October 17, 2016

Home-field Advantage Spurs Chicago to Win

Going into the weekend, the Maroons’ performance was fairly stagnant, sitting at a record of .500 in their conference. However, the South Siders have proven themselves on their own field time and again, and this Homecoming weekend was another chance to bring a victory to the at-home crowd. The festivities brought more eager eyes to the gates and bleachers of Stagg field. Excitement was in the air as Chicago set their sights on a victory against Rhodes College.

It was a great game to watch and a great game for the Maroons. Both the Maroons and the Lynx came out with tenacity. Exploding right out of the gate, the Maroons had incredible awareness of the necessary strategies to win. “Coming into the game we knew we had to stop the quarterback run or at least contain their quarterback who is a very dynamic athlete,” said third-year defensive back Andrew Beytagh.

Their plan was effective the first quarter, as the South Siders held the Lynxes to zero points. On a fourth down and unable to score, the Maroons kicked for a three-point completion, taking the lead with 6:55 left in the first quarter. Then, with a 28-yard run from third-year Chandler Carroll, the Maroons were able to score a touchdown but unfortunately the snap was blocked. This brought the score to 10–0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter proved a little less lucrative for the Maroons, as Rhodes scored a touchdown and completed a kick to bring the score to 10–7. With a 49-yard field goal by the Lynx, the score was made even. Although the South Siders struggled on defense a bit at this point, the Maroons did have a couple first-years step up on the defensive line for them. “First-year Zach Atiyeh started in his first collegiate game and I’m pretty sure he led us in tackles as well as jumping on the fumble that fourth-year Jackson Garrey forced to end the game,” Beytagh said.

Early on in the third quarter, the Maroons scored a touchdown off a two-yard pass from third-year quarterback Burke Moser to first-year Andrew Falk. However, Chicago was unable to convert on the extra point, bringing the score to 19–10. Responding to Chicago, Rhodes was able to score two on a 98-yard return for a score of 19–12. This back and forth play continued up until the last drive of the game, where the Maroons marched down the field with just seven plays to score a final touchdown and bring the game to 33–26. 

The defense proved stalwart, as the South Siders were able to force Rhodes to fumble the ball on their last-chance drive, securing the Homecoming victory for the Maroons.  As exciting as this win was, however, the squad has a difficult match-up this weekend in the form of Hendrix. “Hendrix is arguably the most talented team in the SAA,” Beytagh said. “We’re going to have to force turnovers and make their experienced quarterback and running back uncomfortable.” 

He remained hopeful, however, as he said, “I hope we can turn this around next week and put ourselves in a great position to win an SAA title.” It remains to be seen what it can do when it squares up against Hendrix. The game will take place this Saturday at 1 p.m.