Tigers blow out Andrew in opening round

A thunderbolt is elusive, fleeting, gone in a second and leaves a shockwave in its place.
Andrew wears the name ’Thunderbolts on their uniforms; Friday night in Plainfield, Dillon McCarthy
showed Andrew what the real thing looks like.
McCarthy’s two electrifying runs were the highlights on a night where the Tigers’ defense
dominated in the Class 7A playoff opener.
The 41-6 decision moves the Tigers to next week’s second round, either at home against Schaumburg or on the road at unbeaten Lake Zurich.
It late in the third quarter, with the Tigers already up 20-0—a simple toss sweep to the left from
the Andrew 16 yard line.
McCarthy hit the corner, cut upfield, planted his right foot and quickly pivoted inside, leaving the Andrew defender grasping at nothing but the cold night air.
McCarthy then dove toward the corner pylon and beat two more Andrew defenders to the line
for the touchdown.
In the game final 65 seconds, after Andrew had spoiled the Tigers’ shutout, McCarthy took the
ensuing kickoff, glided to the left, hit third gear to the right and blasted 85 yards for the game’s
final points.
“Dillon is such a special player,” said head coach Tim Kane after his Tigers improved to 8-2. “I
don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. He’s the best player on the field. He’s such a
competitor. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
McCarthy’s plays warmed the crowd that braved the season’s coldest night, but the play that
set the tone on Friday came in the second quarter when Andrew, already down 10-0 and facing
a fourth-and- 1 at their own 30, decided to try and grind out a first down. Linebacker Nate Curtis
stepped into the gap and buried Cole Griffin for a one-yard loss.
The play of the defense made the 10-0 halftime lead look like 40-0. The T-Bolts ran just four
plays in the first quarter and gained only 44 total yards in the half. Leaving aside Thunderbolt
quarterback Jack Condon’s 61-yard scoring run with 1:22 to go, Andrew managed just 103 yards
of total offense for the game—all on the ground and on only 34 plays.
“I’m so proud of our defense,” Kane said. “They’ve (Andrew) got some skilled kids, and (Griffin)
is a good runner. We got to the ball fast and we were able to slow them down defensively.”
Meanwhile, Nathan Jurek’s 27-yard field goal that capped the game’s opening drive and Zach
Nadle’s one-yard plunge later in the first quarter was all the scoring the Tigers could muster
before intermission. For the second straight week, the Tigers had failed to take full advantage
of their advantages. “I think we finally wore them down at the end,” Kane said. “We had a few
self-inflicted things with penalties, but we cleaned some things up in the second half.”
Jurek’s 41-yard field goal early in the third quarter made it a 13-0 game, but the Tigers didn’t
get totally comfortable until a 56-second burst later in the period. Quarterback Zach Miller set
up the first scoring drive, as he and wide receiver Garret Cook hooked up on a 40-yard pass play
to put the Tigers at the Andrew 10. On third-and- goal from the 3 yard line, Miller lobbed a short
pass to tight end Shane McGrail at the back of the end zone, and the Tigers moved to a 20-0
lead.
Ben Wilson recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Andrew 19, and McCarthy spun his
magic to push the margin to 27-0 and leave the rest of the game in the capable hands of the
Tigers’ defense, led by Curtis, Jeffrey Brecker, Devontae Davis and Don Olivier.
The Tigers didn’t get much of a passing offense going on the sub-40 degree night, as Miller
completed just 10 of 23 passes for 113 yards and an interception., But seven different Plainfield
runners combined for 245 rushing yards, including Joe Stiffend’s 56-yard touchdown run with
just under 8 minutes to play.

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