Simeon young Malik Elzy is considered the biggest prospect in town. Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin and a long list of other schools have offerings.
Struggling Irish assistant coach Tommy Rees was at Lane Stadium Saturday morning to see Elzy and the Wolverines play undefeated Kenwood.
Elzy is a receiver and defender. It can be difficult for a high school buyer to influence a game. This was the case with Simeon, especially when he was battling the offense.
Going into Saturday, the Wolverines hadn’t passed any of their tests this season. They lost to their televised rivals Morgan Park last weekend. Simeon also lost to Joliet Catholic, Bolingbrook and Phillips.
So the Wolverines found themselves fighting for their playoff lives on Saturday. Elzy was revived while she was on the season line.
Small caught six 90-yard passes and 30 and 20-yard touchdowns. And then, on Kenwood’s final drive of the game, he found the back breaker, a 55-yard return hit.
“I feel like they’re disrespecting me by trying to play me one-on-one,” Elzy said. We took advantage of that and you saw what happened on the pitch.”
Kenwood paired Elzy with highly recruited veteran defensive rear/wide gunner Jalil Martin. The duo took turns getting into each other on offense and defense.
“This is my son,” Elzy said. “It was a great match. I knew it would be good, so I went out and came.”
Simeon (4-4, 3-2 Illini Red Bird) led 19-7 at halftime, but Kenwood dominated the third quarter and took a 26-19 lead with 11:48.
The Broncos switched quarterbacks from Lou Henson to Shauntrel Meeks-Scott late in the second quarter with a more pass-focused offense.
“When they came out in the second half, it threw us into a loop,” said Simeon coach Dante Culbreath. “They run about 90 percent of the time. But we made the adjustments we needed to make.”
Kenwood (7-1, 4-1 Illini Red Bird) did a good job limiting Simeon’s running play in the first half, but young Andre Crews, running from behind, started to do some damage in the fourth quarter.
The crew (15 carries, 95 yards, two touchdowns) fired a four-yard point with 5:52 to pull the Wolverines in 26-25, but they missed the shot.
He came back into the game with 1:52, shrugging off his facemask, throwing a seven-yard field goal and giving Simeon a 31-26 lead.
“I had to trust my line,” Crews said. In the second half, they came to bring us the win. I had to enter the finish zone on that run. It was up to me, and with or without a face mask, I had to pass.”
Simeon quarterback Korey Flowers passed 9 to 15 for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He scored a one-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“I am proud of my young boys,” Culbreath said. “They are not really experienced on the field, but they come to practice and fight every day. Kenwood is a tough team. They are well trained and have a good body. It’s a good win.”
Meeks-Scott made an 18-for-100-yard pass to Kahlil Tate in the third quarter with an interception and a 51-yard touchdown pass. Meeks-Scott rushed for 94 yards and landed two touchdowns in 10 carries.
“Simeon challenged us pretty well,” said Kenwood coach Sinque Turner. “We’ve eliminated that loss. It’s a good time to own it. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and restructure some things.”