By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
With first-round star Lamont Toney fighting a slight hip injury, the Rockford Boylan Titans were worried about how much they could get out of their field general in the second round of the IHSA state football playoffs Saturday, Nov. 5.
Then, on Boylan’s first offensive possession after a Falcons punt, Toney took off for a 31-yard touchdown run to give Boylan a 7-0 lead.
It was all he needed to do. Tyreis Thomas took care of the rest.
The senior running back exploded for 279 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and threw in a 42-yard touchdown reception to help Boylan cruise to a 37-20 win in their IHSA Class 7A second-round game.
“I think I’m going to go home and relax and feel good about what I did today,” Thomas said. “But I’ve also got to give the offensive line a lot of credit.”
The Titans struggled early after the touchdown, managing only a 44-yard field goal from Sean Slattery, despite good field position.
Following a Wheaton North fumble that was recovered by Ty Zimmerman of Boylan, Thomas helped Boylan reach the 2-yard line, where DeMarcus Vines capped off the drive with a touchdown.
On their next possession, Thomas took off for a 52-yard run, getting stopped at the 3. He took the next snap into the end zone to help Boylan to a 23-0 lead.
Wheaton North struck back before the half, however, as quarterback John Peltz drove his team down in the last minute and thew a 7-yard pass to Johnny Daniels.
The Falcons struck first in the second half as well, on a 70-yard pass from Peltz to Micah Penn, and suddenly Wheaton North was only down 10.
“You have to give them different looks on defense,” Boylan Head Coach Dan Appino said. “They have enough in their offensive packages to find your weakness.”
Their defense held, and the momentum appeared to be shifting. But on the ensuing punt, a short punt took a high bounce and went off a Wheaton North player, and the Titans recovered.
On an untimed down to end the third quarter following a Boylan holding penalty, Thomas sprinted 54 yards, breaking tackles and out-running the Falcons’ defense for a game-sealing touchdown.
Peltz did throw one more touchdown to Matt Biegalski, but Toney’s touchdown pass to Thomas led to the final score. A Peter Cimino interception in the end zone ended any final Wheaton North threat.
The show by Thomas was an impressive performance of speed and power. Not only was Thomas able to break off long runs, but he was able to turn 4- or 5-yard runs into 10- or 12-yard runs by dragging defenders with him.
“When I was younger, I was taught determination and desire to score,” Thomas said. “I really wanted to score today and show what I had.”
The Titans will travel to Crystal Lake South for their third-round matchup. Boylan last faced the Gators in 2008 in the playoffs, losing 28-0.
Crystal Lake South features a tough, hard-nosed defense that was able to hold one of the most explosive offenses in the state, Mundelein Carmel, to 9 points in the second round. The game will take place Saturday, Nov. 12.
In other local action:
• Machesney Park Harlem saw their season end before they knew what hit them. Four first-half turnovers, and three Fernando Lozano touchdowns, put Harlem in a 32-0 halftime hole. The Huskies made it interesting, scoring 22 unanswered points in the second half, before falling 39-22.
• In round one, Winnebago scored in the last minute to win. In the second round, they needed overtime to win. Winnebago quarterback Dylan Daub hit Michael Pate for a touchdown in overtime, then the defense stopped Wilmington’s Jayson Conlin at the 1-yard-line to hold on to a 14-7 win. Winnebago will face Aurora Christian next.
• Quarterback Jeff Cialkowski ran for 100 yards and threw for 112 yards as Stillman Valley rolled past Coal City 28-13. The Cardinals will travel to Sandwich in the next round.
• Quinn Haas returned for Lena Winslow and scored a 63-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a lead. But Jake Apple and Connor Flemming both scored for Dakota to help give the Indians a 16-7 win. Dakota will host Forreston in the next round.
From the Nov. 9-15, 2011, issue