Homewood-Flossmoor scored on the ground, in the air and on an interception return Saturday against Joliet West.
And that was just the first quarter.
H-F put up three touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of its SouthWest Suburban Blue opener and rolled to a 41-0 road victory.
“It felt real good getting a shutout,’’ defensive lineman Zackery Eastling said. “Playing hard, running hard, trying to make tackles. No missed tackles. You’ve got to make every tackle.’’
The defense was led by the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Eastling, Justin Minor and Kaylen Luna up front, along with stout play from linebackers Michael Hall, Eric Bey, Justin Chu and Giovanni Harris.
Defensive back Christian Langston returned a deflected pass 23 yards for H-F’s third touchdown with 2:52 still remaining in the opening quarter.
“Eastling did an outstanding job,’’ H-F coach Craig Buzea said. “Our defense sometimes gets unnoticed.’’
Quarterback Bryce Gray certainly didn’t go unnoticed. The 5-11 junior was 15-of-24 for 270 yards and four touchdowns before yielding to Trevor Johnson midway through the third quarter.
Deante Harley-Hampton opened the scoring on a 41-yard run less than a minute into the game. Gray completed a 38-yard pass to Kendric Pryor for a 14-0 lead two plays before the interception return made it 20-0.
“We played pretty well. We’ve got a lot of things we can do better,’’ Gray said. “I don’t think we played our best game. We had a couple big plays and got things working. Defense made some nice stops, offense moved the ball.’’
Gray found tight end James Sheehan on two second-quarter touchdowns, an 11-yarder followed by a 5-yard connection and a 34-0 lead 56 seconds before halftime.
Devonte Harley-Hampton caught an 11-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to complete the scoring. H-F (2-1, 1-0) finished with 518 yards of total offense.
The Vikings rebounded from a loss the previous week to highly-ranked Stevenson.
“Last week against Stevenson we didn’t play Viking football as well as we could,’’ Gray said. “We tried to come out here, play more as a team, play better Viking football. We got the result we expected.’’
“Coming off last week, we had the No. 1 team in the state down 24-7 and we can’t hold on,’’ Buzea said. “We had a big focus on that this week.
“I thought this could be a little bit of a trap game because there was so much hype on that game against Stevenson. I thought they came back and did a nice job.’’
Next for H-F is a SouthWest Blue matchup against winless Joliet Central.
“You can’t look past any opponent,’’ Gray said. “Anything can happen.’’