Jeff Davis, Sports Editor | Hinsdale Doings | Published September 14, 2006
Senior Jon Rogowski and his Hinsdale Central football teammates simply
wanted control Friday and no controversy.
The Red Devils were determined to assert themselves against rival Hinsdale South, and that’s what they did with a 31-7 victory at Dickinson Field in the annual battle for The Doings Cup traveling trophy that had even more meaning behind it.
In last year’s showdown, the Red Devils (3-0) won 3-0 in Darien, but the Hornets (0-3) believed they scored a touchdown in the first quarter that was ruled inches shy of the goal line. The Red Devils then stopped the Hornets on fourth down.
“I think emotions really ran high for us. We knew that we legitimately won the game last year, and we just had to prove it to them this year that once and for all we are the better team,” Rogowski said. “Big rivalry, The Doings Cup — it doesn’t matter what records are coming into this game because everybody’s always going to bring their best.”
The Red Devils’ victory was historic. It tied the overall series 12-12 going into next season’s 25th meeting, and it also marked the first time either school beat the other for five straight years.
“What a great year for it, too. It’s the 75th anniversary of the year our field was built,” Rogowski said. “We learned that from (assistant coach Jim Zajicek the day before) so it’s very cool. It’s a great feeling.”
Defeating the District 86 rival was a new feeling for first-year Hinsdale Central coach Mike DiMatteo.
“We tell the kids to take each game as it comes, they’re all the same — outside of playing for the state championship. It didn’t really hit me until after,” DiMatteo said. “When (athletic director Tom Schweer) presented us with The Doings Cup, I was pretty jacked up for it. I didn’t expect that (emotion) because I didn’t know what to expect, but I do now and it was really neat.”
The Red Devils’ defense allowed just 208 total yards — and 122 of those came against reserves in the fourth quarter after the Red Devils were ahead 24-0.
Meanwhile, the new triple-option offense continued to progress under quarterback Zach Leathers, who rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 98 yards — including a 48-yard strike to Pat Garvin that set up the Red Devils’ second TD, a 1-yard run by Mike Imke. Chase Culbertson, a defensive starter who replaced Leathers at quarterback in the fourth quarter, also had a late TD run.
Hinsdale South coach Jim Kirwan moved senior free safety/receiver Roy Galloway to starting quarterback after the Hornets failed to convert numerous red-zone chances in their 20-7 loss to Lyons Township Sept. 1. Galloway, who threw two halfback option passes against LT, then injured his knee in the third quarter and was replaced by previous starter John Swidergal.
“We’re not really in their league right now as a football team. I’m glad that’s over and we’ll move on,” Kirwan said.
“They’re outstanding. Their defense is really fast, and they were closing down on Roy Galloway, and that’s the fastest player we have. And their offense, because of the nature of the wing with all of the timing involved, they’re just going to get better every week. And I think they clearly showed they made another step forward this week.” Hinsdale Central defensive leaders included Jack DiNardo (12 tackles, sack, 3 tackles for loss), J.T. Sandstedt (8 tackles, 2 sacks), Rogowski (6 tackles, 2 sacks), Culbertson (6 tackles, sack, fumble recovery), Kyle Larkin (5 tackles), Nick Chenier (interception) and Tim Curran (fumble recovery).
After Hinsdale Central took a 14-0 lead on back-to-back drives, the Hornets drove to the Red Devils’ 10, but the drive stalled, partly because of a third-down fumble caused by Sandstedt, and they missed a 32-yard field goal. The Hornets scored when Dan Hopp (122 rushing yards) had a 21-yard TD run after a combined 33 yards on the previous two plays.
“Ever since the summer, we started practicing really hard and we had a feeling (about our defense),” said Sandstedt, an outside linebacker. “I guess I could say I didn’t expect it to work out this well. But everyone on the team has high expectations and we’re pulling through.”
Leathers likes how the offense is going, too. About his only disappointment was that he thought he was on his way 71-yard TD run in the second quarter, but Adam Phillips came from behind to tackle him at the 2. Leathers scored on the next play.
Leathers played quarterback as a freshman but played defense in 2005. Does he miss defense?
“Not with this offense — too much fun. I like being in control. It’s a good feeling,” Leathers said. “(The new offense) was difficult at first, but it just grows on you after a while. It’s simple once you get it down. Half a summer, I had no idea what I was doing and after that, the switch is turned on.”
The Red Devils also accomplished what DiMatteo said he was proud to see the players set among themselves as one of their pre-season goals. It was a victory in which everyone got to play.
“Every single person on the team played tonight so it was great,” Sandstedt said. “It’s a lot of fun to see other people play.”
Copyright © 2006, The Doings