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Oswego parlayed a power running game led by Mikeel Stewart and a stout defense to cruise past host Plainfield East 42-7 in Southwest Prairie Conference action Friday night.
Oswego (5-1, 4-0) went to Stewart early and often as the 6-foot, 205-pound senior back finished with 30 carries for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
“Oswego is a good team and 5-1 for a reason,” Plainfield East coach Mike Romeli said. “Our kids played hard and played tough but Oswego is just a darn good team.”
The Panthers also had contributions from running back Bryce Holm (13 carries, 65 yards, TD) and wideout Jack Kwiatkowski (4 catches, 28 yards, TD). Running back Cullen Rompa (9 carries, 47 yards) led Plainfield East (1-5, 1-3).
“Our defense knows that they can play better than what they showed last week, and so we tightened the screws and really homed in on sticking to our game plan,” Oswego coach Brian Cooney said.
Oswego limited the Bengals to just 145 yards of total offense. In comparison, the Panthers amassed 426 yards of total offense led in part by by Stewart’s efforts.
“For some reason we always come out slow, but coach Cooney gave us a pep talk and we picked it up tonight,” Stewart said. “I enjoy being the workhorse and I love working for my team.”
Although Oswego intercepted Bengals quarterback Jacob Kotopka on the very first play of the game, the first quarter ended in a scoreless tie. Stewart and the Panthers turned things up a notch after that as he scored on an 18-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 11:53 left in the first half.
Plainfield East quickly answered back as Aris Irizarry returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to pull even at 7-7.
Stewart scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on the Panthers’ next possession and extend to a 14-7 lead with 8:13 remaining. Holm then made it 21-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:17 until half.
Oswego scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions in the second half to put the game out of reach.