FRANKFORT | Thornton was its own worst enemy as a penalties and a fumble put the Wildcats behind the eight ball for most of the first half Friday night in their 30-12 loss to Lincoln-Way North.
Thornton came out on the first play and looked ready to shake things up as Jo Wahn Brown found Jauan Wesley for a 49-yard completion to the Phoenix 31 yard line.
But that would be all the offense the Wildcats (3-2, 2-1 Southwest Suburban Red) would get for the next 18 minutes as Brown fumbled on the next play.
Aided by a pair of Thornton penalties, Lincoln Way North (5-0, 3-0 Southwest Suburban Red) drove down to the Wildcat 11 on their first possession but the defense held forcing a field goal attempt that was wide right.
On the Wildcats' second possession a bad snap for a 10-yard loss and an intentional grounding penalty backed Thornton up to their own 1-yard line on fourth down, a 30-yard punt was returned to the Wildcat 20, and two plays later Illinois recruit Julian Hylton went 21 yards for the game’s opening score.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as bad field position kept the Wildcat aerial game grounded and provided the Phoenix with excellent field position that they would turn into another score for a 14-0 lead.
Just before the half, Thornton found their offensive rhythm as Brown hit D’Andre Fuller for a 59-yard completion down to the Phoenix 1-yard line.
Two plays later Brown took the ball in from the 11 to cut the score to 14-6 with 3:53 to play before the break.
After holding Lincoln-Way to a field goal on their next possession Thornton suffered their biggest blow of the game when Brown who racked up 120 yards passing in the first half was knocked out of the game after a vicious hit.
"The kids tried but we couldn't get going offensively," Thornton coach Bill Mosel said. "We were a little limited offensively in the second half with what the kid (back-up quarterback Michael Fuller) could do."
Fuller got the Wildcats got back in the game with an 8-yard touchdown to Brian Davis to cut the lead to 20-12, but Hylton had other ideas taking it 83 yards to the house on the following possession.
"He's one of those special backs," Mosel said. "You can stop him and stop him then he breaks one on you."
For the night, Hylton finished with 269 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries and added a homecoming king crown at halftime.
"It was a special night having a great game and getting voted homecoming king," Hylton said.