For the second consecutive week, the Riverside Brookfield High School football team had to endure a long and disappointing bus ride home after a trip to the very southern edge of the Chicago metropolitan area, which resulted in a lopsided loss.
A week after falling to state-ranked Kankakee 48-6, the Bulldogs fell to defending Southland Conference Champion and perennial playoff team Crete-Monee, 42-7, Friday night in Crete. Thanks to two second quarter interceptions, by Garret Angshed and Max Almeida, and a third quarter fumble recovery by junior linebacker Max Strong, the Bulldogs kept the game more competitive than against Kankakee and trailed only 21-0 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
But the Bulldogs couldn’t run the ball or stop the run and their offense was limited to a handful of big passing plays.
The Bulldogs (3-2, 1-2) avoided a shutout when quarterback Diego Gutierrez connected with tight end Luke Kumskis for a 25-yard scoring pass with 8:19 left in the game to make the score 36-7. Gutierrez hit Kumskis over the middle at about the 10 yard line and the rugged Kumskis broke a tackle and raced into the end zone.
James Espino, subbing for a slightly injured Niamh Larson, converted the extra point.
The touchdown pass completed a two-play, 70-yard drive and was set up by a 45-yard completion by Gutierrez to speedy senior wide receiver Tohma Tucker.
But Gutierrez was running for his life much of the game as the Bulldogs could not generate any consistent offense against Crete-Monee (3-2, 3-0), which has qualified for the state playoffs for 17 consecutive seasons and advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals last year.
After playing conference powerhouses on the road, back to back, the rest of regular season looks considerably easier. Friday night the Bulldogs return home to host Thornton (1-4, 1-2) for Homecoming. The four teams left on the regular season schedule have a combined 4-16 record and two are winless, so the Bulldogs route to another playoff berth seems promising.
But after the game RBHS coach Sam Styler wasn’t thinking about upcoming opponents. He was focused on his team.
“We’ve got to get better,” Styler said.