Riverside-Brookfield High School junior Luke Kumskis mostly played defensive end last football season.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has adjusted nicely to his new H-back role on offense.
“It’s really fun, just hitting holes and getting to run over people,” Kumskis said.
Kumskis collected three more touchdowns Sept. 16 as the Bulldogs gradually gained control for their 35-7 homecoming victory over Aurora Christian in Metro Suburban Red action.
“It felt great, but we can’t let it get in our heads. Every single game we have to play like this week in, week out,” Kumskis said. “I feel like all of the [homecoming] people here definitely brought a lot more energy than what we’re used to. It did help.”
RBHS (3-1, 2-0 in MSC Red) saw the Eagles (2-2, 0-1) tie the game 7-7 at the start of the second quarter but stopped three other threats to lead 14-7 at halftime. The Bulldogs pulled away with a 21-point fourth quarter.
“We were pretty much in this exact situation Week 1 [beating Morton 35-28],” RBHS coach Sam Styler said. “We had the lead and kind of let off the gas a little. We let them back in the game. We came out in the second half and did what we needed to do.”
The defense first turned the tide. With the game tied at 7-7, Marques Turner had a fumble recovery at the 7. Two other stalled Aurora Christian drives resulted in two missed 41-yard field goals, the second as time expired in the first half after Iggy Bielobradek and Garrett Angshed thwarted a pass to the end zone.
Jackson Drumheller and Drew Swiatek had interceptions. Swiatek returned his 25 yards for a touchdown and the final score with 9:03 remaining.
“That was pretty much as perfect as it could have been. Great coverage. I was able to get that because everyone else was covered,” Swiatek said. “That was my first touchdown – ever — so that was pretty cool.”
The Bulldogs’ go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass 28.8 seconds before halftime typified the momentum shift.
When quarterback Diego Gutierrez threw a slant to Adam Uriostegui, a defensive back leapt and deflected the pass. The ball continued its flight and Uriostegui scored for the 14-7 lead.
“I was pretty much in stride. The ball just landed perfectly in my hands,” said Uriostegui, who caught five passes for 90 yards. “Right when the ball was in the air, I knew I’d seen that ball 100 times before. The defender just jumped a little early, tipped it and it was right there for me to grab.”
On the Bulldogs’ opening possession, Kumskis scored on a 1-yard run to complete an 80-yard drive. He was wide open for a 6-yard play-action touchdown catch on the opening play of the fourth quarter and added a 6-yard run 2:35 later.
Kumskis rushed for 86 yards on 13 carries and caught four passes for 39 yards. Gutierrez was 11-for-17 passing for 135 yards. He was coming off two short-yardage rushing touchdowns against Chicago Christian.
“The first week [against Morton] I didn’t think I was going to get 10 rushes. That was really exciting,” Kumskis said.
Leading tacklers were Swiatek (5.5) and Turner (5). Swiatek, Luke Smithing, Bielobradek and Angshed added four more pass breakups.
Aurora Christian started 6-for-9 passing and finished 7-for-18.
“We really prepped for this. We knew they were going to pass the ball,” Swiatek said. “That’s been our weakness a little bit, so we really worked on that and it paid off.”