CHICAGO | The more things changed the more they stayed the same for T.F. South.
The Rebels responded from their season-opening loss to Associated Press No. 1 and Times No. 2 Crete by shutting out Urban Prep Charter/Englewood 27-0 Saturday morning at Gately Stadium.
It was South's first shutout since it blanked Hillcrest 47-0 in the final game of the 2011 season.
“Last year we started the same way, losing to Crete in the first game then going on a run and having a nice season,” T.F. South coach Tom Padjen said. “Each week we just have to work to get better.”
The Rebels’ defense dominated the Lions by forcing 10 plays for negative yardage, including three turnovers, and holding them to less than two yards per carry for the game.
T.F. South allowed allowed seven first downs and gave the offense good starting field position from start to finish.
“The linebackers and the guys up front played a heck of a game for us,” Padjen said. “They really stepped up today, every guy out there.”
The offense didn’t waste any opportunities playing on a short field, scoring on three of their first four possessions.
Kendall McCaskill got things going early for the Rebels capping off a 60-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock with a 19-yard touchdown reception from Cody Petrich.
The Rebels came out with a game plan to pound the ball inside and that’s exactly what they did running for 140 yards and nearly five yards a carry for the game.
“We made some adjustments to the running game this week, last week we got held to negative rushing yards so it was good to see them establish the run today,” Padjen said.
Although the Rebels ran the ball on over 80 percent of their offensive plays, they were efficient when they did throw.
After a steady diet of rushes, Petrich found Ricky Ramirez for a 21-yard completion down to the Lions 1 yard line to set up South’s second score, a sneak by Petrich and the rout was on.
McCaskill would make his second trip to the end zone a little over two minutes later, going for 13 yards off the left tackle to make it 21-0.
South added one more TD in the third quarter as Trenton Gilbert reached the end zone on a 3-yard run to complete the scoring.
Next up for the Rebels is a date with Oak Forest, the pre-season favorites in the South Suburban Blue.
“It’s always good to get a win and build some momentum, we just have to keep eliminating mistakes and moving forward,” Padjen said. “Each week, you work to get better. Our guys know that Oak Forest is the real deal, they have a veteran team so we need to be prepared and just keep getting better week to week.”