When No. 2 Homewood-Flossmoor raced out to a 20-0 lead just 5:09 into Friday night’s game against Lincoln-Way East, it appeared the Griffins were in for a long night.
Someone forgot to inform a relentless East of its plight.
Not only did the No. 13 Griffins erase the Vikings’ three-touchdown lead, they walked away with an improbable 43-40 SouthWest Suburban Blue win in front of a standing-room only crowd.
A week after struggling to defeat a then-winless Lockport 28-25, the Griffins (4-1, 2-0), at least offensively, resembled world-beaters in taking down H-F (3-2, 1-1).
“We were in trouble,” East coach Rob Zvonar said when asked what he was thinking when his team trailed 20-0. “H-F did what they do. We were on our heals. But our defense settled down and our offense got us back in the game.”
The tandem of quarterback Mike Weller and Liam Morrissey willed the Griffins to victory. Weller completed 22 of 36 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns. Morrissey racked up 229 yards rushing and four scores.
Morrissey’s last two touchdowns, both from three yards out, gave the Griffins their first lead of the night at 35-28 and the lead at 43-40 with 4:38 to go.
“We had to keep our heads up and fight our way back,” Morrissey said. “We played hard through the whole game.”
John Zelenika hauled in two of Weller’s TD tosses, covering 12 and 34 yards. East’s offensive line of Sam Diehl, Tim Vyhnanek, Max Marietti, Nick Ronza and Doug Barkauski provided holes for Morrissey and time for Weller to execute.
“This is one of the biggest wins this program has had in a few years,” Zvonar said. “I’m so proud of the team. They never quit.”
Deante Harley-Hampton (14 carries, 76 yards) sandwiched touchdown runs of 17 and 22 yards around a 2-yard TD pass from Bryce Gray to James Sheehan that made it 20-0.
“We know we have to get better on defense,” H-F coach Craig Buzea said. “We come into Lincoln-Way East and score 40 points and get beat, it’s a problem.”
Gray completed 16 of 29 for 193 yards and three scores. Devonte Harley-Hampton piled up 110 yards rushing on 14 carries.
“We had a great week of practice, probably the best of the season,” Morrissey said. “It carried over to (Friday). We never got down on ourselves. We knew that we could come back. It’s a great win.”