Between Sam Modro’s return to the field, Ben Ethridge’s presence and Colton Emmerich’s continued sack attack, emotion as well as skill played a key role in Deerfield High School’s 62-40 football victory at Maine West Friday.
The Warriors caught fire against Maine West scoring 62 points while rolling up 537 yards of offense—374 on the ground and163 through the air. Emmerich, Ethridge and Modro helped ignite the flame.
After a trip to the hospital by ambulance because of an injury sustained Sept. 27 that delayed the game against Highland Park for 20 minutes, Modro returned to practice Tuesday and was eased into the routine on offense only heading into Friday’s game.
“He played with a burning passion,” Coach Steve Winiecki said. “He showed how much he loves football and how important it is to him.”
Modro responded by carrying the ball for 142 yards and a touchdown as well as catching the only two completed passes thrown by quarterback Anthony Ranallo for 163 yards and two more touchdowns for 305 yards of total offense.
“We were coming together as a team all week (in practice),” Modro said. “I hope getting back in the lineup and in the swing of things was helpful to the team.”
Modro drew some of his own inspiration from Ethridge, one of the team captains and the starting quarterback who was also hurt against Highland Park. His action was very limited Friday as Ranallo stepped in with two touchdown passes totaling 163 yards and 88 more on the ground. Ethridge was still on the field with helmet on.
“It’s huge to see one of our leaders man up and do what he could do,” Modro said. “It was satisfying to see one of my good friends back on the field.” Modro’s teammates could have said the same thing about him.
While the offense was having a day like Winiecki has never seen in his coaching career, Emmerich was having another outstanding game on defense with four sacks and a tackle for loss. He also dropped the quarterback three times Oct. 5 against Glenbrook North and twice against Highland Park. That spirited play helped motivate the Warriors as well.
“Seeing that (the sacks) really helps our team get to a new level,” Modro said. “It just keeps us going up and up and up.
Winiecki thinks Emmerich is the best defensive player in the Central Suburban League and is not afraid to say so. “I don’t know of anyone else who makes such an impact in a game,” Winiecki said.
Emmerich also knows something about upending opponents. He is a member of the Warrior wrestling who placed fifth in last year’s Sectional Meet barely missing a berth in the State Meet.
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