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11/3/12 Conant Tim Manczko is gang tacked by Maine South's defense during the 2nd round Class 8A playoff game in Park Ridge on Saturday, November 3, 2012. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Maine South coach Dave Inserra got after Noah Meyer at halftime of the team’s game against Lane in the opener of the playoffs.
The senior linebacker took the treatment in style. Meyer seems like a person who would smile after receiving a parking ticket.
“I yelled at him, but I told him I didn’t want to yell at him,” Inserra laughed. “He’s such a great kid to coach. He’s the heart and soul of our defense, and all the players look to Noah.”
Meyer, the CSL South’s co-defensive player of the year, made his 21st consecutive start Saturday in the No. 3-ranked Hawks’ 27-13 win over Conant in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs.
Meyer, who might be more suited waiting for the next wave than sack, isn’t like most linebackers.
“He’s so laid back,” Inserra said of the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder. “I get on him to get fired up, but that’s the way he is.”
Make no mistake. A fire burns inside of Meyer, even if he doesn’t show the flame.
“We needed that win (Saturday),” he said. “We had a rough first half. We didn’t have it together. We needed to execute better, and we did. Once we got our stuff together, we were able to get the win.”
Meyer was on the field at this time last season when the Hawks lost to Stevenson in the second round, ending Maine South’s run of three consecutive state championships. Even though the defeat was hard to take, he knew he had one more year.
“But it’s a whole new thing when you’re a senior,” he said. “Any game now could be your last. That’s indescribable.
“I have a whole different state of mind this year. We had to pick it up in the second half (Saturday). If we lost, I would never live that down.”
Maine South (11-0) and Conant were tied 7-all at the break before the Hawks used three interceptions in the second half to put the game away. Meyer came into the game with two picks himself and 17 tackles for loss.
Maine South welcomes No. 9 Glenbard North to Park Ridge for a 1 p.m. game Saturday.
After losing their first game of the season by one point to Batavia, the DVC champion Panthers have run off 10 victories in a row.
Under coach Ryan Wilkens, Glenbard North has advanced to the semifinals three times since 2007. The Panthers finished second in the Class 8A state tournament to conference rival Naperville North in 2007.
This is the first time since 2009 the Hawks are undefeated this late in the season.