While the Fenwick football team capped off its stellar regular season campaign with a 28-3 win over visiting De la Salle in muddy conditions on Friday, the Friars’ celebration kicked in full force the following night when their postseason forecast became crystal clear after the Class 7A State playoff pairings were released.
Seventh-seeded Fenwick (7-2, 3-0 Chicago Catholic League White), will host No. 10 seed Huntley on Saturday (7 p.m.) at Morton West High School.
“We didn’t view [making the] playoffs as a means to an end,” Fenwick first-year coach Gene Nudo said. “I expected us to make the playoffs. We’ll have our hands full with Huntley and Class 7A is loaded with great teams. The teams that make the fewest mistakes and play harder have a good chance to advance.”
The Friars tuned up for the postseason by dispatching De La Salle, in large part due to an explosive offensive showing in the second quarter. After a scoreless opening quarter, Fenwick scored 28 points highlighted by three touchdowns from Robert Spillane (16 carries, 170 yards all in first half). The junior running back scored on runs of nine yards and 47 yards along with snagging a three-yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Gino Cavalieri (8-for-14, 151 yards) added a 55-yard touchdown pass to Dan Lattner (3 catches, 91 yards) for good measure, giving the Friars a 28-0 cushion.
“We fought the whole game and pounded the rock with our running game,” Spillane said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be in the playoffs. Coach Nudo has really set a good foundation for Fenwick football.”
Chris Razo nailed a 34-yard field goal to get De La Salle on the scoreboard at 28-3 midway through the third quarter. Overall, the Meteors struggled offensively as quarterback Shelby Spence completed just six of 21 passes for 51 yards and rushed nine times for 25 yards. A De La Salle coach was ejected from the game for arguing with an official, while an injured Meteors player was taken from the field to an ambulance.
The Friars amassed 404 yards of total offense, compared to their opponent’s 164. Pat Hart, Nick Hall, Rich Lasek and Rich Schoen led the Friars’ hard-hitting defense. On special teams, kicker Zach Laszkiewicz had two touchbacks and four PATs.
“I thought we played pretty well this season,” said Fenwick defensive back John Lattner. “We won the games we had to win; we’re ready to get the playoffs started.”