Not only did Andrew (6-3 overall, 6-1 in conference) clinch a playoff berth with a 17-10 victory over Thornton (6-3, 5-2), the Thunderbolts won a share (with Lincoln-Way West) of the SouthWest Suburban Red conference title Friday night.
But don’t think Malec will be patting himself or his players on the back just yet. There’s more to be achieved for Andrew, and with the team having won five of its last six, the first-year coach feels the Thunderbolts are primed for the playoffs.
“We just have to stay healthy and consistent,” Malec said. “Our defense has come a long way, and we really like what we are doing offensively, mixing in a nice balance of the run and the pass.”
That balance was evident Friday night against Thornton. Despite falling behind early, Andrew rambled off 17 points in the second quarter, taking the lead and holding on to it for the remainder of the game. The Thunderbolts rushed for 160 yards and passed for 196.
After a scoreless third quarter, Thornton gave the Thunderbolts faithful a scare as the Wildcats drove 93 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-10.
With five minutes to play, the Andrew offense faced a fourth-and-1 at its own 33-yard line. Rather than settling for a punt, quarterback Tyler Hook hurried the offense to the line and drew an offside penalty that gave the Thunderbolts a first down and helped seal their victory.
“That’s a play we work on,” Malec said of his offense earning a first down on the penalty. “Sometimes it just happens to work.”