Maine South doesn't play best, but still beats Curie

Alviti throws 4 TD passes as Hawks score final 21 points in 35-13 win

By David Jaffe
October 29, 2011 10:10 PM

On paper, it may not have appeared that Curie, the No. 15 seed in the Class 8A state playoffs, would be much of an opening-round test for the three-time defending state champion Maine South football team.

But in the first half Saturday, the Condors gave the unbeaten No. 2-seeded Hawks all they could handle, staying as close as one point up until 3 minutes,15 seconds to go in the first half.

Although they’ll be the first to admit that their game wasn’t at its best, the Hawks (10-0) showed that they’re able to handle and overcome some adversity.

Maine South began to pull away late in the first half and scored the game’s final 21 points to beat Curie 35-13 at Lane Tech.

The three-time defending Class 8A state champion Hawks advanced to play No. 7 seed Stevenson in the second round next week in Lincolnshire.

“We were pretty flat for most of the first half,” Maine South coach Dave Inserra said. “We didn’t have a lot of big plays early on and we turned the ball over more than we usually do. Curie did a good job with their play calling. It wasn’t the most traditional offense, but they made things challenging at the beginning.”

The Hawks got a bit of a momentum boost by scoring with 3:15 left in the first half to take a 21-13 lead.

The Hawks’ Mike Fernandez stopped Curie running back Kevonta McIntyre on a fourth-and-1 play from Maine South’s 35-yard line. The Hawks then went on an eight-play, 65-yard drive highlighted by a 23-yard run by quarterback Matt Alviti and 9-yard runs by Alviti and running back Paul Preston before Alviti found tight end John Solari for a 16-yard touchdown pass.

“We knew we weren’t playing as well as we should have,” said Alviti, who completed 9 for 19 passes for 156 yards and four TDs and also had a rushing score. “I think just towards the end of the first half we started picking things up. We had a great opening series to the game and I think we may have thought things wouldn’t be too difficult after that. But Curie was a good team and they had a good game plan.”

Maine South then went on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 15-yard TD pass from Alviti to receiver Jimmy Frankos (4 catches, 104 yards), his second touchdown catch of the day, extending the lead to 28-13 with 14 seconds left in the third quarter. Frankos also had the key play on the drive by making a 39-yard catch that took Maine South to the Condors’ 38.

"I think we started playing with a little more emotion in the second half,” Frankos said. “This clearly wasn’t our best day. But it takes a lot of heart to still find a way to win in that type of situation.”

The Hawks took over in good field position after stopping McIntyre on a fourth-and-2 at the Condors’ 38. Two plays later, Alviti hit Tyler Fahey in the end zone from 33 yards out for a 35-13 lead with 9:40 left in the game.

Things started out Maine South’s way as on the first offensive play of the game Alviti connected on a 45-yard TD pass to Frankos for a quick 7-0 advantage.

But Curie fought back as quarterback Aladonte Howard hit Jibreel Jackson on a screen pass that went for 58 yards. Three plays later, McIntyre connected with Marcel Poindexter on an 18-yard pass on a trick play to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:22 left in the first quarter.

The Hawks responded by taking advantage of four Condors’ penalties on the next drive, including a 5-yard facemask on a 25-yard run by Paul Preston, a personal foul on a 9-yard run by Preston and a pass interference call that took Maine South to the 2-yard line. Three plays later, Alviti ran it in from 1 yard out to put the Hawks up 14-7 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.

“I think playing on the road was a great test for us,” Alviti said. “I think we showed that we were able to handle adversity very well and even though we didn’t play like we wanted to, we were able to gut it out and finish strong.”

Curie recovered a Maine South fumble at its own 47, and a pass interference call helped put the Condors in Maine South territory at the 32. A 14-yard run by Jackson helped set up a 6-yard McIntyre touchdown run. A high snap on the extra point led to a failed two-point conversion attempt, making it 14-13 with 10:14 left in the half.

“A win’s a win,” Frankos said. “We never gave up. There are going to be games like this and you have to find ways to overcome them. I think we showed a lot in pulling this one out.”

“I think some of the little things were a bit off for us today,” Inserra said. “I don’t think the fact that it was a road game or a Saturday afternoon game changed anything. It’s something we know we have to get used to. I think we didn’t show that much emotion on the sidelines. They were hard to prepare for and they were good with the football. Give them credit.”