Wolves Dominate Vikings, Claim Skokie Skirmish Trophy

Wolves Dominate Vikings, Claim Skokie Skirmish Trophy

By George Panoutsos

Though lightning never struck, the Wolves sure did at the Skokie skirmish beating Niles North 41-35 Saturday, Sept. 7.

The Wolves were in control of the entire football game, never letting up. Winning the coin toss, West got down to business right away and scored on the first drive of the game, with a strong throw from junior and quarterback Tommy Galanopoulos right into the hands of senior and aide receiver Andrew Mihulet.

Niles North returned the ball for a short gain. Shortly after the return, North snapped the ball over their quarterback’s head and West’s outside linebackers pounced on the loose ball, putting their offense back to work from the Vikings 10 yard line.

Seconds later, Niles West came up big with another touchdown caught by junior and running back Jeremy Pignato. The rest of the first quarter drifted away until the Vikings scored leaving no time  on the clock. The quarter ended with Niles West leading their rivals 13 to seven.

The Wolves began the second quarter with a respectable 30 yard kick return. The offense worked their way down the field, until Galanopoulos shot a bullet pass to Mihulet for yet another touchdown. This play would not have been possible without the impressive blocking from the offensive line, providing Galanopoulos with ample time in the pocket. A couple of minutes later, Niles North was forced to turn the ball over due to the Wolves’ relentless defense.

With control of the ball once again, West’s offense scored a passing touchdown to speedy junior and receiver Quran Spillman with 3:47 left in the second quarter. With 1:42 left in the first half, North scored a touchdown, squeaking past the Wolves defense. With about a minute left before halftime, the lightning sirens blared, halting the match. No worries though, it was only a false alarm! The last minute of the second quarter dwindled with no additional scoring from either team, ending the half with The Wolves on top 28 to 14.

The halftime shows were finishing up and the players started heading back to the benches until the announcer stated that lightning was in the vicinity. The two teams and their ecstatic fan bases headed inside the building to wait out the storm that never struck.

After the delay of game, North kicked the ball off to West. Spillman received the kick and ran the ball all the way back for the touchdown, in vintage Devin Hester fashion.

On the play, Spillman said, “In practice we went over and over the proper blocking and to find a hole and bust it.”

This technique was clearly executed during that incredible run. Niles North received the kick return and on second down Andrew Mihulet came up big with an interception, showing his great versatility.

“I saw the kid was running a seam on the hash, so I just jumped in,” Mihulet said.

After the interception, junior Brandon Costantino barreled through the Vikings defense and broke free to run in a touchdown. On the extra point attempt, the kick was blocked. This touchdown concluded the third quarter.

North got the ball to start the fourth quarter and scored quickly. On the touchdown a flag was called on West for a face mask, so the kickoff was moved up five yards. North attempted the onside kick but was recovered by Wolves senior and blocker Nick Johnson. The next play West fumbled the football, giving North possession once again. The Vikings quarterback threw three long consecutive passes, which led to a Vikings touchdown. Another onside kick was attempted by North, but West recovered the ball. West, now ahead by only seven points and clearly rattled, turned the ball over to North yet again.

After a couple of run plays North threw the ball to a receiver who was stripped of the ball and recovered triumphantly by West. The Wolves kneed the ball to run the clock out and win the game as their enthusiastic fans voiced their support in the stands.

 Even though The Vikings scored a few late touchdowns, The Wolves stayed strong and held on to the victory.