Four Downs: News and notes from Week 1 in high school football

Three quarterbacks to watch, and can Morgan Park challenge Mount Carmel?

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Brother Rice’s Christian Pierce (1) takes down Maine South’s Constantine Coines (14).

Brother Rice’s Christian Pierce (1) takes down Maine South’s Constantine Coines (14).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The fans in Park Ridge were roaring late Friday.

Host Maine South trailed Brother Rice by three points but had the ball and just enough time to travel down the field and win the game — or at least get into field-goal position for talented kicker Ethan Stumpf.

The Crusaders’ stout defense shut down those dreams.

Starting quarterback Jack DeFilippis was injured in the first half, which is part of the reason the Hawks’ offense struggled in the 10-7 loss. But backup Constantine Coines showed some flashes of potential when he stepped in. The junior ran for 97 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown.

That’s something for Maine South to build on as it continues a difficult early stretch. The Hawks are at Warren on Thursday and host Palatine in Week 3.

‘‘[Coines] won the game for us against Evanston last year,’’ Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. ‘‘He came in and sparked us. Then he started against New Trier and was just OK. The offensive line has to get much better to make things easier for him.’’

A sparkling debut

York returned several key players from an excellent team in 2022, but the big question was at quarterback. Could Sean Winton actually replace Matt Vezza?

Dukes coach Mike Fitzgerald was confident in the preseason, saying Winton would have started for most teams last season. But Vezza just seemed to play with some special magic in York’s biggest games last year.

Winton answered the questions immediately, throwing three touchdown passes in the Dukes’ 35-17 victory Friday against up-and-coming Glenbrook South.

Winton was 13-for-17 for 277 yards, an impressive start to the season that shows York will be a major factor in Class 8A.

Another quarterback to watch

St. Charles North quarterback Ethan Plumb probably isn’t quite as well-known as he should be around the area.

Plumb was the first freshman in school history to start at quarterback. He’s a junior now and has matured into a significant game-changer. The 6-3, 203-pounder has scholarship offers from Iowa State and Purdue.

On Friday against Palatine, Plumb led the game-winning drive in the final five minutes and was 34-for-45 for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

The North Stars vaulted up to No. 6 after the victory and will travel to Crete-Monee in Week 2.

Public League statement?

Things didn’t go very well for Kenwood against Lincoln-Way East on Saturday at Gately, but Public League football picked up a major boost when Morgan Park dominated Richards in a 42-0 road victory Friday. The Mustangs face a massive test when they travel to top-ranked Mount Carmel on Friday.

Morgan Park returned 18 starters from last season, but it was a new name that made headlines against Richards. Junior running back Terrance Gurley had 18 carries for 157 yards in his first varsity game.

Morgan Park is heading to Mount Carmel with every intention of pulling off a massive upset. Realistically, just staying competitive against the Caravan would make a major statement.

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