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With the election a few months away, many Americans young and old have a big decision to make in this battle for the White House.

On the football field Friday night at Libertyville High School, there was one duo that was a clear cut front-runner. Libertyville quarterback Jack Ruskell and receiver Lucas Rossetti struck early and often as the host Wildcats rolled past Waukegan 40-7 in this North Suburban conference matchup.

Two of those quick slants happened on the first drive of the game. The first one netted 36 yards, and the second resulted in a 17 yard touchdown, both over the middle in the spot vacated by the Bulldogs pressure. The duo then hooked up on a 40 yard pitch and catch on the next drive, capping a 72 yard, 4 play drive to put the Wildcats up 21-0."We had it going on early," said Ruskell, who hooked up with Rossetti 7 times for 164 yards in the contest. "We knew they (Waukegan) were going to come in and blitz a lot from the linebacker spot. He (Rossetti) was there on a couple of quick slants and it was working."

"I was just open," said Rossetti. " There was no one on me and Jack threw great balls and I do what I usually do."

In between those two hookups was a defensive touchdown. An errant Waukegan long snap sailed over the head of punter Ricardo Mendez and rolled back towards the Waukegan goal line. Libertyville's Patrick Conway was able to scoop the ball up and fall into the end zone.

"Our defense played very well tonight," said Libertyville head coach Mike Jones. "When the ball was in the air, we had about three or four interceptions and our kids did really well in the right spots."

Libertyville (3-1 overall, 2-0 in North Suburban) also benefited from touchdowns form running backs Max Moulton, Brandon Bazar and Anthony Campeau. Moulton's run from 7 yards out came in the first half, while Bazar scored from 13 yards out and Campeau from 7 in the second.

Waukegan (1-3 overall, 0-2 in the North Suburban) had their opportunities early on. They missed on a touchdown pass on their second drive as Davion Walker was unable to haul in a long pass from Daniel Hill.

On their next drive, Walker did haul in a 44 yard pass, but the Bulldogs fumbled on an option which short circuited that drive. Combined with the earlier bad snap on the punt, it set the tone for a seven turnover evening.

"We need to get a lot better and be more disciplined," said Waukegan coach Juan Anillo. "We dropped a pitch that could have been six points. We dropped a pass that could have been six points. We just continue to find ways to shoot ourselves in the foot."

For Libertyville however, they will take the win in this tough North Suburban race.

"Another one in the books," said Ruskell. "We need to keep getting wins in the conference."


by posted 09/21/2016



Batavia's football team benefitted from the IHSA's no 10-second runoff rule in the final seconds of a game. And in the end, the Bulldogs sprinted off Libertyville's field with a stunning victory.

Andrew Heinz's 20-yard field goal in the third overtime lifted Batavia to a 34-31 win over the Wildcats in a nonconference battle between perennial powers.

"Crazy game," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "Crazy game."

Libertyville (1-1) appeared to have won the game, 17-14, when Ben Arnold picked off quarterback Riley Cooper on the goal line with no time left on the clock. But Batavia, which was out of timeouts, was whistled for offsides just before the snap. The referees put 1.5 seconds on the clock, and Piron set out Heinz, who kicked a 25-yard field goal to send the game to OT.

"I've always thought there were some plays -- and that's one of them -- that benefit the offense a little too much," Piron said. "So maybe that's something they should change.

"But not this year," he added, laughing.

In overtime, Batavia (2-0) got touchdown passes from Cooper to Thomas Stuttle (5 yards, first OT) and Dana Anderson (5 yards, second OT). Libertyville got TD runs from QB Jack Ruskell (1 yard) and running back Jason Tse (7 yards, 136 rushing yards for the game), but the Wildcats had a 21-yard field-goal try blocked in the third overtime.

"We were all thinking that we had that (win) at the end (of regulation)," said Ruskell, who completed 10 of 16 passes for 193 yards, despite losing wide receiver Brandon Rule to an apparent knee injury in the first quarter.

Down 7-3 at halftime, Libertyville faced a third-and-19 from its own 23 on the opening series of the third quarter. But Ruskell hit Brendan Bazar for a 56-yard gain. The 5-foot-9 Bazar leapt high to grab the ball at midfield and then raced to the Batavia 21. Three plays later, Bazar scored from the 3.

"A lot of speed," Ruskell said of Bazar (3 catches, 117 yards). "He's the guy I trust running that wheel (route). I know if he's even, he's leaving. And I know he can go up and get the ball, too."

Tse's 5-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter had Libertyville up 17-7.

Batavia responded with a 13-play, 76-yard drive that Cooper capped with a 5-yard TD pass to Stuttle to cut the Bulldogs' deficit to 17-14. Again Ruskell connected with Bazar on third down, for a 26-yard reception, and Libertyville moved the ball to the Batavia 17. But Batavia's defense backed up the Wildcats, who turned the ball over on downs. Anderson and Conner Stejskal teamed up to drop Ruskell for a 4-yard loss on fourth down.

With 2:51 on the clock, Batavia took over at its own 35 and got to the Libertyville 8 to set up Heinz's clutch field goal.

"That's a very proud team," Piron said of Libertyville, which lost in the Class 7A state championship game last year. "But we're proud too."

Batavia had taken the opening kickoff and chewed up more than six minutes on the clock. Cooper's 7-yard slant to 6-foot-4 Colin Cheaney put the visitors on the board with 5:36 left. Cooper started at quarterback, but running-threat Ben Weerts also took snaps from behind center on the opening drive.

Libertyville cut its deficit to 7-3 on Matt Rudolphi's 21-yard field goal with 11:23 left in the opening half.

The Wildcats graduated a talented class that included two-time all-state QB Riley Lees, but they're determined to establish a new identity.

"We're smash-mouth," Ruskell said. "We're following (big linemen) Tyler (Jost) and 'Chaz' (Charlie Schmidt) on the O-line. They're leading us right now."



by posted 09/21/2016

It took awhile for Libertyville's offense to kick into gear Friday night at Elk Grove.

The Wildcats' defense, however, was as staunch as it's ever been.

Running back Jason Tse led the Wildcats with 97 yards on 11 carries, while his defensive teammates forced 4 Elk Grove fumbles and recorded 4 sacks.The Libertyville 'D' pitched a shutout, while the 'O' put 16 points on the board in the third quarter to break open a close game in a 29-0 road win.

Libertyville held the home team to 36 yards of total offense.

"We were focused on pursuing to the ball tonight and getting a good push off the line," said Libertyville's 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive lineman Skyler Blacker.

"We were a little sluggish," added Blacker, who led the Wildcats' sack parade. "It took us a little bit of time to get in the groove."

The Grenadiers actually played a very good game on defense as well, but too often found themselves playing deep in their own territory due to offensive turnovers.

"I was really proud of the way the guys played " said Elk Grove coach John Sigmund. "We're taking a lot of positives out of this game."

The Grens opened the contest with chances to score the first two times they had the ball.

First Connor Cloherty ripped off a 25-yard run minutes into the game to bring the ball down to the Wildcats 30-yard line, but the Grens fumbled the ball away.

On their next possession Elk Grove drove all the way to the Wildcats' 4 but turned the ball over on downs.

"Our offense kept putting our defense in some tough situations tonight," said Sigmund.

The Wildcats took a 6-0 halftime lead on the strength of two Matt Rudolphi field goals, then quarterback Jack Ruskell added to the lead early in the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.

Libertyville made it 15-0 minutes later on a safety when a Elk Grove punt snap sailed over the punter's head and into the Grens' end zone, and extended the lead late in the quarter when Ruskell threw 34 yards to Brandon Rule for a TD.

The Wildcats closed out the scoring in the final quarter on another Rule touchdown catch from Ruskell, this one from 21 yards out.

Ruskell was 11-of-21 through the air for 112 yards, while Max Moulton pitched in to the Libertyville ground attack with 34 yards on 7 carries.

"We're going to get better as time goes on," said Libertyville coach Mike Jones. "We were a little off on our timing, but it was nice to get out there and play another team after practicing against each other all this time."

After the game, Grens coach Sigmund singled out three sophomores -- Vinny Paciano, Matt Crimmins and Dylan Elsner -- for some well-earned praise.

Elk Grove isn't fielding a sophomore team due to numbers, but the trio stepped in and stepped up in their first varsity contest.

"It was their time to shine," said Sigmund. "They did a great job."




by posted 08/29/2016

Congratulations Coach Kuz

2016 Illinois Football Coaches' Association

Hall of Fame Inductee!

by posted 05/09/2016