ORLAND PARK | The first quarter in second-ranked Homewood-Flossmoor's 48-10 rout of Sandburg told the story.
Actually, the first half of the first quarter not only gave away the plot, but the ending as well.
The Vikings had the ball for 5 minutes 3 seconds of the game's first 5:43. In that time, they scored three touchdowns, first on an 11-play drive — Devonte Harley-Hampton doing the honors on a 1-yard plunge — then on two one-play strikes.
Deante Harley-Hampton, the twin brother of the aforementioned sophomore, weaved his way 19 yards to the south end zone of Seliga Field on the first snap after a Sandburg turnover, and after the Eagles' abortive subsequent drive, it was Devonte Harley-Hampton again, spinning to his left and rambling 50 yards for the third touchdown.
It was 20-0. There was 6:17 left in the first quarter.
It was over. And H-F (6-0, 4-0) had qualified for the playoffs.
"I've never had a sophomore running back on varsity," said H-F coach Craig Buzea, in his 22nd season as a mentor. "Once I gained a little trust in them, I'll give them the ball any time."
Quarterback Isaac Cutrara is happy to hand it off.
"One second, you hand the ball off to them, then they're gone," Cutrara said. "They're catching on fast."
The final numbers were lopsided in H-F's favor.
A total of 397 yards to Sandburg's 212 – and it was 360-132 at the half, when the score was 41-10. Two touchdowns for each Harley-Hampton, with Deante gaining 114 yards. Cutrara throwing for 187 yards on a 5-of-7 night, including an 80-yard strike to James Sheehan, then a 74-yard strike to Nicholas Atoyebi, H-F's third and fourth one-play scoring drives of the night, then resting his arm in the second half.
"The single-wing deal sucked them in," Buzea said.
And the defense was as impressive, holding the Eagles (4-2, 3-1) to a 50-yard field goal by Jonathan Milazzo and a 14-yard touchdown run by Brian Langowski (20 carries, 145 yards) in the first half.
Otherwise, the Eagles were grounded to the tune of three turnovers.
"That's what we aim for every week, three turnovers," defensive back Patrick Johnson said. "But we haven't played our best game yet."
And while the Vikings weren't looking ahead, next week, Bolingbrook (6-0, 4-0) visits H-F.
"We've got a lot of work to do, shore some little things up offensively and defensively," Buzea said. "We're looking forward to it."