The story of Friday’s football game against Plainfield East was defense, as the Oswego Panthers blew out the Bengals 49-0, despite a slow start. Head coach Brian Cooney’s defense shut down the Bengal offense and provided the Panthers with fantastic field position, allowing the struggling Panther offense to work with a short field.
Oswego continued its trend of dominant defensive outings as the Panthers recorded six total sacks, two picks, a fumble recovery and earned their second shutout of the season. Junior Aric Nieves and senior Jett Weaver recorded the interceptions, while senior Jake Duncan recovered the fumble.
“We dig deep,” sophomore defensive lineman Matt Egly, who recorded one of the six sacks for the Panthers defense, said about his team’s defensive effort. “We get down in the trenches, and we stop s—.”
The game had plenty of scores, and a new personal record. Senior quarterback Noah Parker went 11-24 with 182 yards passing. Senior running back Charles Coleman led the attack on the ground, with 121 yards on 14 attempts with two touchdowns. Senior Markus Tillmon three touchdowns, a varsity career high. Through the air, Senior Jamal Fomby had another 100 yard game, putting up 109 yards on six receptions. Senior John Luke Patterson also added his second special teams score of the year.
Oswego’s first three possessions all reached the red zone, but the Bengal defense shut door, forcing two turnover on downs, and a missed field goal. There was no score after the first quarter.
Plainfield East did fantastic job limiting Coleman in the first quarter, forcing Panther head coach Brian Cooney to turn to other options, such as Tillmon.
The Panthers finally broke through in the second, on a 5-yard touchdown run by Tillmon to make the lead 7-0 after the extra point. Later in the first, Tillmon capped off another drive for the Panthers with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
Coleman finally reached the endzone on a 5-yard run to get in the endzone for the first time since the game against Plainfield North two weeks ago. Coleman also added a second touchdown on a 47 yard run in the third.
With under a minute to play in the first half, Patterson fielded a punt at his own 46 yard line. Patterson ran left, reverse field two times before running into the endzone for the touchdown on the highlight play of the night. The Panthers headed into the half with a 28-0.
The Bengals defense, with no answer for the Panther offensive attack since the first quarter, continued to struggle for the rest of the game, even hitting a running clock in the third quarter.
Tillmon punched through for his varsity career-high third touchdown, on an 8-yard run, which put the game out of reach and activated the running clock rule for the remainder of the game.
Laird added the icing on the cake with a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers up 49-0, which was the final score.
In the waning seconds of the game, Bengals QB Benjamin Mazurkiewicz led the Plainfield East offense down inside the 5 in an effort to nullify the shutout. However, the Panther defense held strong and forced an incomplete pass as time expired to sustain their second shutout of the season.
The score doesn’t tell the whole story from this game, as early offensive woes prevented what could’ve been an even larger score.
“Slow start, shot ourselves in the foot, I don’t know what that was about,” Cooney said about the first quarter. “We definitely came out sloppy for sure, something we got to polish up. Our timing was off, our blocking schemes weren’t in sync, but we’ll get it fixed.”
Coach Cooney and the Panthers will put their undefeated record on the line as they travel to Romeoville to take take on the winless Spartans on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.