Sandburg rides ‘workhorse’ Brian Langowski to victory over Stagg

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In a season of adversity, the one constant for Sandburg has been running back Brian Langowski.

“He runs very hard every time he touches the ball,” Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. “He’s been our workhorse.”

The Eagles rode their “horse” to a 14-0 win over rival Stagg on Friday night in a pivotal SouthWest Suburban Blue battle.

Six wins assures a team entry into the postseason, though five victories and enough yet-to-be-determined playoff points also guarantees a playoff invitation.

Sandburg is in good position to reach its playoff goal, improving to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Blue. The Eagles cap off the season Friday vs. undefeated Bolingbrook.

Stagg fell to 4-4 and 2-4. The Chargers will need to upset Homewood-Flossmoor on Friday to reach five wins and give themselves a shot.

“We knew what was at stake,” Wierzal said. “We knew this was a big game.”

Stagg certainly made matters difficult and showed no resemblance to the team that suffered a 54-7 loss to Sandburg in 2012. The Chargers have made great strides in coach Mike Fahey’s first season.

Still, it wasn’t enough to derail Sandburg. Mainly because of Langowski, who accounted for touchdown runs of 1 and 45 yards and totaled 101 yards rushing on the night.

Langowski’s first score came on the Eagles’ first series of the game and his second arrived late in the fourth quarter.

“Brian’s a classic I-back, shoulders coming forward with a little speed,” Wierzal said.

The Eagles defense also was a major contributor. It intercepted Stagg quarterback Adam Pilota (8-of-20, 74 yards) three times.

Graham Hevel, Lavelle Johnson and Adam Nash had picks for Sandburg.

Johnson and Nash’s interceptions came in Sandburg territory and squashed potential scoring drives.

“We’ve got to finish drives,” Fahey said. “We’ve got to find a way to make a big play in key situations.”

The Eagles put a ton of pressure on Pilota, who was knocked down several times on the night. Sandburg’s front line of Matt Taylor, Peter Rodriguez, Mike Howard and Louis Paleothodoros found its way often into the backfield. Hevel, a linebacker, was a constant presence back there, too.

“It’s all about communication,” Johnson said. “The secondary talking to the linebackers and the linebackers talking to the line. Just keep playing hard and not giving up.”

A major bright spot for Stagg’s offense was the play of fullback Austin Kelly, who finished with 105 yards on 18 carries, including a 44-yard rumble.

Defensive end Roger Boylan was all over the field making plays and Leith Sadi had an interception for the Chargers.

Sandburg quarterback Julian Gutierrez completed 7-of-15 passes for 66 yards.

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