Justin Fahey picks Maine South to victory

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Tommy Bazarek was rivaling Justin Fahey for best player on the football field Friday until the final minutes of the game.

That’s when Fahey, from his safety position, intercepted his second pass of the game and returned it 56 yards to set up his second touchdown in No. 6 Maine South’s 17-6 win over No. 21 Wheaton Warrenville South.

“Our big guys made the plays when it mattered,” Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. “Our defense picked up our offense, and our offense picked up our defense.”

Although the Tigers weren’t sharp on offense, they only trailed 10-6 in the fourth quarter after senior and Western Michigan recruit Keishawn Watson returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown with 10:53 to go in the game. They then got the ball back at their own 48 with 4:58 remaining, but senior quarterback Josh Prueter was picked off by Fahey, who set up the Hawks at WW South’s 4-yard line.

Two plays later, Fahey, a 5-8, 190-pound senior, scored from a yard out with 2:11 left. Maine South (2-0) secured the victory when senior linebacker Vinny Labus intercepted Prueter, who threw three picks in the game.

“It was a team effort,” Fahey said. “There were a couple of momentum swings, but we outplayed them.”

Along with his two interceptions, Fahey ran 18 times for 90 yards. His first touchdown came on a 19-yard run with 1:57 to go in the first half and gave Maine South a 7-0 lead at the break.

“Our big guys were pushing up front,” Fahey said. “The run set up the pass.”

After throwing four interceptions last week, Maine South junior quarterback Brian Collis protected the ball much better Friday. His lone interception came on a deep pass into the end zone with no time left in the second quarter. He went 15-for-21 for 134 yards.

Bazarek, a senior, was on the receiving end of most passes, finishing with 10 catches for 109 yards. He also ran four times for 11 yards, and his 26-yard punt return in the third quarter set up Sean McNulty’s 42-yard field goal that pushed the Hawks to a 10-0 lead at the 11:03 mark of the fourth. Bazarek ended up with 163 all-purpose yards.

“He does so much for us,” Inserra said. “He’s such a good athlete.”

For the most part, the Hawks stifled the Tigers, who dropped to 0-2 on the season. Watson, the team’s biggest offensive threat, caught two passes for 45 yards. Senior Michael Campos had 16 carries for 66 yards, but he only had 21 yards after halftime.

This was the sixth meeting between the two powerhouses since 2009, with the Hawks winning four times. Maine South also beat the Tigers during the playoffs in 2004.

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