Waubonsie provides test for Oswego

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Truth can be stranger than fiction. How else to explain Brian Cooney’s first victory as Oswego football coach?

His team spotted host Geneva a 7-0 lead before forcing seven straight turnovers last Friday and scoring 47 straight points, all in the first half. The Viking miscues included six fumbles and a snap over the punter’s head, leading to a running clock at the start of the second half.

Twice, Oswego defensive back Jamaal Richardson returned fumbles for touchdowns, one of them 26 yards, the other 95.

“It was a very strange game,” said Cooney, noting that lineman Jordan Smith forced the first fumble Richardson returned and nickel back Charlie Jakubowski the second.

“We haven’t had a pick or a fumble return for a touchdown in quite a long time,” said Cooney, the team’s former defensive coordinator who is now in his 15th year on the staff. “Not only did we have two in one game, we had two in the same half and they were by the same player.”

The Panthers can’t rest on their laurels, though. They play host to Waubonsie Valley Friday before traveling to Southwest Prairie Conference favorite Minooka in their league opener the following week.

“The road doesn’t get any easier,” said Cooney, noting the Warriors’ season-opening 34-14 win at home against Naperville Central that included 438 total yards of offense. “Waubonsie is very, very good. That was not a fluke.

“They spread you out and put the ball in the hands of their good athletes. They’ll hand it off to No. 27 (senior RB Austin Guido) or throw it to No. 9, their tight end who is a big target (6-foot-6 , 225 Troy Fumagalli). They can do some things to keep you off balance.

“Then, on defense they’ll use a four-man front and a three-man front. They rattle around and it’s hard to predict where they’re coming from.”

Guido, in his third year starting, ran 38 times for 271 yards and three scores in the opener. Fumagalli caught seven Dylan Warden passes for 68 yards and a score.

“Guido is as close to (former Marmion and SIU standout) Tommy Koutsos as I’ve had in the backfield since 1998,” Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said. “(Guido) has got great vision and he hits the hole with speed.”

Murphy is pleased with Warden’s development.

“He started eight games as a junior (due to an injury) so he understands the speed of the game and he’s like a coach on the field,” said the coach. “He was 10 of 13 (passing) and on three of those he checked out of called runs. One of them gets us a TD.”

Cooney started freshman Steven Frank, but after Geneva took advantage of getting possession with a short field, “we shifted up and then started getting some momentum,” thanks to the turnovers and success running the ball out of the Power I with Brett Wainwright taking snaps.

Wainwright also sees action as a wideout.

“They did a nice job with the Power I stuff,” Murphy said of the package run by Wainwright. “I’m sure (who Oswego uses) is gonna depend on down and distance, if they’re in front or need to come back and if they want to burn clock.

“Those turnovers, though, tell you their defense is opportunistic.”

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