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Panthers running back Alex Marre (22) takes the hand-off from quarterback Tyler Guerra (2) and looks for a hole behind Drew Surges (33), Jack Lesher (34) and Brian Petrancosta (54) against Arlington Heights.

Carol Stream Silver-93
posts big road win

Panthers improve to 2-0 in regular season play

 
Text and photos by Ed Muniz
 
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS -- September 5 saw the Bill George Youth Football League move into its second week of action. Among the 18 league members are the Carol Stream Panthers. The organization's Silver 93-pound team hit the road to visit the Cowboys and add to its win total.
 
The Panthers hoped to improve on their great start which included victories in the regular season opener and two preseason games.
 
Having previously ambushed a Downers Grove squad 35-6 just a week earlier, coach Anthony Marre and his staff had their team confident and well prepared.
 
“We do a lot of preparing during the week, getting our Gold (second team) and our Black units ready to play,” said Marre “I would expect by the end of the season that our Golds are playing just as good as our Blacks (first team).” 
 
The Panthers started off strong as their defense quickly held the Cowboys to negative yardage on four downs. Both Alex Marre and Jack Lesher made their presence well known to the hosts with solo tackles.
 
Next, Lesher and Drew Surges began the offensive onslaught collecting 20 yards on three carries, but it was through the air that the Panthers struck first on their opening series.
 
A wide-open Nicholas Barracca snags a pass just before he scores the Panthers first touchdown against the Cowboys.
Quarterback Tyler Guerra made a nice fake handoff, stepped back and looked downfield to find a wide-open Nicholas Barracca. Guerra lofted a pass that Barracca hauled in and raced 17 yards for the opening touchdown. 
 
Guerra went through the air again to Barracca for the point-after and a quick 8-0 lead.
 
With no kickoff at this level, the Cowboys started their second series from their own 35-yard line. For the Panthers it was much of the same with Guerra, Dhruv Amin and Blake Maday stopping the Cowboys on consecutive plays.
 
After freezing the  Cowboys again, the Panthers took just one play to hit the endzone again. Lesher bounced and powered his way past several Arlington defenders and motored 35 yards for the Panthers second touchdown.
 
Lesher also added the two-point conversion when he snagged another Guerra pass to make the score 16-0 early in the second quarter.
 
When asked about running on the field, Lesher was simple in his reply. “It feels great,” he said.
 
The power back went on to say: “The problem is to stay low when you run> Last week I ran high and got hit pretty hard, so I remembered this week.  On defense I’m just reading the play and following the ball to make a play.”
 
Relentless in their pursuit of the football, the Panthers defense plagued the Cowboys all game. Tackling, at times, was a team effort and sharing the wealth was easy for the Carol Stream defenders. Vincent Badalamenti, Surges, Karl Schmalz , Matthew Kurzeja, Barracca and Maday all grabbed tackles during the Cowboys next series of downs with Maday ending their efforts with a forced fumble.
 
Blake Maday (90) stops a Cowboy running in the Panthers 32-0 win.
The Panthers took a comfortable 16-0 lead into halftime, but their play was more dominant than the score indicated. 
 
When the Panthers went on offense to open the second half, quarterback Guerra was back at it again. He went to the air and connected with Omar Samayoa who got behind the Arlington defense and easily outdistanced them en route to a 55-yard touchdown on the very first play. Samayoa also caught the two-point conversion pass from Guerra for a 24-0 lead.
 
Now cruising, the dilemma for the Panthers was matching up and changing the defense with a running clock now in play. 
 
“It creates a little more complicated coaching game for us,” said coach Marre. “We have to prepare a little bit different during the week for that situation with switching players around and putting players in different spots.”
 
Schmalz, Matthew Kurzeja and Lesher made quick work of the Arlington offense again. Lesher got the ball back to the Panther offense when he intercepted a Cowboy pass.
 
The Carol Stream offense didn’t take long to add more points on the scoreboard. After shifty scat-back Marre weaved for 29 yards, a missed handoff forced Guerra to keep the ball and improvise. He scrambled and dodged nearly the whole Cowboy defense on his way to the endzone from 27 yards out. Lesher powered in for the added 2 points and gave the Panthers a 32-0 lead.
 
Panthers head coach Anthony Marre (middle) addresses his players during a timeout.
Defensively, Joey Ferruzza, Maday and Zachery Kurzeja again squashed any Cowboy offensive effort. But the hit of the game came from Surges as he pursued and stopped a Cowboy runner with a force not usually seen at this level of play.
 
“Coach teaches us to stay low and drag your legs through the tackle. I feel pretty good about how I played,” said the hard-hitting Surges.
 
With a commanding lead in the game, the Panthers switched players around and gave them opportunities at positions they rarely play. Lineman Maday saw his chance to carry the ball. He was called on four-consecutive snaps and made the most of the opportunity. Maday gained several yards before loosing the grip on the ball during his last rushing attempt. 
 
“I like running the ball when I get a chance,” he said. 
 
When asked about his blocking technique, Maday added, “I step in with my inside foot, and I just block him to the outside to make the big holes. But I like running the ball.”
 
Defenders Barracca, Matthew Kurzeja, Marre and Samayoa sealed the shutout victory and kept the Panthers winning streak intact.
 
Carol Stream used power and quickness on both sides of the ball and a running game that featured a three-star attack along with a passing game that was spot on. Opponents have to decide who to key on. When Lesher, Surges and Marre run the ball, defenses have their hands full.
 
For Marre, running the ball is his specialty but the elusive back didn’t mince words when asked if he should get the ball more, he simply said “yes.” When asked what he could do better, again he said it in one word, “block.”
 
The win showed how complete a football team coach Marre and his staff have. Each boy contributed from line play, to tackling and pursuing to passing and running the ball.
 
“Fantastic group of boys and great assistant coaches,’ said coach Marre. “Our subs are just as good as our starters. I was really pleased with how everybody did their jobs as coaches and how the boys followed through with what they were trying to get them to do.”
 
Marre also praised his offensive line and the extra work they put in stating: “The whole group of offensive linemen did a great job. Each week these boys put in extra work even before practice. They do an extra 5:30 workout with the line coach, work there for a half hour then come to our practice. And a few are doing some pre-practice running on their own, just a great group of boys.”
 
Additional Panthers who contributed to the win were: Brian Petrancosta, Joey DiGiulio and Devin Lankford.
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