OAK FOREST | While T.F. South came up with some big plays on both side of the ball Friday, it could not stop Oak Forest quarterback Nick Ciufia when it mattered most.
The result was Ciufia rushing for 175 yards and all four Bengals touchdowns as they beat the Rebels 28-21 in the South Suburban Blue Conference opener for both schools.
"We just couldn't contain him," South coach Tom Padjen said. "He stepped up and we didn't make the plays when we needed to."
Ciufia's 1-yard score with 5:52 left proved to be the game-winner. He and fullback Matt Barry took turns running the ball on the 77-yard drive.
"I was boxed in a little, so I bounced outside, about right where the hash mark is and I saw an opening," Ciufia said. "I just took it in. I just had great blocking on that play and the whole night."
The Rebels (1-2, 0-1) had some big plays as a Marvin Durr fumble recovery set up their first score -- a 38-yard pass from Cody Petrich to Evie Ovie.
Trailing 13-7 with one second left in the first half, Petrich found Ovie for a 26-yard score and a 14-7 South lead.
Petrich finished 12-of-32 for 185 yards and two touchdown passes.
The Rebels took a 21-14 lead on a 2-yard run by Kendall McCaskill with 5:39 left in the third period.
The Bengals (2-1, 1-0) used a blocked punt to set up Ciufia's third score, which tied it a 21. He scored on a 20-yard run with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.
"We played well in the first half, but struggled a bit in the second half and it cost us," Padjen said. "We made some mistakes, didn't execute on some things and Oak Forest took advantage of it."
The Rebels turned the ball over on downs three times, including their final drive as Petrich threw three straight incomplete passes.
McCaskilll finished with 53 yards on eight carries while Ovie caught five passes for 89 yards.
"We will get better and our kids are willing to work to improve on things," Padjen said. "It's a long season and we just have to go back to work."