CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Bloom Township's football team started well against Chicago Public League opponenet Phillips on Saturday afternoon, then carried that early momentum with varying degrees of success to a convincing 36-0 win at Bloom Trail High School.
With the win, the Blazing Trojans starts its season at f 2-1, the best start the program has had since 2008 -- a fact not lost on head coach Tony Palombi.
"It has been awhile since we've started out with a winning record, but this group of kids here is a special group," Palombi said. "They've got a cause, and they believe in it."
Junior quarterback Kendall McGinnis had a big day for the Blazing Trojans, runnning for two touchdowns and throwing for a third score in the first half, putting the hosts up 22-0. McGinnis completed 13-of-18 passes for 139 yards, while rushing for 38 yards, most of which came in the firrst half.
After scoring 16 points in less than three minutes to open the game on rushing scores by McGinnis, the teams traded possessions until McGinnis hit Zerrel Jackson deep down the middle for a 58-yard score late in the first half.
"That third score was really important because our coach didn't want us to have only 16-0 on the board at halftime because then they could easily come back," McGinnis said. "We just needed that touchdown to get our minds set."
The Blazing Trojans used an effective ground game and a stingy defense to keep the Wildcats (1-2) from mounting a challenge in the second half. Older brother Kevin McGinnis scored twice in the second half on short runs as part of his game-high 41 rushing yards.
The Blazing Trojans defense, led by tackle Darryl Carr, limited the Wildcats to 66 yards of offense from the line of scrimmage and negative yardage on the ground. Carr finished the game with a pair of sacks. The Wildcats managed only three first downs.
"I can't remember when we had a shutout like this," Palombi said. "I've been worried about (Phillips sophomores Dewayne Collins and Corey Warren) all week ... but our kids rose to the challenge stopped two good offensive players. We worked hard on stopping their option."