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Mooseheart freshman Corey Estes (No. 15) runs for yardage in the fourth quarter of the Ramblers' 35-6 victory over CICS Longwood.
Mooseheart senior Sahr Mahoney is brought down by two CICS Longwood tacklers during the Ramblers' victory.
Mooseheart sophomore Hameed Odunewu (right) brings down CICS Longwood ball carrier James Ross in the second half of the Ramblers victory.
CHICAGO, Oct. 4 – For the second consecutive season and the third time in the career of this year's senior class, Mooseheart's football team is a Class 1A playoff qualifier.
The Ramblers made sure of their spot in this year's playoff bracket with a 35-6 victory on Thursday at CICS Longwood. The win gives Mooseheart a 6-1 record with two weeks left in the regular season.
“Unfortunately, in their sophomore year, we missed it by one game,” Mooseheart coach Gary Urwiler said. “My hat goes off to the seniors who get to experience this again. I'm really proud of the guys for putting six wins on the board. These next two weeks, we have two very tough games.”
The Ramblers showed another weapon in their offensive arsenal on Thursday. In Saturday's homecoming game, Sahr Mahoney stepped forward and scored four touchdowns. Against CICS Longwood, J.J. Odunsi was the scoring star. He ran a touchdown in from 7 yards, caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Jon Hart for a second TD and ran back an interception 30 yards for a third TD.
“I just tried to play hard,” Odunsi said. “I made a mistake myself when one of my teammates was running down to score with a block in the back. I had to make up for that.”
That penalty cost the Ramblers when Sahr Mahoney scored but the play was called back.
Odunsi is one of the Ramblers juniors and is looking forward to qualifying for the playoffs for the second time in his high school career.
“It is a great feeling,” Odunsi said. “We all work hard and the coaches teach us what they can. It is just fun that we can go to the playoffs and get another shot.”
Part of the reason for the Ramblers' diversity was the short week. A number of players had their roles limited. Oumaru Abdulahi, for example, did not play. Mahoney only played a limited role on offense. But Odunsi showed the skills he has diplayed in flashes throughout the season all in one contest.
“In the first several games of the year, we rode with what was making us successful, and (Abdulahi) was taking a lot of the offense and taking it on his back,” Urwiler said. “After the first three or four games, we felt we needed to get some other guys involved in the offense. J.J.'s one of those kids who's not that fast but he can be elusive with the ball. He fits right into the mold of some of our other guys when they get the ball.”
The Ramblers jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Joe Feemorlu ran in from 16 yards and Mahoney caught a 71-yard TD pass from Hart.
CICS Longwood (0-7) narrowed the gap with an enormous drive. The hosts took the ball on their own 20 with 2:52 left in the first quarter. They used 19 plays to score and ate 12:12 off the clock.
Mooseheart took the ball and needed only five plays to extend its lead on Odunsi's running TD.
“We're scoring quickly,” Urwiler said.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Odunsi caught his TD pass and ran in the interception in the fourth quarter. Despite being outgained in the contest 225-168, the Ramblers led the entire contest and forced four turnovers – 3 interceptions and 1 recovered fumble.
“Defensively, we're still working the kinks out,” Urwiler said.
After enduring a very short week, the Ramblers do not play until Oct. 12 when they travel to Chicago Hope.
“We've got some guys who aren't very healthy,” Urwiler said. “This is a great blessing to be able to play on Thursday. Now we've got eight days to recover. I'm looking forward to that.”
Mooseheart 14 7 0 14 - 35
CICS Longwood 0 6 0 0 - 6
MHT—Feemorlu 16 run (Mahoney kick)
MHT—Mahoney 71 pass from Hart (Mahoney kick)
CICS—Baty 1 run (run failed)
MHT—Odunsi 7 run (Mahoney kick)
MHT—Odunsi 15 pass from Hart (Mahoney kick)
MHT—Odunsi 30 interception return (Feemorlu kick)
First downs 9 14
Rushes-yards 52-173 22-120
Passes 2-12-3 5-11-0
Passing yards 52 48
Total yards 225 168
Fumbles-lost 5-1 2-0
Punts-avg. 2-29.0 2-31.5
Penalties 4-25 4-30
Mooseheart: Hart 2-(-19), Mator 3-31, Feemorlu 6-32, Mahoney 6-65, Odunsi 2-2, Estes 3-9. CICS Longwood: Baty 7-(-11), Ross 15-57, Worthy 29-127, Danzy 1-(-2.)
Mooseheart: Hart 5-11-0 48. CICS Longwood: Baty 2-12-3 52.
Mooseheart: Mahoney 1-(-5), Odunsi 3-39, Odunewu 1-14. CICS Longwood: Clayborn 3-52.