38 | October 17, 2019 | The highland park landmark sports hplandmarkdaily.com Giants stay undefeated in CSL North with win over Niles North 6 Leah Vann Freelance Reporter The first two drives of Highland Park's win over Niles North on Friday, Oct. 11, at Wolters Field set the stage for a shootout, but the Giants quickly (4-3 overall, 3-0 conference) ran away with a 57-25 victory behind four touchdowns by junior fullback Giovanni Volpentesta. The Giants are making their case for the playoffs, and Friday night's victory adds fuel to the fire going into the matchups against Deerfield (5-2, 2-1) and Maine West (6-1, 3-0) to close out the regular season. “Niles North is a dangerous team every time we play them,” Giants coach David Lindquist said. "We just had to keep playing. That first drive where they got their touchdown came after a great kickoff return by their guy and set themselves up for a lot of success. We made some adjustments and went from there.” On the third play of the game, Volpentesta found the hole up the middle, accelerating downfield for a 56-yard touchdown run. Junior Max Mauer added to that score with a 2-point conversion to put the Giants up 8-0. “We kind of found a soft spot we thought we could take advantage of,” Lindquist said. “Giovanni is our No. 1 guy getting the ball off that edge.” The Vikings (2-5, 0-3) answered quickly with a 15-yard touchdown run, but the Giants made sure Niles North didn’t see the end zone again until the CSL North standings Maine West 6-1 overall, 3-0 conf. Highland Park 4-3, 3-0 Deerfield 5-2, 2-1 Vernon Hills 4-3, 1-2 Niles North 2-5, 0-3 Maine East 0-7, 0-3 second half. Volpentesta scored his remaining three touchdowns in similar fashion, scoring on 20-, 50- and 68-yard touchdown runs. Volpentesta finished the half with 239 yards rushing. “The linemen were blocking amazingly, the wide receivers were blocking amazingly, so the corners wouldn’t come down on me,” Volpentesta said. “I just read my holes and I ran. Everything was open, it was amazing.” Sophomore Evan Bloom had his turn next, rolling to the outer edge and spinning into the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown run to put the Giants up 36-7 with 2:39 remaining in the opening half. Jaden Holzman’s interception on Niles North's next drive put them on the Vikings’ 34-yard line. Giants junior quarterback David Crane then ran the ball to the 12 before connecting with Mauer on an 11-yard pass to put the Giants within one yard of extending their lead.. Mauer punched in the final touchdown of the half for a 43-7 halftime advantage. Sam Fishman knocked the ball free from Vikings’ quarterback Chris Bland’s grasp. Giants’ Erick De La Cruz recovered it, giving the Giants possession deep in Vikings’ territory, but Nate Cohen wraps up the Niles North quarterback in the Giants’ 57-25 win on Friday, Oct. 11, at Wolters Field. Margo Grogan/22nd Century Media Linescore the Giants were unable to capitalize. Even when Volpentesta wasn't running the ball, guys like Bloom and Mauer were able to make big plays for the Giants on the ground. “Evan is a really good 1 2 3 4 F HP 16 27 7 7 57 NN 7 0 12 6 25 Three Stars of the game 1. Giovanni Volpentesta, RB — 239 rushing yards, 4 TD 2. Jaden Holzman, LB — 6 tackles, 1 INT 3. Max Mauer, WR — 2 TD downhill runner so when we want to run the ball inside, we can trust he can be a reliable player,” Lindquist said. “Max is another change-up in the backfield for what we’re doing with our quarterback, we trust him to get yards when we need him.” The Vikings returned with a 47-yard touchdown reception in the second half to make it 43-13. In an effort to keep the momentum going, the Niles North recovered its own onside kick, but nothing came from the drive. The Vikings scored two more times late in the third and fourth quarters, but it was never enough to keep the game close. Mauer caught his second touchdown reception in the third quarter, then Tyler Crann made the final touchdown grab in the fourth to wrap up the scoring. Sam Fishman and Jaden Holzman commanded the Giants’ defense. Holzman finished the game with six tackles, including two solo and one for a loss of three while also grabbing an interception. Fishman finished the game with three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. “Every time we’ve gotten physical is when we’ve been successful,” Volpentesta said. “Highland Park is better than everyone thinks. We’re coming to win conference.”
hplandmarkdaily.com sports the highland park landmark | October 17, 2019 | 39 Cross-country Giants boys, girls teams continue improving 5 22nd century media file photo 1st-and-3 Stars of the Week 1. Giovanni Volpentesta (ABOVE) A frequent visitor to this section, Volpentesta rushed for 239 yards and four touchdownds in the win over Niles North. 2. Jason Polydoris The junior placed second in the Wheeling Invitaional on Saturday, Oct. 12, with a time of 15:36.7. 3. Emilia Schwenk Schwenk’s 80 in the IHSA Regional led the Giants and qualified her for sectionals. Nick Frazier, Sports Editor Despite not having a full squad, the Giants boys cross-country team continued to show signs of improvement at the Wheeling Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Heritage Park. Led by a runner-up finish from junior Jason Polydoris (15 minutes, 36.7 seconds) and a 16th-place time from senior Corey Fairchild (16:18.8), Highland Park placed sixth out of 15 teams. A few guys were sick or unavailable for the race, but Giants coach Steve Buti was still pleased with the boys who overcame the rough course conditions. “The guys who raced, raced very well,” Buti said. “It was super windy and really muddy on the course Game of the Week: • Deerfield (5-2) at Highland Park (4-3) Other matchups: • Glenbrook South (3-4) at Maine South (5-2) • Glenbrook North (3-4) at New Trier (3-4) • Loyola (5-2) at Marian (5-2) • Libertyville (3-4) at Lake Forest (4-3) • Nazareth (6-1) at Notre Dame (7-0) • Maine West (6-1) at Vernon Hills (4-3) so times weren’t great. We were just looking at how they competed and where they were position-wise compared to the competition to see what kind of progress we’ve made for the season.” Last season, Polydoris qualified for the Class 3A state meet as a sophomore. He’s been the team’s top runner all year and finished less than three seconds behind the race winner. “He beat some guys that have run faster times than him this season, so it was a great measuring stick,” Buti said. “His plan was to stay with the leaders and then with about a half mile to go try to make a move.” Behind Polydoris is a mix of experienced runners and new cross-country athletes who continue 39-10 JOE COUGHLIN | Publisher • Highland Park 35, Deerfield 32: I’m sensing a shootout, with a rejuvenated Giants squad holding on at home. • Maine South • New Trier • Loyola • Lake Forest • Nazareth • Maine West 28-21 NICK FRAZIER | Sports Editor • Highland Park 22, Deerfield 20: The Giants offense has shined, but it’s the defense that gives HP an important fifth win. • Maine South • New Trier • Loyola • Lake Forest • Notre Dame • Maine West 38-11 to improve. Buti says this was originally suppose to be a rebuilding year for the Giants, but things have been coming along nicely. Specifically, junior Max Friedman, senior Max Marmitt and freshman Angel Zeferino have stepped up to keep Highland Park in contention. “Guys are still starting to run their best times, especially the newer guys that have never done this before,” Buti said. “They’re seeing this massive improvement because now they’re training at this high level for an extended period of time so those times keep dropping.” The Giants won the last four Central Suburban League North championships, and will be aiming for another in the conference tournament next weekend. Deerfield is the lone conference team Highland Park hasn’t defeated this season. After competing against the CSL North’s best, the Giants will turn their attention to the regional meet in hopes to advance to sectionals, and perhaps the state meet in Peoria. Polydoris will likely compete in the final race of the year again, but Buti hopes his other top runners can join Polydoris. “Improvement like we’ve seen is a good sign that we should be able to get through sectionals as a team,” Buti said. “If the guys can continue to take care of themselves and stay healthy, we have that outside chance that we can put together our best team MICHAL DWOJAK | Contributing Sports Editor • Deerfield 17, Highland Park 14: The Warriors pull off a close, critical win on the road. • Maine South • New Trier • Loyola • Lake Forest • Nazareth • Maine West 33-16 37-12 MICHAEL WOJTYCHIW | Contributing Sports Editor • Highland Park 17, Deerfield 14: The Giants are healthy and looking for a late playoff push. • Maine South • New Trier • Loyola • Lake Forest • Nazareth • Maine West Corey Fairchild during the Wheeling Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Heritage Park in Wheeling. Photo submitted race on that day.” The Giants girls team also competed at the Wheeling Invitational. Naomi Ephraim led Highland Park, placing 53rd Please see Giants, 37 MARTIN CARLINO | Contributing Editor • Deerfield 24, Highland Park 21: The Warriors get a tough road win in the latest matchup of the always entertaining District 113 rivalry. • Maine South • New Trier • Loyola • Lake Forest • Nazareth • Maine West Listen Up “Highland Park is better than everyone thinks. We’re coming to win conference.” Giovanni Volpentesta — Giants fullback after his team’s win over Niles North. Tuning In What to Watch this Week FOOTBALL: The Giants host Deerfield in a rivalry game with playoff implications. Kickoff at Wolters Field is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. Index 35 - High School Highlights 35 - Athlete of the Week Fastbreak is compiled by Sports Editor Nick Frazier. Send any questions or comments to email@example.com.