Football team wins first playoff game since 2014


Marelena Halikias

The varsity football team kicked off their first IHSA State Playoff game of the season at home. They beat Stevenson High School and won with a final score of 33-21.

The football team defeated #22 Stevenson High School by a score of 33-21 on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Dickinson Field for their first game of the playoff series. This was the team’s first playoff win since defeating Benet Academy 28-11 on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

The Red Devils, #11, put points on the board first with a 21-yard field goal made by Quentin Wallace, senior kicker.

The special teams unit was credited with a score once again as the ball was snapped well over the Stevenson punter’s head. This caused a safety, making the score 5-0 in the first quarter.

Marelena Halikias
One of the most intense plays of the game occurred in the first quarter, when Lonnell Smith Jr. and a teammate tackled a Stevenson player who was running for a touchdown. The fans’ faces in the background of the picture show the magnitude of the tackle to the game.

Luke Skokna, junior running back, scored the first touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run, ending a successful 78-yard drive. The Red Devils shut out Stevenson through the first half as they went to the Halftime House up 12-0.

Soon after the halftime break, Garrett Oakey, senior running back, capitalized the team’s starting field position with a four-yard touchdown, putting the Red Devils up 19-0.

The Red Devils would not slow down as Lonnell Smith Jr., senior defensive back, blocked a punt, and Aidan Cruickshank, junior linebacker, scooped the ball up and took it to the house from 37-yards out, giving the Red Devils a dominant 26-0 lead.

Though the lead seemed immiscible, Stevenson was able to score two quick touchdowns. The first score was a 50-yard pass and the second score came on a two-yard run. Stevenson made it a two-possession game at 26-14.

Nevertheless, Skokna put away any signs of hope and put the game on ice with a 32-yard touchdown. With less than five minutes left in the game, the team had a defining 33-14 lead.

“I love running behind the group up front,” said Skokna, in an interview the “Once I crossed the finish line there at the end, I knew we had this one sewed up.”

Stevenson scored once more but failed to recover an onside kick after the score. The game ended at 33-21, the Red Devils victorious once again after their win over Hinsdale South the week before. 

It was not the first time Skokna filled up the stat sheet this season; he ended the game with two touchdowns and 152 yards on 23 carries. Quarterback Matt Rush, junior, also played after missing the past three games. The team went 2-1 in Rush’s absence.

Skokna, a three-sport athlete, fought through an injury suffered on the first play of the game. He also took a shot on a late kick return during the fourth quarter, but he would eventually return and score on his first play back.

Marelena Halikias
Although it was an overcast day with the temperature nearing sub-40 degrees Fahrenheit, the game had a big turnout with both Central and Stevenson fans crowding the bleachers.

Oakey ran for 97 yards against Stevenson. Skokna and Oakey have been a tag team of running backs the entire season, being one of the team’s biggest offensive weapons.

“The team played great, and they should feel confident for the rest of the playoffs,” said Matt Daly, junior fan.

With the win against Stevenson, the team advances to the second round of the playoffs. The team will travel to Loyola Academy on Saturday, Nov. 4. Loyola is the #6 seed with a strong history in the playoffs. The team won state in 2015 and was the state runner-up in 2016.

“Our philosophy is that we get better every day, and I think if we get better every practice this week as we have been this season, we should be able to give Loyola a good fight,” said Andrew Doromal, junior running back.

Saturday’s game will start at 1 p.m. at Loyola Academy.