Sunday, Nov. 7, 201012:34 AM
By Matt Harness
Maine South's signature offense somewhat struggled finding the end zone in Saturday's first half, but its defense did the job.
The Hawks moved one step closer to defending its consecutive Class 8A championships with their 36-12 win over Bartlett in Park Ridge.
Maine South (9-2) moves on to play Stevenson (11-0) in the quarterfinals Saturday. The Patriots beat South Elgin 10-7.
"Our defense is definitely clicking, and we're coming together as a unit," Maine South senior linebacker Connor Klein. "We've played some good offenses that are heavy on run, and our defense is shutting them down."
The Hawks overcame two turnovers in the first quarter to lead 16-0 at the half. Maine South's defense limited Bartlett (8-3) to 23 yards and zero first downs in the first two quarters. Maine South also forced three turnovers.
"Our job is to give the defense the ball," said Maine South senior defensive end Andrew Terenzio, who recorded a sack and helped the Hawks stop Bartlett on 10 consecutive third downs.
Maine South sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti went 18-for-24 for 340 yards. He threw four touchdowns and one interception. Alviti also scored a touchdown on the ground.
Paul Preston ran 16 times for 152 yards. His counterpart Andy Puccini didn't find as much success. Although the senior ran for 99 yards on 18 carries, he managed 14 yards in the first three quarters and also threw an interception on a halfback pass.
"We definitely didn't come out like we normally do," said Bartlett coach Tom Meaney, whose team lost to Maine South 23-6 during the 2008 playoffs. "In some cases, it looked like we were frozen. Maybe it's because Maine South is the state champions."
After Will Krug's second interception, Maine South went up 23-0 in the third quarter on Alviti's second scoring pass to Jimmy Frankos, who also kicked a 23-yard field goal in the first half.
Alviti threw two more TDs in the second half, including a 70-yarder to Scott Derrick.
Both of Bartlett's touchdowns came in the fourth quarter after the Hawks were down 29-0. Puccini scored on a 32-yard run, and A.J. Bilyeu found Russell Martin for a 5-yard TD that completed the game's scoring.
"After those two losses to start the season, we said we were going to run the table," said Terenzio, whose team is on a nine-game winning streak. "We seem to have that swagger back."