Justin Pringle, No. 6, scored the first TD of the year for St. Xavier in a 31-10 loss Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Justin Pringle, No. 6, scored the first TD of the year for St. Xavier in a 31-10 loss Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: No panic for SXU after tough start to season

By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Saint Xavier is off to a not-so-good start, but veteran coach Mike Feminis is not panicking.

The Cougars were ranked 11th in the nation in the NAIA coach’s poll and are 0-2 after a 31-10 home-opening loss to St. Thomas (Florida) on Sept. 10.

That followed a 57-0 loss to NCAA Division II power Indianapolis to open the season.

The Cougars have some work to do, but the program is familiar with slow starts because Feminis believes in stacking his non-conference schedule with strong teams.

“That’s the way I was brought up,” Feminis said. “I don’t believe 50-0 wins do anything for me. We play the schedule we play and sure, it hurts when you lose. But ultimately the season starts when the conference season starts.

“You win the conference, you get in the playoffs and you never know. Right now, we have to get some guys healthy and get some guys to step up in their absence.”

One of the most noticeable injuries was a preseason leg injury to running back Amari Venerable, who ran for 872 yards in 2021. In their first two games, the Cougars have netted minus-4 rushing yards.

Against St. Thomas. Stuart Ross passed for 313 yards. Receiver Justin Pringle caught eight passes for 138 yards and the first Cougars TD of the year. Former St. Rita star and Evergreen Park resident Joe Polselli grabbed nine passes for 106 yards.

SXU hosts Siena Heights (1-0) at noon Saturday in a Mid-States Football Association crossover game. Siena Heights opened the season with a come-from-behind 28-24 win over Olivet Nazarene on Sept. 3.

SANDB URG RUNNER scaled

Katrell Thopson of Sandburg had a big night running the ball against rival Andrew on Friday in Orland Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

SouthWest Suburban Conference

Sandburg trailed 28-7 at halftime to District 230 rival Andrew Sept. 9 in Orland Park, and twice shaved the lead to one score before falling 42-27 in a non-conference battle.

The Eagles (0-3) lost starting quarterback Christian Evans to a season-ending leg injury in a 15-14 loss to Glenbrook South on Sept. 2 and sophomore Anthony Shelton stepped made his first career start against the Thunderbolts (2-1). He was 12 of 24 for 218 yards and four touchdowns, including three to sophomore Charlie Snorek in the second half.

The first TD was unique. Shelton hit Ethan Highfill, who fumbled the ball before crossing the plane; however, senior wide receiver Walter Davis recovered in the end zone for the score.

Running back Katrell Thompson also put up some big numbers with 129 yards in 22 carries.

With teams such as Bolingbrook, defending Class 8A state champions Lockport, Lincoln-Way East and Homewood-Flossmoor on the horizon, a repeat for a playoff bid is going to be a steep climb for the Eagles. Last year, though, they opened the season 1-4 and ran the table in the regular season to qualify for the playoffs.

“We led a good chunk of the game against Glenbrook South and we had a rivalry game against Andrew and they were not results we wanted,” said Eagles coach Troy McAllister. “We’re going to come back. We’re going to keep playing and pushing to get a win each and every week.”

Stagg’s two-game winning streak came to an end with a 49-3 loss to Lincoln-Way East, which was ranked second in the Associated Press Class 8A poll.

 

CCL/ESCC

Brother Rice (2-1) eked out a 13-10 victory over Benet at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn. Ryan Hartz threw for 149 yards and touchdowns to Ricky Taylor and Randall Nauden. Jake Dugger had a key interception for the Crusaders.

Defending Class 4A state champion Joliet Catholic Academy won its 24th straight game with a 47-0 win over host De La Salle (1-2). It was a tight game in the first half with Joliet leading 12-0. Myles Green had nine tackles for De La Salle while Tristin Hynes and Angelo Chavarria each had eight.

St. Ignatius beat St. Laurence (1-2) 19-14 in Burbank. Aaron Ball ran for 64 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings while Dominic Berchman scooped up a fumble and ran five yards for a score.

Loyola, ranked first in the state in Class 8A, beat host St. Rita (1-2) 34-14.

Mount Carmel (3-0) slammed Notre Dame, 42-0.

 

West Suburban Conference

Ryan Jackson’s touchdown and a Danny Montesano interception in the end zone helped Lyons (3-0, 1-0) nip Hinsdale Central, 10-7 in a Silver Division game. It was the Lions’ first win over the Red Devils since 2013.

Morton (1-2, 1-0) smoked Addison Trail 37-7 in the Gold division. Morton also announced that its game at Leyden will be played on Thursday at Triton Junior College. It was originally slated for Friday.

 

South Suburban Conference Red

Evergreen Park improved to 3-0, 1-0 as running back Antonio Clay-Jones scored three touchdowns in a 28-23 victory over Oak Lawn (1-2, 0-1).

Reavis (2-1, 1-0) snapped Argo’s two-game winning streak with a 35-28 victory in Summit. Before the game, Argo officials dedicated the sidelines to former head coach Jim Innis in a ceremony.

Hillcrest beat Shepard (1-2) 31-20, in a crossover game.

 

Metro Suburban

Riverside-Brookfield beat Chicago Christian, 28-7. Christian Flutman hit Adam Stuursma for a score in the fourth quarter for the Knights (1-2). Stuursma had two receptions for 78 yards.

 

Chicago Public League

Catalyst/Maria beat Noble/UIC 30-6. Solorio beat Tilden in a forfeit.

Collins beat Kelly 42-0. Curie dropped a 44-12 decision to Westinghouse. Lane beat Hubbard 35-0. Englewood STEM beat Gage Park 46-0.

SXU 15

Evergreen Park native and St. Rita grad Joe Polselli grabs a pass Saturday against St. Thomas. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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