The Winged Messenger

  • October 6Go East! Go Griffins! Go Blue!

State-Bound

Madison Glatz, Staff Reporter

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With an undefeated regular season that clinched the conference champion title, along with a number one state ranking, East football is heading to the 8A Championship game.

“You sweat the same sweat, you get hurt [and] you bleed the same blood. You realize that you’re all going through the same thing. Knowing that you’re all going through that same struggle and same fight together just builds that bond” imparted Junior Randall Johnson on how the football team strived to make themselves better each practice in order to achieve the final goal: a state championship. With a victory over Maine South in week two of the season, the Griffins were off to a strong start. This victory was especially momentous since East had lost to Maine South in the playoffs the year prior. Now, the Griffins were able to clinch the number one state ranking from Maine South and maintain the title for the rest of the regular season.

Still, they faced tough competition that came close to challenging their title. East football played local rival, Lincoln-Way Central, their fifth week of the season. Friendly rivalry had been shown the week leading up to the game with Central students taping red “x’s” over all the “E’s” in the school and East fans teasing that Central couldn’t be spelled without an “L”. Sophomore Dominic Dzioban recalled, “The fans [were] going back and forth at each other, the teams going back and forth every snap, it was crazy.” While the game was not expected to be a blowout, what was unexpected was the Central Knights scoring the first touchdown, then the second. The Griffins stayed down for the entirety of the first half, but made their comeback soon after half-time to finish with a 28-14 win. Four consecutive wins finished out the regular season, leaving the Griffins undefeated.

With the playoffs in sight, Lincoln-Way East football was all anyone could talk about. But, the players remained wary of the attention. Senior Jaden Hacha revealed, “We don’t care if we get TV coverage or anything. We’re just here because we love the sport. We don’t care if there’s five people or a thousand people in the stands. We’re just still going to play our hearts out.” As a well-respected team, East was use to popularity. But this year’s performance brought the team to the next level. They were ranked nationally and had articles in The Chicago Tribune. Hacha continued, “We silence the noise. We focus on the now [and] we’ll be successful in the future. We don’t focus in on all the newspaper articles or all the highlights because we know that could corrupt your mind thinking that you’re the best when there are people working just as hard as you are.” Entering the playoffs after such regular season triumph, the Griffins knew they had to stay hungry. Junior Joshua Ohiku shared, “We have the same goal as every other team in the playoffs and that is to hold up the trophy at the end of the season. I believe if we don’t get ahead of ourselves and take it one game at a time we can achieve the ultimate goal. The success is just a product of all the work we put in during the off-season and we are excited to see where it takes us.”

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