CALUMET CITY | Although Friday night's weather conditions were mostly clear and calm, the scene on T.F. North's football field resembled more a mighty storm.
The Meteors used a solid outing from senior running back Anthony Watkins, who eclipsed 1,000 season rushing yards on Friday, to handily top Oak Lawn 34-14. The game marked the second consecutive year North has defeated a South Suburban Conference crossover opponent and also helped the Meteors (4-4) remain in the playoff discussion.
Watkins said that despite the Spartans' struggles this season, North knew exactly what was at stake and took the contest as seriously as possible.
"We prepared (in practice) just like we do any other week because records are just records and any team can be beaten," he said. "(A bad record) doesn't mean (a team) can't put up a fight."
Oak Lawn did keep up with the Meteors in the first quarter, despite the visitors committing five penalties and a fumble in their first two possessions. The Spartans trailed by only 15 at halftime, but a 80-yard kickoff return by Watkins to begin the third quarter extended North's lead and severely affected Oak Lawn's team confidence.
Watkins explained how important it was for the Meteors to strongly start the second half.
"I just wanted to get into the end zone to give (us) momentum," he said. "Sometimes we get lackadaisical after the half, so (tonight) we wanted to set the tone for the rest of the game."
North totaled more than 300 yards in the contest, with Watkins contributing about 115 rushing yards and nearly 80 receiving yards.
Meteors coach Rich Watson commended his team's effort but noted that to grab a win next week against SSC heavyweight Lemont, North will have to step up its game even more.
"We have to take down the giant (now)," Watson said. "It's like going into a fight where everyone thinks you'll get (defeated), and you can lie down or take the beating.
"We'll have to fight for the opportunity (to play) a 10th game."