Lincoln-Way North junior running back Jaylin Branch had a pretty good first half against host Andrew to say the least.
Branch carried the ball 14 times for 129 yard and four touchdowns.
His moment, however, came with five minutes left in the second quarter on a run that didn’t produce any points, but definitely plenty of style points. He broke four tackles on the 24-yard gain and and left a lot of jaws dropped.
Branch and the rest of the Phoenix cruised to an easy 49-13 Southwest Suburban Red win. They led 42-0 by the half, initiating a running clock the remainder of the game.
“We just come out and play hard and do what we have to do,” Branch said, “I just try to keep my feet moving and make them miss – that’s all I know.
All my credit goes to my offensive line for all the big runs I’ve had. We have to remain focused and play our game.”
The Phoenix outgained the Thunderbolts 330-28 in that half and had five defensive players (Connor Jurak, Drew Slager, Austin McPartland, Dan Brown, Jake Abramowicz) with at least one tackle for a loss, and another, Josh Whittington, with a sack.
They held the T-bolts passing attack to 11 yards. The only offensive player with positive yards for the T-bolts at the half was Alex Cusimano (11 carries, 57 yards). Most of that coming on a 30-yard run
“That’s one of the best teams we are going to fave all year,” Andrew coach David Connell said. “I expected our guys to come out a little more ready to play so that’s on me. We have to execute and if we do that the score isn’t as bad.”
After Branch scored two of his three two-yard touchdown runs, Kyle Ostrowski caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Arthur (10-for-10, 120 yards, 2 touchdowns). Arthur connected on a 13-yard pass to Ben Bajic to make it 35-0. Branch added his final touchdown run, a one-yarder, with 1:17 left in the second quarter.
“We are playing real well right now and getting the ball into the hands of our play makers,” Lincoln-Way North coach George Czart said. “The defense is playing better and we are keeping things pretty simple and just flying at the football.”
The Phoenix have outscored their first three opponents 142-19.