Class 8A Title Game Live Blog (Maine South vs. Marist)

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This is your home for continuous championship game updates.

If you want play-by-play, watch the game on channel 50 (channel 8 on most cable systems). I plan to be more of a color analyst.

Stay tuned. I probably will be up and running right before kickoff.

Wheaton Warrenville South beat Glenbard West 31-24 double OT for the Class 7A title. Chatted with WWS senior captain Mack Tracey, whose team lost to Maine South 27-9 in Week 2. Asked him his thoughts on the Hawks.

“It’s a weird feeling,” he said of both the Hawks and Tigers in the title games. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

So will Tracey root for the only team to beat the Tigers?

“That goes both ways,” he said. “They are a great team, but I think it would be nice to see them lose. If we were down there, we might be high-fiving each other underneath the stands every time Marist scores.”

Well, then.

Class 8A championship. Maine South (13-0) vs. Marist (11-2)

7:52 p.m. start time


Maine South gets ball first. Matt Perez in the backfield. No shocker there.

Hawks already across midfield.

Perez’s first carry is for 5 yards.

Drive stalls.

Hawks forced to punt. Marist will start at own 15. 9:10 to go in first quarter.

RedHawks have third-and-3 at own 22. Marist QB Mike Perish is verbally committed to Western Michigan.

MS Hawks stuff the inside run. Marist punts.

Game of field position already a factor. MS Hawks start at own 43. 7:01 to go in first quarter.

Hawks look at third-and-5 at own 48. Screen pass to Perez first down.

Tyler Benz quick snap and Perez finds outside room and runs for 27 yards to 13. 6:31 left in 1Q

Perez looks fine. Not sure how he feels, but he’s running strong. 6-yarder puts ball on 2.

TD HAWKS: Benz 2-yard run with 6:06 remaining in first quarter. Marcus Nelli kick makes it 7-0.

Marist KO return to 50.

No-huddling RedHawks on the move. Pass to 19 and Maine South helmet contact penalty. Ball at Hawks 12.

Marist now third-and-7 at 12. Pass incomplete.

FG REDHAWKS: 27-yarder good. 7-3 at 4:43 mark in first quarter.

Both teams can move ball quickly.

Heck of a kick-off return by Justin Czerwionka. Second effort gets ball to own 41.

Benz run puts ball across midfield to RedHawks’ 45. Benz could be a fullback with the way he runs. In fact, he should remind people of the way Tim Tebow plays.

Already been lots of flags on the field.

Hawks have third-and-9 from Marist 44. Hawks punt.

Marist takes over deep in own territory.

Perish falls across for first down. Passes to Nick Valla for big gain across midfield. RedHawks have nice spread offense.

END OF 1Q. Maine South 7, Marist 3


Even though LB Matt Heraty is back in action for Hawks, good to see sophomore LB Luke Lenti still on the field. He’s been a difference-maker for the Hawks in the playoffs. He must have magic ears as No. 42 just intercepted Perish after a Marist penalty.

Maine South ball at Marist 20 with 11:38 in 2Q.

Benz sacked for 8-yard loss on second down. Now third-and-10 from 20.

Incomplete pass. Nelli trots out to the field for 37-yard FG try. No good.

Marist takes over at own 20. 9:55 to go in second quarter.

RedHawks third-and-1 from own 29. Toss sweep for 8 yards.

Great pass defense by Ronnie Muck. Safety’s really stepped up his game in second half of the season.

Marist looking at third-and-10 own 37. Incomplete pass. Fourth-and-10. Punt time.

Maine South takes over at own 27. 8:14 on the clock in second quarter.

Hawks have third-and-2 at own 35. Perez 14-yard run to 50.

Benz run up the middle for 10 yards to 40.

Benz to Perez sets up third-and-6 at Marist 45.

Pass to Alex Romano. Spin move enough for first down at Marist 24.

Benz had tons of room to run. Instead throws incomplete to Romano in end zone. Third-and-6 at 20.

Perez stuffed as he cut back to the middle. Hawks face fourth-and-4 from 18. No Nelli. Hawks going for it. Good call.

Benz in big trouble. Senior escapes couple of RedHawks in backfield, scrambles and hits Perez for 7-yard gain. Smart Perez didn’t move. He just waited.

TD HAWKS: Perez 11-yard run for score. Nelli misses extra point. Hawks lead 13-3 with 2:33 to go before the half.

Marist starts drive at own 27. 2:26 on the clock.

Benz makes tackle on defense. He’s everywhere. If he chooses to play football, some team needs to sign this guy. He’s a gamer.

Perish throws incomplete on third down. RedHawks punting.

Maine South takes over at own 41 with 1:09 before halftime. Plenty of time for Charlie Bliss to draw up some offense.

Benz sacked for big loss. Not exactly what Bliss had in mind.

Hawks staring at third-and-18 from own 33.

Marist player too soon on contact on Sean Zingsheim. Pass interference gives Hawks automatic first down. Ouch.

50 seconds to go and Hawks at own 48 with a first down.

Good grab by Zingsheim for 8 yards. Maine South calls timeout with 39 seconds on clock.

Benz went back to Zingsheim. What did Zingsheim pay off his QB? That’s three in a row.

Pass to Perez good for first down. Best player in the state. I haven’t seen them all, but he’s got to be the first one talked about.

Back to Zingsheim after procedure penalty. Hawks have second-and-6 from 28 with 19 seconds to go.

TD HAWKS: Perez up the middle, subtle cut and gone to outside for 28-yard TD. What a fun player to watch. Nelli back on track and lead is 20-3 with 12 seconds before the break.

Too soon to call this one, but Perez seems to be heating up.

HALFTIME. Maine South 20, Marist 3.

Maine South stats

Matt Perez 15 runs, 106 yards, 2 TDs. Caught four passes for 38 yards.

Tyler Benz went 7-for-14 for 66 yards.

Hawks ran 38 plays for 202 yards and held the ball for 15:47.

Marist stats

Mike Perish went 8-for-16 with INT and 82 yards.

RedHawks ran only 23 plays in 8:01.


Marist starts at own 33.

RedHawks third-and-8 from own 48. Luke Lenti sacks Perish for 10-yard loss. Sophomore, the nephew of Mt. Carmel coach Frank Lenti, making an impact in the playoffs.

Hawks get going at own 24 with 9:31 to go in third quarter.

Maine South starts with Perez. First run of second half good for 8 yards. Benz does the rest for the first down.

Hawks third-and-5. Perez runs for 9 yards and first down.

TD HAWKS: Next play: Perez goes 47 yards for TD. Nelli kick is good for 27-3 lead with 6:50 left in third quarter.

Perez has 174 yards on 19 carries and three TDs so far.

Marist moving the ball on next possession. Down to Hawks’ 35.

TD RedHawks: Perish throws 35-yard TD pass to Dan Piko. Marist going for 2. Pass incomplete. Score 27-9 with 5:37 in third quarter.

Maine South starts at own 23.

Perez runs for another first down. Hawks at own 40.

Hawks third-and-9. Pass to Perez first down. Someone in press box wonders why Marist isn’t spying him. Good question.

Third-and-5 for Hawks. Perez runs for, what else, a first down.

Hi, Jenny Han. Wish you were here. That way you could go get Chick-fil-A.

END OF 3Q. Maine South 27, Marist 9


12 minutes until Maine South takes home fourth state title and second in a row.

Maine South has ball at Marist 37 as play resumes.

TD HAWKS: Perez 26-yard TD run to start fourth quarter. Nelli kick good. Hawks lead 34-9 with 11:37 to go in game.

Perez’s fourth TD of the game is a new record of some sorts. I’ll figure it out. I think the PA guy got it wrong.

Marist has ball in Hawks’ territory at 38.

RedHawks threatening. Have ball down to 8-yard line.

Great pass and catch by Perish to Dan Piko in corner of end zone. Maine South coverage was sound. Piko just went up and got the ball. Marist going for two. RedHawks got it to leave score 34-17 with 9:21 to go.

Now, if RedHawks can only stop Perez and the Hawks.

Marist goes for onside kick. Looks as if RedHawks got it, but officials change call.

Hawks ball at own 27.

Marist called for personal foul. Hawks move up to own 46. Marist can’t give Hawks any help.

Maine South called for personal foul. Getting out of hand.

Benz sacked. Third-and-26. Give Perez. He doesn’t get the first down, though.

Hawks punt. Maine South called for another personal foul. Official left his mic on as he was yelling at someone.

Hawks kicking again.

Marist starts at own 43 with 6:48 remaining.

Marist now at Maine South 32. Pass for first down, now at 26 with less than 6 minutes to play.

Tyler Benz intercepts QB counterpart Mike Perish. Maine South ball.

Hawks set up at own 10 with 5:44 to go.

TD HAWKS: Nope not a broken record. Perez runs 76 yards into the end zone. Nelli kick good and Hawks lead 41-17 with 4:27 left.

The rushing TD sets a new 8A record with six. Perez owns the individual record with 5.

I’m shutting her down here on the live blog, unless something special happens.

Good night. Go to for the game story and photos. Thanks for keeping me company tonight.

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