Streamwood plays for win over Elgin with Tae Reetz

SHARE Streamwood plays for win over Elgin with Tae Reetz
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Senior running back Tae Reetz had never played linebacker, and Streamwood’s defense rarely gets much attention because of the Sabres’ high-powered passing game.

Both of those things changed Friday night for Streamwood as Reetz was pressed into defensive duty and responded with four sacks, while the Sabres’ defense forced four of Elgin’s five turnovers in a 28-18 Upstate Eight River victory over the Maroons at Memorial Field

“It was the first time I played linebacker,” said Reetz, who was forced into the lineup on defense due to injuries. “Coach said go have fun, get 50 tackles and be the star of the game. So I tried my best to get out there and get some tackles.”

Reetz made the key tackle of the game. With Streamwood’s offense stalling out and Elgin (0-6, 0-4) owning momentum and the ball while down 21-6 early in the third quarter, Reetz blitzed and hit Elgin quarterback Dontrell Gaddy’s arm, forcing a fumble at the 7 — 14 yards behind the line. Defensive end Jonah Exline picked it up and scooted in for the touchdown that gave the Sabres (2-4, 2-2) a 28-6 advantage.

“I smacked it out of his hand and was hoping I could get it, but Exline grabbed it and so I just hugged him into the end zone,” Reetz said, laughing. “For sure, defense won this game for us. We had a lot of good stops.”

Jesse Rico, Jelyn Hill and Garrett Brown came up with Sabre interceptions. Rico’s interception and return set up a 2-yard TD sneak by Max Draper for a 21-0 Streamwood lead with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.

Another turnover had helped give the Sabres a 14-0 lead. Reetz had ended the Sabres’ first drive of 70 yards with a 5-yard TD run, and on the ensuing kickoff, Carlos Macias came up with a loose ball that had been muffed by Elgin, leading to a 38-yard drive that ended in Draper’s second TD sneak of 2 yards.

“We came in and wanted to run the ball,” Sabres coach Mark Orszula said. “It was a windy night, a little bit cooler. We did it in the first half. Then they made some adjustments and stopped us after that.

“Plus we had a lot of penalties that hurt in the second half.”

Elgin rallied, scoring on Gaddy’s 7-yard fourth-down TD pass to Jordan Smith in the corner of the end zone with 6:50 left in the second quarter. Even after Exline’s 7-yard fumble return for a TD, the Maroons kept coming and Gaddy threw a 25-yard TD pass to 6-6 receiver Elijah Bonds with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

“We did a real good job on defense, but offensively every time we got in the red zone we had silly mistakes, offsides or backed ourselves up or turned it over,” said Smith, who had six catches for 98 yards. “We got in the red zone a bunch of times and if we’d scored every time there we would have won the game.”

Elgin held the Sabres to 46 yards passing and in the second half to only two first downs — both by penalty. Smith also had an interception, but Elgin’s offense had three second-half trips in the red zone with no points.

“The defense did outstanding and I thought (coordinator Michael) Ledbetter did a nice job kind of rallying the troops after the first few series,” Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said after the homecoming loss. “We shut down their passing game. It was just the interceptions and the (fumbled) kick.”

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