Hinsdale Central fends off Conant to advance in 8A playoffs

4 minute read


By Patrick Kelly
Pioneer Press

It did not take Hinsdale Central defensive back Guyhenry Goss very long to turn a negative into a positive Saturday afternoon against Conant in a Class 8A first-round playoff game.

Hinsdale Central had stopped Conant on the first series of the second half, but then the Cougars regained possession after recovering what was ruled a muffed punt.

Instead of having the ball with good field position, the Red Devils had to go back on defense while leading 14-7.

But on the first play of the ensuing series, Goss stepped in front of a Kevin Polaski pass attempt and picked it off. That quickly, Hinsdale Central had the ball at midfield.

The Red Devils scored one play later and kept churning on their way to a 28-14 victory.

An aggressive play by Goss — almost too aggressive — resulted in the first Hinsdale Central turnover of the game at a key moment.

“I knew Conant liked to run a short out-route with a long out-route as well,” said Goss, a senior who lives in Hinsdale. “I kind of jumped the gun a little bit. It was kind of a mistake.

“But luckily, I think I kind of, not scared him, but threw the receiver off his mojo. I just saw the ball before he did and got to the ball.”

Regaining possession was huge for the Red Devils (8-2), but it also allowed the defense to take a much-needed break. The defense had played back-to-back series.

“It was extremely important, not only for the game, but kind of for a mental standpoint on the defense,” Goss said. “To get that turnover and kind of take a break really quick, relax the muscles and get ready for the next drive.”

The Red Devils’ defense did not have too long to relax, though, because senior running back Matt Bobak quickly reeled off a 50-yard scoring run.

“We were all amped up because of the interception,” Bobak said. “Our offensive line, they pulled and I followed the blocks. There was nobody there, just beautiful holes.

“We were pretty ticked off about that punt (call), and it was real nice to get that interception right away. Then we were amped up and ready to go score a touchdown.”

Bobak, also from Hinsdale, scored on a 29-yard touchdown run to give Hinsdale Central a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. He finished with 191 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.

“Bobak has come on, he has done an excellent job the last three weeks,” Red Devils coach Dan Hartman said. “He has been better as the game goes on, and better as the season goes on. He has done an awesome job.”

Hinsdale Central led almost the entire game, except when Conant briefly tied the game 7-7 with a 98-yard drive toward the end of the second quarter.

The Red Devils needed less than minute to answer and took a 14-7 lead with 5 seconds left in the half on a 51-yard pass from Matt Rush to Braden Contreras.

“Coach Hartman took a chance on that. Usually we will take a knee on that,” Bobak said. “We needed to get those points because we missed out on the goal line right before that.”

The Red Devils will visit Warren (9-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in a Class 8A second-round game.

Patrick Kelly is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

Twitter @Pioneer_Press

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