Riverside-Brookfield sophomore quarterback Diego Gutierrez is chased by Chicago Christian freshman linebacker Brock Sperling. Photo by Steve Metsch
High School Football: Riverside-Brookfield puts bite on Chicago Christian
By Steve Metsch
A lethal combination of mistakes and a quality opponent resulted in a loss for Chicago Christian.
The host Knights fell 42-6 to Riverside-Brookfield in Metro Suburban Red action on Sept. 10.
“We made a lot of early mistakes and R-B is a good team,” Knights coach Tom O’Connor said. “We have so many two-way players. We ran out of gas.”
While there are 45 players on Chicago Christian’s roster — a decent number for a small school – 18 are freshmen and nine are sophomores.
While that bodes well for the future it could make for a challenging 2021.
“We have to hang on tight and keep working through the storm,” he added. “We’ll get there.”
A highlight was the play of senior Luke Jelderks, a converted wide receiver/running back who is playing his first season at quarterback.
Jelderks displayed the dazzling speed that helps him star for the school’s track and field team.
Trailing 35-0 late in the first half, the Knights faced a fourth-and-four at their own 36-yard-line. Jelderks, also the team’s punter, had an idea.
“He came to me and said, ‘Hey, if I see an opening, can I go?’ “ O’Connor said. “Nobody else knew he was doing it. We had nothing to lose, give it a shot.”
Jelderks took the snap, paused, and raced left for 17 yards, putting the ball at R-B’s 47 yard line.
Jelderks followed that with a 16-yard-run, then wowed the crowd with a 31-yard scamper into the end zone. He finished with 192 combined yards.
Riverside-Brookfield improved to 2-1, 1-0. Chicago Christian fell to 1-2, 0-1.
“They blitz a lot and they slant a lot,” O’Connor said. “It’s more of an effort to run your stuff because they move all the time and they’re bringing pressure.”
That defense, along with the Bulldogs’ running back tandem of senior Cordell Rainey Jr. and junior Ryan Novak — who each scored two touchdowns — proved too much to overcome.
“Those are good ballplayers,” O’Connor said. “I’d like to have either one of them, let alone both. They could play anywhere.”
Rainey said the Bulldogs were inspired by a 20-0 home loss to Wauconda in Week 2:.
“Everybody was mad about last week’s game,” he said.
Riverside-Brookfield coach Brendan Curtin called the win “a great team effort.”
“Everyone contributed,” Curtin said. “We did well in all phases of the game tonight. I felt like we took a big step forward.”
Novak opened the scoring with a 4-yard run at 6:27 of the first quarter.
After stopping Chicago Christian on third-and-1 at its own 35, the Bulldogs marched downfield on a drive capped by an 8-yard scoring run by Rainey.
Novak walked in untouched from five yards with 8:16 left in the first half.
After R-B recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff by Knights freshman Caden Boersma, quarterback Diego Gutierrez passed 25 yards to tight end Brian Twomey for a 28-0 lead.
Senior Brady Vala returned a punt and Rainey added his second touchdown to close the scoring.
Freshman linebacker Brock Sperling led the Knights with nine tackles.
Chicago Christian plays at Wheaton St. Francis on Sept. 17.
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