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Lockport beats Maine South to capture Class 8A crown

Running back Ty Schultz was the difference Saturday. The senior ran for more than 200 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Lockport’s Ty Schultz (7) turns the corner just out of the reach of Maine South’s Tommy Locascio (3).
Lockport’s Ty Schultz (7) turns the corner just out of the reach of Maine South’s Tommy Locascio (3).
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

DeKALB—It’s a long, difficult road from winless to Class 8A state champions. Especially without a superstar college-bound senior leader.

Lockport’s motto this season was “we over me” and that unselfish grit was on display Saturday at Huskie Stadium in the Porters 24-6 win against Maine South in the Class 8A state title game.

“It’s a brotherhood,” Lockport senior Cody Silzer said. “We played for the guy next to us.”

Lockport was 0-9 in 2018. Before this season the Porters had last won a playoff game in 2011.

Things started to turn in the shortened spring season. Lockport went 4-2 and showed some potential. That promise was realized quickly this season. In Week 4 the Porters beat Homewood-Flossmoor for the first time since 2009. They started 4-0 for the first time since 2004.

Loyola coach John Holecek and Maine South coach Dave Inserra have both said that Lockport’s defensive line is the best in the state. Quarterback Hayden Timosciek was another major force for the Porters this season, throwing for more than 2,000 yards with just one interception.

But running back Ty Schultz was the difference Saturday. The senior had 32 carries for 231 yards and scored two touchdowns.

“I can pretend like I’m the big wig but you can’t win without the horses and these guys are the horses,” Lockport coach George Czart said. “They are making plays on their own a lot of times.”

Schultz scored on an 11-yard run late in the first quarter. His seven-yard touchdown run with 11:16 to play killed some momentum Maine South (12-2) had built late in the third quarter.

The Porters (13-1) led 10-0 after a 26-yard field goal by Gabe Czako with 5:29 left in the third quarter.

Maine South responded, scoring after a wacky series of events. Lockport sacked Hawks quarterback Rowan Keefe, but the ball popped out of his hands and running back Mike Sajenko picked it up and scampered 23 yards for a first down.

Keefe scored a few plays later on a two-yard run to pull Maine South within four points.

Lockport’s powerful defensive line (Cody Silzer, Cole Silzer, Paul Rasp and Andrew Blackburn-Forst) averages 6-2, 228 pounds. Their size and aggression kept the Hawks from establishing an effective rushing game.

Sajenko scored 14 touchdowns in the playoffs and had 11 rushing touchdowns in the regular season, but the Porters were able to limit him to 84 yards and no scores. Keefe was 24 for 41 for 201 yards with three interceptions.

“We stopped the running game all year,” Lockport linebacker Dylan Schmutzler said. “So we planned to stop him.”

Timosciek finished 12 for 22 for 116 yards. Andrew LoPresti added a 21-yard touchdown to seal the win with 2:50 left.

It’s the third state title for Lockport, which won Class 8A in 2002 and 2003.

Lockport’s only loss this season, a 21-13 defeat to Lincoln-Way East, came when Timosciek was out with an injury. The Porters took down Lyons, Glenbard West and Glenbard North in the playoffs before winning the semifinal on the road against top-ranked Loyola.

Maine South has won six state titles under coach Dave Inserra, the last coming in 2016.