By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle
Back on November 26, 2016, the Maine South Hawks pulled away from a 17-17 tie with Loyola Academy in the fourth quarter and went on to a 27-17 IHSA Class 8A State Championship Game victoryat the University of Illinois.
From the 2016 Class 8A State Champions, only Fotis Kokosioulis, Cam Stacy and Johnny Halvorsen, return for Hawk head coach David Inserra.
Not in Park Ridge.
Senior back Kokosioulis, rushed for 166 yards and scored four touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Stacy, hauled in seven passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns and in his first varsity start at quarterback, senior John O’Sullivan threw a perfect game.
O’Sullivan, completed all 13 passes he attempted for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
Oh yeah – The Hawks crushed Glenbard West 62-34, at historic Duchon Field, on a picture-perfect opening day, weather-wise, for both schools.
Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet, in his 11 years at the helm of the Hilltopper football program, has won two state championships in 2012 and 2015. His 2009 Hilltoppers, finished second. His Hilltoppers have gone 112-18 in his tenure.
The 62 points the Hawks put on the proud Glenbard West defense, known as “The Hitters”, is a record against a Hetlet-coached Hilltopper teams. Talking with old-timers at Glenbard West, they think you probably have to go back 30-40 years, before you would find an opponent to score that many points – especially at home.
With their new quarterback O’Sullivan under center, the Hawks took the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards in 12 plays, with Kokosioulis scoring from one-yard out. The Hawk defense turned away Glenbard West at the Hawk 48 on downs. Moments later O’Sullivan and Stacy hooked up from 15-yards out and the Hawks led 14-0.
Glenbard West would score on a 10-yard run from Dre Thomas, to close to within 14-7 after one quarter.
Kokosioulis would answer with a 52-yard scoring jaunt for a 21-7 Hawk lead, at the start of the second quarter.
“Cam Stacy had a beautiful block on the outside, sealing of the sidelines for me on the 52-yard touchdown run,” Kokosioulis. “I had a good game but my offensive line was outstanding all day. John (O’Sullivan) was just about perfect for us in his first game at quarterback.”
Linebacker Jack Leach’s interception led to a 2-yard O’Sullivan touchdown run. Rory Hayes 78-yard run pick-six gave the Hawks a 35-7 lead.
“I jumped the route and all I had was green space in front of me,” Hayes said. “I almost ran out of gas and didn’t get to the end zone. Huge win for us, today.”
Glenbard West scored to make it 35-14 and then Hawk junior wide receiver Bobby Inserra (3 catches 57 yards),who shares a residence with head coach David Inserra, his father, came up with the play of the game.
Inserra, caught a lateral from O’Sullivan and found a wide-open Stacy, for a 53-yard option pass and touchdown and a 42-14 Hawk lead.
“We worked on the play in practice, knowing Glenbard West is very aggressive on defense,” Stacy said. “They bit on the toss to Bobby and left me all alone. I had to come back for the pass but Bobby still made a great play.”
“I looked up and Cam was wide open,” Inserra said. “I just had to get him the ball and I knew he would score. I did not want to throw an incomplete pass. I did my job today at wide receiver and John had a perfect day.”
The younger Inserra has been linked to Hawk football literally since the day he was born.
“In 2000 we won state and on that day Bobby was born,” David Inserra said. “Bobby and Cam executed the play to perfection. Bobby made some big catches as well. We probably should have named him Game Day.”
The Hawk offensive line, Tommy Yager, Peter Skoronski, Nick Stamos, Dan Sargent and John Cleary, pushed West’s Hitters all over Duchon Field.
“We really felt coming into today’s game that we would score a lot of points,” O’Sullivan said. “My offensive line was great and my receivers all can catch the ball and run. I felt very confident at the very start of the game and performed well. We will celebrate tonight and then focus on Lincoln-Way East tomorrow.”
Another challenge awaits the Hawks on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. as the Griffins of Lincoln-Way East, invade Park Ridge.
“We played very well today,” Dave Inserra added. ”John O’Sullivan played a perfect game and Cam Stacy and the receivers were outstanding. Fotis had another great game and the offensive line did their job all day. Even the defense for the most part played well.
“We beat Lincoln-Way East in the quarterfinals last season and they will be gunning for us.”
• Maine East defeated Schurz 48-18.
• Notre Dame defeaetd Adams (Indiana) 30-6
• Niles West lost to Buffalo Grove 40-7.