Even in a winless season there are players who stand out, and Elgin coach Kyle Rohde was quick to point out the production of senior safety/wide receiver Jordan Smith after the Maroons came closer than they have all year to a victory in Friday’s 28-18 loss to Streamwood.
“I thought Jordan Smith responded very well,” Rohde said. “Last week I didn’t play him on offense because he wasn’t catching the ball.”
Smith made six catches for 78 yards and his first touchdown of the season, a 7-yarder from quarterback Dontrell Gaddy.
“He rose to the occasion and did what was asked of him,” Rohde said.
For the year, the 6-2, 200-pound Smith has 15 catches for a team-high 215 yards. Defensively, he also leads the way with 30 solo tackles and all three of the Maroons’ interceptions.
Elgin had several other players who made a comeback possible once they were down 21-0. Sophomore center John Syrek, promoted two weeks ago, earned Rohde’s praise, as did defensive tackle Fernando Varas.
Another player who stood out was 6-6, 230-pound receiver Elijah Bonds with seven catches for 97 yards, but the Maroons will lose Bonds next game due to a last-minute ejection following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Smith said the Maroons are fed up with losing, but are finding motivation. Elgin’s losing streak is 18 games, dating to three straight in the final year of Dave Bierman’s time as coach.
A week from Friday they face winless Larkin in the battle for the Town Jug.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find motivation, but we realize at the end of the day you’ve got to get back up and you’ve still got to fight — it’s not over,” Smith said. “That’s when we really rally around each other when we have nobody else, and go to work.”
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando gave a tip of the cap to defensive coordinator Marc Rusinko for an early tweak after Walther Christian started with a few first downs. The Green Wave (6-0, 2-0) went on to a 61-0 rout.
“He made a slight adjustment with our linebackers when they were able to get a couple things done,” Rolando said. “I think that’s something coach Marc does real well is make adjustments, whether at halftime, in the first quarter or after we see a couple things happening that we weren’t expecting. The ACC game last year comes to mind. We gave up 124 yards the first quarter and negative yards the rest of the game.”
St. Edward plays its biggest game of the year — and its homecoming game — Friday against Ridgewood (3-3, 2-0).
“They’ve got alomst twice as many kids as we do,” Rolando said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Burlington Central (4-2, 4-0) is getting its depth tested further after losing running back Jason Berango to a knee injury in Friday’s 21-13 win over Marengo.
The extent of the injury isn’t known yet, but Burlington, already without linebacker Cole Roach (broken leg) and fullback Dan Le (Achilles) for the year have turned successfully to Trevor Davison and Brad Sorensen in the run game.
Berango had nine rushes for 49 yards and a TD before his injury, but Sorensen (117) and Davison (100) both went over 100 yards and had a TD. The Rockets’ depth doesn’t end there.
“We’ve got the (Tim) Goehrke kid too, and he’s really fast,” coach Rich Crabel said.
Burlington has a key Big Northern East game Friday at home with Richmond-Burton, a team it hasn’t beaten since 2006.