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Mooseheart receiver JJ Odunsi (No. 10) catches a first half pass despite defensive pressure from Hope Academy’s Angelo Patterson.
Mooseheart quarterback David Serrano scrambles for yardage in the Ramblers 26-12 defeat by Hope Academy.
Mooseheart, IL, Oct. 18 – There was a grit and determination about Mooseheart's football team in its Friday contest against Chicago Hope Academy that the Ramblers had been searching for recently.
That improved mental attitude didn't change the result of the Northeastern Athletic Conference contest - which Hope won 26-12 - but it did leave the Ramblers in a better mood coming off the field than in some games this year.
"Even though we made a lot of mistakes, they kept battling," Mooseheart assistant coach Jay Jordan said. "You can't get mad at them for pushing as hard as they did. This is the most heart I've seen our guys play with this year. No one gave up. Even with 4 seconds to go, we still had guys pushing."
Mooseheart's assistants coached the team on Friday with head coach Gary Urwiler and lead assistant Charlie Palochko attending Moose International board meetings.
Certainly the loss hurt, and dealt a severe blow to Mooseheart's playoff chances. The Ramblers are 4-4 and have lost three games in a row heading into their Week 9 regular season finale against Rockford Christian Life. The Ramblers must win in order to become eligible for the IHSA playoffs.
But Mooseheart and Hope were only one touchdown apart for much of the contest. The visiting Eagles scored in the final play of the first quarter when Keandre Murphy ran in from 15 yards - but that was the only scoring play until the fourth quarter.
Mooseheart had chances to close the gap as well, but a pair of fumbles inside the 15-yard line killed drives and allowed the Eagles (7-1, 7-1) a chance to work for a go-ahead touchdown.
"We came out of halftime and had an opportunity to score," Jordan said. "Unfortunately we had some mental mistakes from some of our guys that set us back and we couldn't do what we needed to do."
That key second scoring play came with 9:25 left in the fourth quarter when Lafayette McGrary ran in from the 2. Following a Mooseheart turnover, the Eagles moved 19-0 ahead when Murphy scored from 6 yards.
Mooseheart (4-4, 4-4) rallied to score twice in the final two minutes of the game. First Hameed Odunewu caught a 6-yard pass from David Serrano. Then as time in the contest expired, Odunewu caught a 20-yard pass from Will Nicholas.
Sandwiched between those Odunewu receiving touchdowns was a 57-yard run from McGrary, who finished the contest with 157 yards on 20 carries.
"They have some very explosive players," Jordan said. "They had (McGrary) coming out of the backfield and he had a lot of speed coming off the edge. Unfortunately, we had some guys get sucked inside. This is one of the teams that can match up with us speed for speed."
Mooseheart 0 0 0 12 - 12
Hope Academy 7 0 0 19 - 26
H—Murph 15 run (Edwards kick)
H—McGrary 2 run (kick failed)
H—Murph 6 run (kick failed)
M—Odunewu 6 pass from Serrano (pass failed)
H—McGrary 57 run (Edwards kick)
M—Odunewu 20 pass from Nicholas (no conversion attempt)
First Downs 9
Passing yards 189
Total yards 210
Individual Rushing Stats
Individual Passing Stats
Serrano 13-21-0 139
Nicholas 2-4-0 50
Odunewu 0-1-0 0
Individual Receiving Stats