Their first venture into the combined Chicago Catholic League-East Suburban Catholic football conference proved to be a rough trip for the Leo Lions.
Losing their quarterback for half of that trip made the degree of difficulty insurmountable.
ESCC mainstay St. Patrick’s rode the relentless running of tailback Eric Wozny and lefty quarterback Aidan Larson’s three touchdown passes to a 33-0 victory over the Lions on Friday, Sept. 14 at Triton College. It was a gorgeous night for football, at least for the Shamrocks.
The Lions trailed 19-0 as the first half wound down, but they had settled down on defense after spotting their hosts two quick scores. They were starting to mount a semblance of offense when quarterback James E’Akels took an inadvertent helmet to the facemask from a St. Pat’s defender after an incomplete pass. E’Akels was held out for the remainder of the game as a precaution. Minus its strong-armed sophomore passer, Leo’s offense was shut down as well.
Tobias Sample became the emergency replacement, but the versatile senior hadn’t played quarterback since his freshman year. With Leo’s passing game grounded, the quick, active St. Pat’s defenders could concentrate on stopping the run, and they did, limiting Sample and Jalen Johnson to 60 yards on 27 carries.
Wozny surpassed that total on one run, a 70-yard, third-quarter TD burst on which he simply refused to be tackled. The brick-thick 210-pound senior finished with 210 yards on 20 carries, adding a second TD on a three-yard pop in the final period.
Larson completed 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards, connecting with Jack Ryle (11 yards), Vic Matkowski (11 yards) and A.J. Fitzpatrick (seven yards) for touchdowns.
E’Akels was 2-for-5 for 21 yards before departing. Sample completed one pass, a 37-yarder to sophomore Rayion Davidson, who had all three Leo receptions for 58 yards.
If there is a bright spot to be gleaned from a 33-point loss, it was a drastic reduction in penalty yardage. The Lions were flagged four times for 25 yards after being assessed a whopping 180 yards in the previous week’s loss to Evergreen Park.
Now 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the Catholic League, Leo will face its first Red Division opponent when it travels to DePaul Prep on Saturday, Sept. 21. The game will be played at Chicago Academy High School, 3400 N. Austin Ave., with kickoff at noon.