October 3, 2010

Chicago falls at Wabash, dropping second straight game

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Playing without fourth-year quarterback Marshal Oium, the Maroons fell to 2–2 against 20th ranked Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana last Saturday. After giving up 24 points in the first half, they recovered with two touchdowns in the second half to finish 31–14.

It was a disappointing loss for the streaking Maroons, who have now dropped their last two games after beginning the season 2–0.

The Maroons turned over the ball on their first three possessions, a blocked punt sandwiched by two interceptions thrown by second-year quarterback Kevin Shelton, allowing Wabash to jump to an early 10–0 lead. The Little Giants continued their early success, frustrating the Maroons’ offense and outmaneuvering their defense to go into halftime up 24–0.

Shelton, who had been filling in for the injured Marshal Oium, was himself injured in the second quarter, making way for first-year quarterback Vincent Cortina’s first action as a Maroon.

In the third quarter, the Maroons finally were able to get on the board. Capitalizing on a forced fumble by defensive end Joseph Tripolitakis, the Maroons took the ball with a strong field position. After a twelve–yard run by third-year Francis Adarkwa, Cortina, who had never thrown a pass in collegiate play before the day’s game, found fourth-year receiver Clay Wolff in the end zone, making the score 24–7.

“It was very nerve-racking and exciting at the same time, being put into the game unexpectedly,” Cortina said. “But that’s what sports are about: making the most out of unexpected opportunities.”

While admittedly still “learn[ing] the offense,” Cortina was later able to connect with second-year wide receiver Dee Brizzolara for 32 yards and a late score.

Unfortunately, the Maroons’ second half offensive successes proved to be too little too late, and the team finally succumbed to Wabash 31–14.

The Maroons have faltered in their last two games, losing by a cumulative score of 62–34. They will face Ohio Wesleyan at home this Saturday.

While it appears a starting quarterback has not yet been named, all of Chicago’s passers should be cleared to play for their upcoming game, perhaps auguring a more successful offensive attack. However, as offensive coordinator Jeff Sokol pointed out, “No matter who is playing [quarterback] for us, we still want to stretch the defense with our vertical passing game, while constantly maintaining the threat of running the football on any down.”

In addition, after last week’s loss, team captains Tommy Parks and Clay Wolff called a player meeting, discussing the team’s initial high expectations and how to meet them as the season progresses.

We have to work hard at practice and come into the game with an attitude that we believe we can win every week,” Cortina stated.

Talking about the future expectations of the Maroons, who began so promisingly, coordinator Sokol reaffirmed his confidence in the offense and the team collectively. “My expectations for our offense and our team remain unchanged,” he said. “I expect us to be a dominant offensive football team and I expect us to win every game we play.”