Center Matt Kielbasa returns from injury in a snap for Hampshire

SHARE Center Matt Kielbasa returns from injury in a snap for Hampshire
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Hampshire quarterback Nick Mohlman put on a clinic in accuracy last week, and now with more help, it could get even better.

Mohlman (13-of-17, 192 yards) completed 13 straight passes at one point in his team’s 28-18 victory over rival Burlington Central, and he had a fair amount of time to throw. Now he should have even more time because he’ll have center Matt Kielbasa snapping to him Friday when the Whip-Purs open Fox Valley Fox play at home against Grayslake North, a state-playoff qualifier last year and conference runner-up.

Kielbasa had been recovering from a torn meniscus suffered last spring.

“He worked all summer to get back in time for our first conference game and has fulfilled that goal,” coach Mike Brasile said. “Getting back a 6-2, 285-pound offensive lineman is going to be a big boost.”

It will help stablize an offensive line that had dealt well with a state of flux. Part of the reason for their success against Central was junior tackle Bobby Pearson.

“He started off as a center, but moved to guard, then we needed to pick it up at tackle and he plaeyd there and so he’s been at all three positions,” Brasile said. “He’s been willing to learn what had to be done to help the team.”

Grayslake North QB Merrick Gentile was held to 8-of-21 for 152 yards with an interception by Lakes in a 37-14 season-opening loss, and now he’ll run into a Hampshire secondary led by Nico Bennett, who had two interceptions last week.

“They played on Friday and made their way down to watch us Saturday, so they’ve seen us in real life speed and we haven’t seen them,” Brasile said. “But we might have some things put in this week they might not be ready for.”

Larkin has full backfield

Running back Cameron Tomlin is expected to play Friday when the Royals try to bounce back from a 61-12 loss to McHenry, the worst point differential for a game in school history. Larkin hosts Vernon Hills in a nonconference game.

Tomlin served a one-game suspension for a team rule violation and now will join running back/defensive back Chevelle Clements as a threat in the backfield and defensive secondary.

“Chevelle, I’m real thrilled with the way he played,” coach Dragan Teonic said. “I joke that he’s a soldier. He is a warrior. So is Cameron. We get both in the same backfield and we should be OK.”

Hawks seek end zone

Bartlett’s offense will try to put up the right numbers Friday at Notre Dame after a season-opening 17-7 loss to Huntley.

“When you throw and run for 440 yards like us last week, you know you’ve done a lot right,” Hawks coach Tom Meaney said. “But we just couldn’t punch it in. We didn’t convert third downs; we had trouble by stopping ourselves with missed plays where we should have caught it, passing-wise.”

The offensive line, led by tackle Kyle Sanft, provided good time for quarterback Jordan Flint to throw (355 yards, 36 attempts) with no sacks. He found Bryce Petty eight times for 109 yards, but backs Nolan Bernat and Travious Brown-Utley ran for just 51 yards.

The pressure will be on the running game to produce this week because the defense will be under fire from a Notre Dame offense that Meaney said “reloaded” after spectacular running back Chris James headed to Pitt. Notre Dame beat Prairie Ridge 34-21 last week.

“They’ve got a good, quick passing game with a lot of short drops and hitches, and they run that jet sweep and pass off it, or run the option, so they’ve got a lot of weapons,” Meaney said.

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