CALUMET CITY | A loss wasn't the way T.F. North's Nikita Smith wanted to end his high school career, but the Meteors senior can move on knowing he left it all on the field.
Smith had two touchdowns for the Meteors in a 55-28 loss to South Suburban Blue foe Oak Forest. Smith returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but it was the only lead the Meteors would enjoy all night. T.F. North was unable to stop the Oak Forest ground game, and the Bengals rushed for 434 yards of offense.
"We came out with fire and just wanted to give them a show tonight," Smith said. "I gave my all. My teammates gave their all. I was just thinking about the school and how I love playing football here."
After Smith's opening kick return, Oak Forest scored three straight touchdowns until the Meteors were able to answer in the second quarter with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Dunigan to Smith. Davion Sylvester then added a 14-yard touchdown run later in the second, and the Meteors only trailed 28-20 at the half.
"The play action pass was working," Smith said. "I'm happy and proud of the team and the guys I came in with as a freshman. I love my team."
In the second half, the Meteors were still unable to slow down the Bengals ground game, and Oak Forest added four second-half touchdown rushes. T.F. North's Sylvester added a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for his second rushing score on the night.
"We just couldn't finish it off," T.F. North coach Artie Rogers said. "The kids played hard though, and I'm very proud of their effort."
T.F. North's Dunigan was banged up late in the first half, and Sylvester was forced to move back to the quarterback position where he had played earlier in the season before losing the starting job to Dunigan.
"We lost Aaron right before the half, or we might have been able to score and tie that game up," Rogers said. "He tried to play through it but couldn't."
Rogers was happy with the steps his team took this season to become competitive in the SSC Blue.
"This was the only game we weren't leading or tied in the fourth quarter late," Rogers said. "We've been in every game. We played good teams, and these kids have competed every day."