By Scott Taylor
Plainfield East is looking to finish the season strong and appears to be doing so, winning two of its last three games after a 47-19 win over Romeoville Friday at home.
The Bengals (3-5, 3-3) scored early and often on the Spartans (1-7, 1-5).
The Bengals came firing out of the gates as Matt Mazurkiewicz found Dylan Koch on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 10:22 left in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Just over three minutes later Mazurkiewicz hit Jalen Hutt for a 9-yard touchdown pass and a 12-0 advantage.
“He has really progressed and done a great job,” East coach Mike Romeli said of Mazurkiewicz. “He didn’t get a lot of snaps last year but he has been a senior leader for us.”
However, Romeoville battled back as Nettles scored from 14 yards out to cut the deficit to 12-7 with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
That wouldn’t be all the scoring though in the first quarter as East’s DJ Donofrio ran 38 year yards for a 19-7 lead late in the quarter.
“We came out with a lot of fire,” Donofrio said. “We wanted it and didn’t let up. We want to finish strong.”
The lead was built to 21-7 on a safety in the second quarter and 25 seconds later it was 28-7 as Troy Mayon plunged in the end zone from a yard out.
In the third quarter, the Bengals made it 34-7 when Donofrio scored from 13 yards out and it was 41-7 shortly later on a 5-yard run from Huff.
“We’ve been waiting for a game like this,” Romeli said. “Our schedule up to this point has been brutal. We’ve been battling every week. Our kids have stayed the course and played hard. They stuck with it. Even though they missed the playoffs. they stuck with it. They want to have a great end of the season.”
The Spartans tallied a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns as Allen ran from 36 yards out and Nettles caught a screen pass from Anthony Kitchens and ran 73 yards for a touchdown.
East closed the scoring on a 14-yard pass from Matt Pratscher to Tremaine Hoover.
Mazurkiewicz finished 13-of-19 for 165 yards. Jeremy Reitz ran 13 times for 139 yards and Donofrio had 10 carries for 101 yards.
“I learn a lot from Reitz when I run,” Donofrio said. “It is a lot of practice and learning from him. We wanted to take it to them. Our blocking was fantastic as it always is.”
“Our running backs ran hard and our offensive line blocked hard,” Romeli said. “We had four seniors start on the offensive line tonight and that is what it is all about.”
Kitchens passed for 185 yards for the Spartans. Nettles had four catches for 110 yards and Allen had four carries for 61 yards and three catches for 72 yards.
“Our defense has been our bell-cow all year,” Romeli said. “They played well again tonight.”
The Bengals will look to finish their season on a strong note as they face Plainfield Central, which fell to Plainfield South 49-7.
“I don’t want to see anything special,” Romeli said. “I just want us to play a good game the way we have been playing. We haven’t necessarily played a bad game yet. We’ve had bad quarters, but we haven’t played bad games. I just want to play a complete game.”
Even though the Bengals are coming up short of the playoffs for the first time in three years, they have a chance to come up just a game short after losing nearly all their starters from last year.
“The way we do the offseason and the way these kids work and play other sports, we preach multiple sport athletes and want them to be involved all year round, they have bought into that, there shouldn’t be room for a drop off,” Romeli stated.