Peterson, McNamara, Flis key Cougars’ win
Vernon Hill's Dylan McNamara (No. 33) picks up yards during a win over Dunbar on Aug. 24. | Dave Shields~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:20AM
Either every single player on Dunbar’s football team is from the same family or something went terribly wrong when the jerseys were ordered.
Another possibility: Dunbar’s program is proud of the city where it’s located.
Dunbar’s Mightymen — each wearing a uniform with “CHICAGO” on the back, where last names usually go — visited Vernon Hills for a season opener Friday night. The urbanites competed well, but players from the suburban squad — namely senior quarterback Brett Peterson, senior running back/linebacker Dylan McNamara and senior running back/outside linebacker TJ Flis — helped Vernon Hills’ Cougars produce a 38-22 victory.
Peterson broad-shouldered the scoring load against the Chicagoans, rushing for three touchdowns (nine, six and 29 yards) and tossing for another to Flis. The TD pass covered 58 yards and gave the hosts a 23-14 lead at 8:53 of the third quarter.
“(A defensive back) bit for half a second,” said Flis of his only reception of the night.
A second or two later, Flis found himself wide open in the middle of the field. All Peterson had to do was deliver an easy lob and let Flis take care of matters from there.
“The pass was up there for a while,” Flis added.
It didn’t take long for McNamara to establish dominance with his legs. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder averaged 23 yards per tote on his first two carries and raced for back-to-back 31-yard gains on the Cougars’ second possession. He carried the ball 15 times and amassed 147 yards, including a two-yard TD for the first-ever score on the school’s newly installed turf.
VH led 14-0 after a quarter. But Dunbar chipped away throughout most of the final three quarters. The Mightymen (0-1) outscored the Cougars 14-10 in the middle frames and trailed only 24-22 after a gorgeous 31-yard TD pass from quarterback Kyler Dawson to multi-threat Jayton Dorsey in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Dorsey somehow overcame tight coverage near an end zone’s sideline to snare an over-the-shoulder catch.
VH answered with a five-play, 41-yard scoring trip. Play No. 2 in the drive almost resulted in a turnover. Flis, during his only carry Friday, fumbled the ball about 10 yards past the line scrimmage. It bounced right back toward his hands.
But he failed to secure it.
He got another friendly bounce, followed by another. Flis finally retained possession and ran some more to complete a 17-yard run.
Peterson (17 carries, 97 yards; 2-of-5 passing, 62 yards) ran the final six yards of the drive to make life somewhat comfortable (a 31-22 advantage) again for the VH.
VH junior running back Josh Harris contributed 72 yards on only five carries as the Cougars racked up 359 rushing yards and 17 first downs.
Flis also was a force defensively in the opener, sacking Dawson and sharing a sack with senior linebacker David Pierce, who had pierced Dunbar’s line for a solo sack. Drake Randall, Steven Didier and Eric Lee also recorded sacks for VH, while junior lineman Chris Lannan had two tackles-for-loss. Cougars senior DB Gabe Cotton broke up a pass and nearly came down with an interception.
And senior RB/DB Sam Maloof tipped a Dawson pass and combined with Flis for a tackle in Dunbar’s backfield.
VH limited the visitors to 89 yards rushing, 212 total.
“We made a few mistakes, yes,” said Flis. “But it was a good win.”
Bursts: Dunbar, an 8A school, qualified for the state playoffs last fall and finished with a 7-5 record. VH is a 5A school. … VH junior kicker Jeremy Cohen made all five of his PATs Friday night, and his 20-yard field goal, with two seconds left in the first half, capped an 87-yard drive. The FG upped the Cougars’ lead to 17-8. … Vernon Hills’ band played a song (“25 or 6 to 4”) from an early Chicago album at the half of Friday’s season opener. … Friday’s win swelled Vernon Hills’ winning streak to four games. Coach Tony Monken’s 2011 club won its last three games to conclude a 5-4 season. … Vernon Hills’ sophomores defeated Dunbar 26-8 before Friday’s varsity game. … The varsity game started at 8 p.m. and ended at around 11. … VH’s Harris made the best special-team tackle Friday night. … VH beat Dunbar by the basketballish score of 58-34 in last year’s opener. … Monken, in his 13th season for 13-year-old VHHS, improved to 76-48 overall with Friday’s victory.
Week 2: VH (1-0) visits Wheaton St. Francis (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at the College of DuPage. The Spartans routed host Riverside-Brookfield 57-12 in their season opener Friday night.
Flashback: St. Francis edged host VH 22-21 in the second week of the 2011 season.~