For and fans, it had to be a feeling of déjà vu as the two schools’ football teams faced off for the second time in two weeks Friday night.
Much like in the regular-season finale, the Indians took advantage of costly first-half mistakes by the Bengals as Lemont went on to a 35-14 second-round playoff win.
The Indians (11-0) found their stride in the second quarter after Tyler Jay caught a deep jump ball pass and took it to the end zone for a 75-yard touchdown to give the Indians a 14-7 lead. That, along with two second-quarter interceptions, sunk the host Bengals (7-4) after a very strong start by Oak Forest that included a 15-yard TD pass from quarterback Tom Zale to Arthur Johnson on fourth-and-8.
“It definitely took a lot out of us,” Bengals running back Tevin Coleman said. “We came out so pumped up tonight. We were ready to go.”
The Indians maintained control for much of the game with their running attack. Running back Mike Anzalone once again was at the helm. He led the Indians to an opening-drive touchdown with six carries for 47 yards. He added another TD late in the fourth quarter to put the game away for good.
“The offensive line is continuing to gel and improve,” Indians coach Eric Michaelsen said. “They’ve worked hard at it all season.”
The Bengals’ option offense got off to a strong start, with Coleman and fellow running back Matt Barry causing plenty of confusion for the Lemont defense. However, the Indians’ secondary put the clamps on Zale after his early touchdown throw to Johnson, forcing two interceptions and limiting Zale to only three total completions.
The déjà vu feeling continues for the Indians as they reach the quarterfinal round for the fifth year in a row. They will play the winner of Richards-Hubbard next week. Should Richards win, it would be the second rematch in a row for the Indians. The Indians defeated the Bulldogs 28-6 on Sept. 9.
“Regardless of who we play, we’re gonna run the ball, do a little play-action, and play some good defense,” Michaelsen said.
Details for the Indians’ quarterfinal match will be announced by Monday.