TINLEY PARK | In his 28th season, after 189 wins and now 98 losses, you'd think Bill Mosel had seen it all.
But had he seen this?
"No," he said.
"This" was a Thornton football team surrendering 530 yards of offense, 349 on the ground, in a 49-35 loss Friday at Andrew. The Thunderbolts' Jarvion Franklin, who has verbally committed to Western Michigan, bulldozed the Wildcats for 243 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries.
With the loss, Thornton (3-3, 2-2) almost certainly will not defend its SouthWest Suburban Red title. Andrew improved to 3-3, 2-2.
"We just couldn't tackle," Mosel said. "The kid's a good back. He's a big kid. But we just didn't do a good job tackling."
Indeed, Andrew essentially only stopped itself all night. In the first half, other than when they got the ball with 21 seconds left in the second quarter, the Thunderbolts failed to score on two possessions — one ending in an interception and another on a missed field goal. In the second half, they scored on their first three possessions, and took a knee for the victory on the fourth.
Despite all that, the Wildcats led 35-27 at the half, Tifonte Hunt's 92-yard touchdown return capping a wild 24 minutes in which Andrew (291 yards) and Thornton (258) combined for 549 yards of offense.
In the half, Thornton wideout Jauan Wesley caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, on his way to 168 yards and 12 catches. JoWahn Brown (20-of-37, 281 yards) threw scoring passes of 69 and 22 yards to his favorite target, and hit D'Andre Fuller for a 50-yard touchdown.
The second half, however, was all Andrew. Thornton didn't help by rolling up 90 yards in penalties on nine flags for the night.
"I don't know if you'd call them mental lapses or what," Mosel said. "Going in for a score, we'd get a hold, or we'd extend a drive of theirs with a penalty."
Andrew forced Thornton to punt to open the second half. The Thunderbolts then went 80 yards in seven plays — Franklin running for 30 yards on the first snap and for 8 and the score on the last. The Wildcats went offside on the extra point kick, and Andrew opting to go for two on the second chance.
Andrew scored on a 14-yard Jacob Platt to Nino Sanfilippo pass on its next possession, then sealed it with Franklin's 25-yard scoring run with 4:04 to play.