L-W senior quarterback Blake Winkler spearheaded the Griffins’ (10-0) attack, completing 13 of 18 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior wide receiver J.J. Robertson snagged four Winkler passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns, while senior wide-out Jay Yancy had seven receptions for 133 yards and a score.
The Cougars (5-5) were led by inspired senior Dantrell Wright, who amassed 150 total yards, a receiving touchdown, and a 93-yard interception playing defensive back.
Senior quarterback Austin Howarth also completed 14 of 27 throws for 164 yards and a touchdown.
Lincoln-Way East head coach Rob Zvonar said his team did not begin the game on the right foot.
“We didn’t have a lot of flow early,” Zvonar said. “We gave up a big play on defense. We just stuck to our game plan and started to execute better.”
Plainfield got off to a surprising start, when senior defensive back Steven Harris intercepted Winkler on Lincoln-Way’s opening drive.
“Give [Plainfield South] a lot of credit for the effort they made tonight,” Lincoln-Way East head coach Rob Zvonar said. “They came over here inspired, and did a heck of a job.”
The Griffins found some rhythm on their second possession, marching 94 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Robertson capped off the drive with a 30-yard touchdown reception on a fourth down play.
The Cougars responded on their subsequent possession with an 82-yard touchdown pass from Howarth to Wright, to knot the score at seven.
On Lincoln-Way’s next trip, Winkler found Yancy to put the Griffins ahead 14-7, with 2:30 remaining in the opening quarter.
Early in the second quarter, with Lincoln-Way on the verge of extending its lead to two touchdowns, Wright intercepted a pass and returned it 93 yards to the Griffin’s six-yard line. But the Cougars were stopped two yards short on fourth and goal, keeping the score 14-7.
Eventually, the Griffins assumed control, adding a pair of Blake Anders rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-7 lead into the locker room.
Robertson tacked on a six-yard touchdown reception to put the score out of reach, 35-7, midway through the third quarter.
“[Lincoln-Way East] has a really good balance of rushing and passing,” Plainfield South head coach Ken Bublitz said. “It’s a tough combination to stop. They’ve got good athletes on the field, and they made plays.”
The Lincoln-Way defense controlled the game after the opening quarter, constantly applying pressure on Howarth, while holding Plainfield scoreless.
“We knew coming into [tonight’s game] that we were going to have to be balanced [on offense],” Bublitz said. “Even if we were just getting one or two [yards per play], we just wanted to move the ball forward.
“We weren’t able to do that consistently enough; we ended up having to throw as much as we did, and the [Lincoln-Way] pressure was significant.”
But Bublitz said that doesn’t take anything away from what his team accomplished.
“These guys have been fantastic; they didn’t give up,” he said. “There were plenty of times we could have packed the season in and gotten ready for the winter, and our guys refused to do that.
“That’s a tribute to our senior group, and what they brought to the table.”
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