diver and two relay units.

Successful sequel

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Bulldogs handle Argo again, reach 6A quarters

  To movie viewers, a sequel often doesn’t measure up to the original film.
  For Richards football fans, however, there were no such complaints about Saturday night’s second-time-around performance.
  The gridiron show they watched at Korhonen Field was every bit as good as the one that had been on display in Summit a few weeks earlier. Then, the Bulldogs had held host Argo to negative rushing yardage while posting a 27-0 shutout.
  Richards coach Tony Sheehan repeatedly told his players prior to a Class 6A second-round rematch with the Argonauts not to expect things to be as easy for them as before. He was right — they were easier.

On the defensive

  • Written by Ken Karrson

RedHawks’ prevention crew shuts down Raiders

  When it mattered most, Marist got defensive.
  The defending the RedHawks did on Friday night in Bolingbrook didn’t involve words, but deeds. Seemingly susceptible to high-powered offenses — a suspicion given credence by the ground-gaining exploits of a few East Suburban Catholic Conference foes during the regular season — Marist’s defense suddenly grew sharp teeth when faced with its most important test to date.
  Scoring points wasn’t supposed to be much of a problem for the host Raiders, but it was. Bolingbrook managed just one touchdown versus the RedHawks, and that score was a bit fortunate as it required the Raiders to recover their own fumble in Marist’s end zone.
  But that was it, and even with Bolingbrook’s defense holding the visitors well below their per-game average in points, the RedHawks possessed enough punch to notch a 21-7 upset and move on to the Class 8A quarterfinals.
  Marist (8-3), which hadn’t gotten past the tournament’s opening round since 2009, will square off with Oswego Saturday night in Mount Greenwood. The Panthers defeated Waubonsie Valley 33-13 in Round 2.

Second-round stunner

  • Written by Ken Karrson

Top-seeded Mustangs brought down by Phillips

  Aaron Clayton gave Evergreen Park a sampling of its own medicine Saturday afternoon.
  And it left the Mustangs with a bitter taste, not to mention a batch of unfinished business.
  What Clayton’s end-zone interception did to Evergreen was ruin a late comeback bid against Phillips in Round 2 of the Class 4A playoffs. The Mustangs’ defense had performed similar acts of last-minute thievery itself during the course of a perfect 10-game stretch, most notably versus Richards, which allowed Evergreen to grab a one-point victory in the season’s fifth week and seize control of the South Suburban Conference Red race.

Trojans experience ‘D-Day’

  • Written by Ken Karrson

DeBenedetti, Dolph star for Cougars in victory

  Despite the sound of it, DeBenedetti and Dolph is not a legal firm that advertises during daytime-TV court shows.
  However, the St. Xavier University duo certainly laid down the law to Trinity International University Saturday afternoon at Bruce R. Deaton Field. Junior receiver Nick DeBenedetti did so by latching onto a career-best 14 passes, which went for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
  While DeBenedetti took care of the offensive side, Zach Dolph served as the Cougars’ defensive ringleader. Two weeks after establishing an SXU single-game record for total tackles, the senior linebacker was at it again, this time with 11 stops and two interceptions, one of which he returned 32 yards for a score.
  Dolph’s six-pointer stretched the Cougars’ edge out to 14-6 in the first quarter. SXU then tallied twice more before intermission to create a lead that would only be marginally threatened over the last 30 minutes.