CALUMET CITY | Just when a team thinks it has an opponent figured out, that team is occasionally thrown for a loop.
T.F. North encountered such a situation Friday against Oak Forest, a team recognized for its strong running game, as the Bengals dominated in nearly every aspect of the game to handily win 56-20. The contest marked the Meteors' fifth consecutive loss to Oak Forest.
North coach Rich Watson commended the Bengals' players and coaching staff and added that despite the blowout defeat, he felt his own team displayed considerable heart.
"They're fundamentally sound, and they keep pounding it out," Watson said of Oak Forest. "We're battling injuries right now, so we didn't have the bullets and guns (to beat them), but our guys came out and played all 48 minutes (today)."
The Bengals set the tone within the opening three minutes of play, scoring on a 65-yard punt return by senior running back Nick Czeszewski. The visitors took control from there and, at one point, led the Meteors by as many as 42 points. Senior quarterback Zach Russell, who finished with 56 passing yards on 3-of-4 attempts, gave Oak Forest an added offensive presence.
North fared well with its ground attack, with senior running back Anthony Watkins contributing roughly 250 rushing yards for the Meteors. Ultimately, though, the Bengals' all-around performance proved too much for the home team to overcome.
Watkins said Friday's loss was frustrating but added that he and his teammates have to get past it and regroup, especially with rival T.F. South on the schedule for next week.
"Our (offensive) line executed well (tonight), but the score didn't define the game," he said. "We made some mental mistakes that we just have to work on (in the near future)."