September 20, 2007
By Jeff Davis | SPORTS EDITOR
Hinsdale Central junior defensive tackle Allan Cameron's days as a running back are long over, but he still found a way to get his hands on the ball and feet in the end zone Friday.
The 5-foot-11, 204-pounder recovered a fumble to set up one touchdown and returned another fumble 18 yards for a TD to bolster a huge defensive effort in the Red Devils' 51-3 victory over Hinsdale South in the 25th battle for The Doings Cup in Darien.
As far as Cameron was concerned, his big game couldn't have come at a better time.
"The South team, I know all of them. I went to middle school with half of them. This is the biggest game of the year for me," said Cameron, one of many Red Devils who kissed The Doings Cup amid a joyous victory celebration.
Hinsdale Central (3-1) beat Hinsdale South (1-3) for the sixth straight year and now leads the series 13-12.
"Being the 25th anniversary, it was huge (to win)," said Hinsdale Central senior running back Billy Auriemma, who scored two TDs. "We were able to hear from (assistant) coach (Jim) Zajicek about when he lost to Hinsdale South his senior year when he played in 1988. We got to focus on trying to get ahead 13-12 in the series and representing all the past Red Devils as best as we could."
Friday marked the most lopsided margin of victory in the series, surpassing three 34-point margins.
The Red Devils did it by turning Hinsdale South's five fumbles into touchdowns, adding an interception and limiting the Hornets to zero yards in the first half and 101 for the game, mostly against the reserves.
Brian Connor, Davis Kalsbeek and Mike Briestansky recovered fumbles, with Briestansky returning his 70 yards for the final TD in the third quarter. Chase Culbertson (interception), nose tackle Pat Clegg, left tackle Mike Owens and linebacker Rory Cassin (tackle for loss apiece) and defensive back Garrett Gawa (broken-up pass) also led the defensive charge.
"Our kids were extremely motivated. This is a big game, it's an in-district game, and it's a huge rivalry," Hinsdale Central coach Mike DiMatteo said. "I know our guys were flying around the ball today. They came out with a mission. They didn't like how the game started last week (falling behind 14-0 in a 26-14 win over Lyons Township), and I think that was a carryover. Tonight we felt like we needed to attack because I don't think we did that last week at all."
DiMatteo said the defensive game plan was helped by the fact that last year the Red Devils ran the triple option offense that Hinsdale South uses under first-year coach Alex Bitto. Quarterback Gary Mayberry was the Hornets' leading rusher with 32 yards on 10 carries, but last year's 1,000-yard rusher, Dan Hopp, had only 20 yards on seven carries.
"That's a pretty good football team," Bitto said of the Red Devils. "Their defense is a lot faster than I thought. In the option, you have to read certain players and (defensive coordinator Tom Dorrance) switched up his defense enough where it was difficult for us to make reads and anticipate what he was doing on defense."
Hinsdale Central's offense, meanwhile, shined behind sophomore quarterback John Whitelaw (2 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD), Auriemma (87 yards, 17 carries) and linemen Collin Watkins, Robbie Mains, Jack Curatolo, Tim Curran and Ben Morrison.
The Red Devils needed only six plays to drive 62 yards on its first series, with Auriemma scoring untouched on a 25-yard pass from quarterback John Whitelaw on fourth-and-four for a quick 7-0 lead.
"That's something we've been working on for about four weeks and I think we caught them unprepared on that," Auriemma said of the short pass over the middle. "The linemen did a nice job getting downfield. It was a fun way to start."
That was just the beginning of the fun.
Cameron recovered a fumbled snap on the Hornets' third play at Hinsdale South's 24 that led to Auriemma's 4-yard TD run.
Hinsdale South appeared to catch a big break by recovering Hinsdale Central's fumbled punt and getting a pass interference call to get a first down at the Red Devils' 11. But, after Cassin foiled a reverse run for an 8-yard loss, Culbertson made his interception at the 8.
After an errant punt snap helped give the Hornets the ball back at the Hinsdale Central 18, Hinsdale South had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Mayberry that cut the gap to 14-3 with 9:24 left in the first half.
But Hinsdale Central came right back as Whitelaw made a fantastic fake handoff and raced 36 yards for a TD.
"John's getting better every week and he makes things happen," DiMatteo said of his QB, who completed five of his first seven passes and finished 9 of 17 for 87 yards. "He's maturing and the team rallies around him."
After Klepacki kicked a 28-yard field goal, Cameron recovered an errant pitch as Hinsdale South was running out the clock on third down and rambled 18 yards for his TD with 25 seconds left before halftime for a 31-3 lead at the break.
"I had the entire defense around me blocking for me (on the way to the end zone). It was so much fun," Cameron said. "I like playing defense better (than running back). It's more fun hitting than getting hit."
Hinsdale Central added three more TDs in the third quarter on Rich Zajeski's 2-yard run and Whitelaw's 6-yard pass to Troy Laing, both after fumble recoveries, to start a running clock midway through the period and on Briestansky's fumble return.
"This game was amazing," Cameron summed up. "It was all cylinders firing."
© Copyright 2007 Sun-Times News Group