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Intercepting the Bengals : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Intercepting the Bengals
Oswego defense opens game with turnover, leads to big SPC win over Plainfield East

by Alex Gasick

10/4/2012

Last Friday night, the Oswego football team's offense surpassed the 40-point mark for the fifth time this season as they spoiled Plainfield East's Homecoming with a 42-7 win in a Southwest Prairie Conference matchup.

With the win, Oswego improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in SPC play, while Plainfield East fell to 1-5 overall (1-3, SPC).

While the Panthers offense put on a clinic, racking up 426 yards of total offense, it was their defense that set the tone for the night. On the first play of the game, Oswego senior Alain Dixon intercepted a pass from Plainfield East quarterback Jacob Kotopka at midfield. The play sucked the air out of Plainfield East's rowdy Homecoming crowd and transferred all the momentum to the Oswego sideline.

"You can't ask for a better way to start the game," Oswego head coach Brian Cooney said. "Starting on defense, on the road, that's just great."

The Panthers drove to the Bengals 11-yard line, where they were faced with a fourth-and-5.

Oswego elected to go for it, but senior running back Mickeel Stewart was stopped two yards shy of a first down, resulting in a turnover on downs.

"That first offensive possession, we started off slow," Stewart said. "I don't know why we keep doing that, but getting off to a better start offensively is something we need to keep working on."

The Panthers got the ball back with 3:19 left in the first quarter after their defense forced a turnover on downs. Several runs by Stewart and Bryce Holm took Oswego to Plainfield East's 18-yard line as the first quarter ended without a score.

On the first play of the second quarter Stewart took a pitch on the left side all the way to the end zone for Oswego's first score of the game. Kicker Jeremy Wine made the extra point to put the Panthers up 7-0.

Plainfield East senior Aris Irizarry then returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, which sent the crowd back into a frenzy. The extra point was converted to even the score, 7-7.

Oswego remained composed on its next possession as Stewart scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard touchdown run with 8:13 left in the second quarter to cap off a 10 play, 71-yard drive.

After another stop on defense, the Panthers put a nine-play, 57-yard drive together to end the first half that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from Holm. Stewart ran the ball 21 times for 153 yards in the first half.

"After watching film all week, we knew the powers would be huge so we just wanted to keep pounding the run early to get them tired in our drives," Oswego senior quarterback Brett Wainwright said. "With Mickeel pounding the ball, it works."

The Panthers stuck with that game plan on their first possession of the second half as Stewart scored his third running touchdown of the game to end a possession that took over six minutes off the clock.

"They have a very fast, tough, physical defense but our coaching staff saw some holes and weaknesses in their line, so we just kept running No. 7 (Stewart) to them, which was a great result," Cooney said.

Stewart finished the game with three touchdowns and 189 yards rushing on 30 carries. He also caught a pass for 36 yards. Holm complimented Stewart by carrying the ball 13 times for 65 yards and a touchdown.

"The offensive line set everything up," Stewart said. "They've been doing amazing, giving me huge holes, and I love running behind them. I wish could buy them all presents or a steak dinner."

After another defensive stop, Wainwright completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior Elliot McGaughy to put the Panthers up 35-7 at the end of the third quarter. To go along with the touchdown pass, Wainwright also ran the ball nine times for 40 yards.

Early in the fourth quarter freshman quarterback Steven Frank threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to senior Jack Kwiatkowski for the Panthers' final score. Kwiatkowski finished the game with three catches for 32 yards.

Though the offense was electric, Cooney was pleased with how well their defense performed.

"We gave up the kick return, but other than that we pitched a shutout on defense," Cooney said. "We knew our defense would be able to compete with them, but they run a multitude of fronts offensively so they're not an easy to team to defend."

Oswego returns to Ken Pickerill Stadium on Friday, hosting Plainfield North while celebrating its Homecoming. Cooney knows they will have to play their best to win as the Tigers match the Panthers' record at 5-1 overall and 4-0 in SPC play. Plainfield North's only loss this season came in a 27-22 decision to Bradley-Bourbonnais in the season opener.

"Plainfield North is a very good football team, and you never know how the conference is going to shake out so it could be for the conference title," Cooney said. "We're going to prep hard like we do every week and hope for the best."





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