HILLSIDE – When York’s football team got off to a 2-0 start it was all about the running game.
The Dukes are not shy about their desire to pound the ball on the ground and grind out yards while controlling the clock. York hasn’t deviated from that mentality, but was able to capitalize on it for the first time in three games with a 27-20 win at Proviso West last Friday.
“We really got our running game going,” said senior captain and offensive guard Liam Gaughan. “That was big. In our first two victories we had over 300 yards rushing and then in the next three games we kind of lost it a little bit. We found it again against Proviso West.”
York’s running game and a defense that scored a defensive touchdown and held the Panthers scoreless for the first half helped the Dukes improve to 3-3. It was York’s first West Suburban Silver win in nine games, dating back to the regular season finale in 2011.
Despite the victory, which revitalized the Dukes’ playoff hopes, York didn’t take much time to celebrate.
The Dukes are now focused on Friday’s game at Downers Grove North between two 3-3 teams desperately in need of a win.
“Ever since last Friday we celebrated a little bit, but now we’re focused on DGN,” Gaughan said. “The Saturday practice, all the talk was about DGN.
“We all know what we have to do. We all know that we have to perform out there because the playoffs are right there for us.”
Gaughan is part of an offensive line for York that really is the most important part of the offense. Quarterback Charlie Rose, who also made two field goals against the Panthers, and the seemingly endless pool of running backs York shifts in and out of the backfield are also key cogs, but a good offensive line is the heart of any running game.
Gaughan loves the aggressive nature of running the ball more than 30 times per game.
“Our offense is dictated by our running game,” he said. “You’re really getting off the ball and you’re hitting someone instead of letting the defense come at you.
“It’s really a gratifying feeling because linemen don’t really always get a lot of credit, but our running backs know that the only reason they got through those holes was because of the linemen.”
York 27, Proviso West 20
York scoring plays
• Charlie Rose 26-yard FG
• Rose 32-yard FG
• Joseph Biggins 4-yard run
• Ted Harrold 44-yard interception return
• Jake Sacksteder 25-yard run
Week 7: York at Downers Grove North
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Carstens Field, 4436 Main St., Downers Grove
Records: York 3-3 (1-2 WSS), Downers Grove North 3-3 (0-3 WSS)
Outlook: Both teams carry 3-3 records, which means they both sit squarely on the playoff bubble. The Dukes and Trojans are both coming off wins, but will still look at this game as a must-win. Fans of running football will enjoy this one. Both teams use multiple backs to keep the ball on the ground well over 30 times per game.