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‘Ball didn’t go our way’ – TF South football falls short of playoffs – other local scores

TF South

LANSING, Ill. (October 24, 2023) – After falling to 0-4 with a rivalry loss to TF North on September 16, TF South set a goal of going 5-0 in the second half of the football season.

The Red Wolves didn’t get there, going 3-2 over the final five games and missing the IHSA playoffs for the second straight season. But they were close.

South (3-6, 3-3 South Suburban Blue) wound up having to play eight games away from home — seven true road games and a Week 7 matchup against Hillcrest at TF North — because of ongoing construction delays at their own field.

The only losses in the second half were 22-14 to Hillcrest, which scored the tie-breaking touchdown with 15.3 seconds left, and 17-14 on October 19 at Argo in their season finale.
South led Argo 14-0 midway through the second quarter on a pair of touchdown runs by Seneca Smith. But the Argonauts scored with 1:37 left in the half, tied it with a touchdown at 2:33 of the third quarter and went ahead on a 22-yard field goal with 2:59 left in the game.

Argo missed a 46-yard field goal earlier in the decisive drive, but got another chance thanks to a controversial roughing-the-kicker penalty against the Red Wolves.

“We’re just close,” South coach Bob Padjen said. “Just couldn’t punch it in a few times. We had great field position second half and just couldn’t get it in the end zone.”

South’s first possession in the second half ended with a turnover on downs at the Argo 38. After the Argonauts tied it, the Red Wolves got to the Argo 15 on their next possession. But two false-start penalties set them back and led to another turnover on downs at the 28. Smith finished with 17 carries for 65 yards, while Tailen Gosa had 63 yards on just three carries. Christian Streeter ran 13 times for 34 yards.

“Their offense was like ours, hard to stop,” Padjen said. “And it ate up the clock.”

Including the 17-14 loss to TF North, the Red Wolves had three losses by a total of 14 points.

“Could have been 6-3, could be 5-4,” Padjen said. “Ball didn’t go our way and it just came down to executing a few plays. … It’s just a hard loss.”

There is hope for the future. Though some key seniors such as Smith and Gosa will graduate, twenty juniors and sophomores should be back after gaining significant experience this fall. And the schedule flips to become more favorable.

“We’ll be (getting) six (games) at home, which is a good thing,” Padjen said.

Girls cross country

TF South sophomore Yanitzia Luna qualified for this Saturday’s Class 3A Granite City Sectional by finishing 32nd in 21:11.44 at last Saturday’s Andrew Regional.

It was a PR for Luna and a less eventful finish than the week before at the South Suburban Blue Meet. There, Luna and several other frontrunners were inadvertently guided off course by a meet worker and had to run extra. She wound up seventh in that race.

“The other girls were really tired, but I sprinted to get top 10 again and I did,” Luna said.

TF South sophomore Yanitzia Luna has qualified for this weekend’s Class 3A Granite City Sectional in cross country. (Photo: Mike Clark

The Red Wolves took 11th among 12 full teams with 324 points. Rounding out South’s top five were ShyBria Starkley (66th, 24:14.06), Kailyn Keys (75th, 26:40.78), Dawn Birkenfeld (78th, 27:41.68) and Jarena Shell (79th, 27:45.98).

Boys cross country

The Red Wolves’ season ended with a 13th-place finish with 382 points among 13 full teams at last Saturday’s Class 3A Andrew Regional.

South’s top five were Brandon Chavez (66th, 19:17.85), Jesse Terrazas (72nd, 19:38.46), Antoine Morgan (76th, 20:19.27), Carlos Cervantes (82nd, 21:12.18) and Aaron Major (86th, 21:23.3).

Girls volleyball

South fell 25-13, 25-13 to Lincoln-Way West on Oct. 18. Earehc’ Hill led the Red Wolves (14-15) with four aces, five kills and three digs.

TF NorthTF North


The Meteors finished the regular season at 7-2 overall, 4-2 in the South Suburban Blue after falling 19-18 to Lemont on October 19.

Terrion Long’s 85-yard kickoff return for a TD with eight seconds left in the game pulled North within a point, but Lemont stopped the Meteors’ two-point conversion try to hold on for the win.

Long also had a 6-yard TD run and Dominic Gradford threw a 14-yard TD pass to Aric Moultrie.

North is seeded eighth in the 16-team southern bracket in the IHSA Class 5A playoffs and will host ninth-seeded Sacred Heart-Griffin (6-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday. It’s the first state playoff appearance for the Meteors since 2011.

Girls tennis

North’s doubles team of Precious Agwu and Alex Thomas went 0-2 at the IHSA Class 1A state meet on Oct. 19, falling 6-1, 6-0 to Metamora’s Brianna Bessert and Emma Hernandez and losing 6-3, 6-0 to DePaul Prep’s Kate Lloyd and Keira Lloyd.

Girls cross country

Two Meteors — Andrea Sotelo and Daniela Martinez — have qualified for this Saturday’s Class 2A Geneseo Sectional.

Sotelo was 17th in 23:33.10 at last Saturday’s Thornridge Regional, while Martinez finished 38th in 25:49.30.

The Meteors were seventh among eight full teams with 184 points. Rounding out North’s top five were Gabrielle McClain (42nd, 26:00.10), Yulissa Villarreal (45th, 26:14.30) and Daisy Rodriguez (46th, 26:18.00).

Boys cross country

The Meteors’ season ended with a ninth-place finish among 10 full teams at last Saturday’s Class 2A Thornridge Regional.

Scorers for North, which finished with 238 points, were Said Rodriguez (39th, 20:05.60), William Jacome (46th, 20:39.70), Yahir Toledo (51st, 21:13.90), David Malagon (54th, 21:40,70) and Enrique Cruz (56th, 22:06.80).

TF United (TF South/TF North co-op)

Boys soccer

United fell 2-0 in double overtime to the host the Knights in Saturday’s championship match of the Class 3A Lincoln-Way Central Sectional. United finished 14-5-3.

On October 18, United advanced by beating Oak Lawn 6-5 in penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw.

Iker Raya scored, Angel Saenz contributed the assist and Oswaldo Mendoza had six saves in regulation. Scoring PK goals for United were Giovanni Melgoza, Raya, David Lopez, Avery Flores, Elkan Ochir, and Omar Reyes. Mendoza stopped three shots in the shootout.

Illiana Christian

Girls cross country

Illiana Christian’s Ella Olthof and Avery Olthof both qualified for this Saturday’s IHSAA state meet as individuals by finishing 14th and 17th respectively at last Saturday’s New Prairie Regional.

Ella ran 19:35.3 and Avery finished in 19:43.4 for the Vikings, who were 11th among 24 teams with 318 points.

Rounding out Illiana’s top five were Adeline Mulder (96th, 21:48.4), Morgan Myers (130th, 22:15.2) and Ellie Ratliff (149th, 22:44.8).

Girls volleyball

Illiana’s Richelle VanderZee was named Greater South Shore Conference Volleyball Coach of the year in a vote of league coaches.

The Vikings’ season ended on Saturday with a 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 loss to Churubusco in the Class 2A Rochester Regional semifinals.

Boys cross country

The Vikings’ season ended with a 16th-place finish among 24 teams at Saturday’s New Prairie Regional.

Scorers for Illiana, which had 415 points, were Nolan Bouwman (35th, 16:50.4), Josh Wondaal (99th, 17:52.6), Cody Aardsma (114th, 18:01.4), Jarvis Mickles (121st, 18:09.9) and Dane Scheringa (18:15.2).

Marian CatholicMarian Catholic


Marian wrapped up the CCL/ESCC Red title in easy fashion, running just 14 offensive plays — six of which went for touchdowns — in a 47-0 home win over Leo on Friday.

Tyler Lofton had four carries for 97 yards, including TDs of 80 and 12 yards. Moe Davis went 67 yards for a touchdown on his only carry, while Kaleb Isom scored on a 40-yard punt return and a 31-yard pass from Carter Magerski.

Paul Frazier had a 36-yard TD on his only rushing attempt and Magerski ran 29 yards for a score for Marian (4-5, 3-0 CCL/ESCC Red).

Marian is expected to take part in the CCL/ESCC Playoffs, which lead up to the annual Prep Bowl matching the CCL/ESSC and Public League champs over Thanksgiving weekend. Pairings will be announced next week.

Boys soccer

Marian won its own Class 2A regional, beating Providence 5-2 in the semifinals on October 17 and edging Oak Forest 2-1 in the final on Friday.

Boys cross country

Marian teammates Daniel Kasperan and Jayden Downs have qualified for this Saturday’s Class 2A Geneseo Sectional.

Kasperan was runner-up in last Saturday’s Thornridge Regional with a time of 16:21.90 and Downs finished 20th in 18:18.40.

Marian was seventh among 10 full teams with 193 points. Other scorers for the Spartans were Jeremiah Bolar (48th, 20:48.30), Jonah Greenwood (62nd, 22:47.00) and Christopher Watkins (68th, 24:11.50).

Girls cross country

Marian’s Joselyn Guzzo finished 28th at last Saturday’s Class 2A Thornridge Regional to advance to this Saturday’s Geneseo Sectional. Guzzo ran 24:45.10. Marian did not field a full team.

Girls volleyball

Marian lost 25-12, 25-10 to Marist on October 17. Carrington Smith had three kills and two blocks for Marian (11-19, 3-3 East Suburban Catholic), while Brooklyn Holmes added four digs.


Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.