A funny thing happened to Rolling Meadows quarterback Jack Milas while he was preparing to enter Friday’s game at Wheeling. His teammate, junior running back Kevin Montero, returned the opening kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.
It was a sign of things to come as Rolling Meadows rolled to a 35-9 victory. Despite the quick touchdown, the Rolling Meadows offense didn’t exactly explode out of the gate.
“It was tough getting into a rhythm at first,” said Milas, a 6-foot-2, 193-pound senior who has committed to Ball State. “Usually, we get the ball right away, not a kick return. That made us sit down for awhile and slowed us down at first.”
But Milas and company recovered and earned the win in both teams’ Mid-Suburban East opener. Milas completed 12 of 17 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown and senior running back Steven Royster added 64 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
About the only complaint from the Rolling Meadows’ sideline was the nine penalties for 95 yards.
“We’ve had that issue all year,” Meadows coach Matt Mishler said. “We’ve tried to address them. I’m going to have to get creative. I’m tired of seeing offensive penalties. It’s just unnecessary. Penalties killed us against Conant (Meadows’ only loss). We have to get more disciplined.”
A false start penalty on fourth-and-goal forced Rolling Meadows (4-1) to settle for a field-goal try while leading 13-0 late in the first quarter. The kick was short. The Mustangs also had to overcome a 15-yard illegal block on their final touchdown drive of the first half.
“I think we need to execute a little better,” Milas said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of penalties. But that happens.”
Wheeling (2-3, 0-1) also tried to slow the Rolling Meadows’ offense down by using all of the play clock and running the ball on nearly every down. But the Mustangs’ defense limited the Wildcats to just 106 yards, 31 coming on a scoring drive in the waning moments.
“They were obviously trying to run the ball, keep the clock rolling and keep our offense off the field,” Mishler said. “But we made a concerted effort this offseason to get better at stopping the run. We did not do a very good job of it last year, but so far this year for most part we’ve done a pretty good job.”
Junior running back Sam Yoshino led Wheeling with 68 yards on 15 carries.