What can North Chicago learn from Saturday’s 47-6 North Suburban Prairie loss to host Wauconda?
How about this: Not only is it possible to bounce back from a running-clock loss to win the next week, but it feels really good to do it.
Wauconda’s Kevin Malisheski can attest to that. One week after the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1) surrendered 56 points to division power Lakes, the junior quarterback ran for three touchdowns (3, 1 and 9 yards) and passed for two others in a complete performance that had the Homecoming crowd roaring in approval.
North Chicago’s turn to match Wauconda will come next Thursday when the Warhawks (0-5, 0-3) host Round Lake. The game is being played Thursday because of a religious holiday on Friday.
The question is whether North Chicago can generate the offense and force the mistakes against Round Lake that Wauconda did against the Warhawks.
Up 6-0 after scoring on the game’s opening drive, a fumble recovery led to a 35-yard TD pass from Malisheski to Joshua Anderson just 5:53 into the game.
Later, a 47-yard punt return by Steven Ciolek set up a Malisheski TD run, and Anderson had a 78-yard kickoff return that made it 40-6 and offset a pick-six by the Warhawks’ Charles Brown.
“I’m happy with the way we responded (to the Lakes loss),” Wauconda coach Dave Mills said. “This team is living in the moment. With this win we put ourselves back in position at 3-2 to continue our goals for the season. It opens up that next opportunity.”
That next opportunity is Thursday against Grant.
“I liked how fast we were playing,” Mills said. “We were operating our offense and operating our defense. We had some big plays from all over the field. In the first half, we had one mistake (Brown’s pick-six), and I’ll take credit for that. It’s just an execution thing. We’ll learn from it and grow.”
Malishewski finished the game with eight carries for 39 yards, and was 7-for-11 passing for 126 yards. Matt Buechner was the top runner (11 carries, 70 yards, TD).
For North Chicago, senior QB Jamero Shelton was 6-for-21 passing for 65 yards. He ran 20 times for 29 yards. The Hawks had 41 total rushes for 49 yards and 114 yards of total offense.
“Our defense did a really good job. They forced a lot of big third-down plays,” Malishewski said. “They really attacked the quarterback well. They deserve a lot of props.
“We’re 3-2 now, and we want to get to 6-3,” he added. “This was a big game, and we have another one this week against Grant. That will be huge. We’re really looking forward to finishing the season right.”