Sycamore fends off Mason, clinches playoff berth

After another horrific loss setting the team back to a 2-4 record, the SHS football team was on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. Three of their four losses were by one possession.

Yet when the going got tough, the jeopardy of this team’s future took a turn for the best. They won three straight games by a margin of 83 points. All they had to do was knock off Mason in week ten. Win and they were in.

And that they did. After a sluggish start, the Aves took a 10-3 lead, but the Comets eventually tied it. Then, with 11 minutes to go, SHS regained the lead on a trick-play that went for a long touchdown. The Aviator defense would prevail to secure the 17-10 victory and playoff clincher.

The catalyst of the trick play that won it for the Aves was receiver Jonathan Malek, 11. The junior wideout caught a pitch in the backfield before launching a deep pass to Myron Williams, 11, in the end zone.

“It feels great having the opportunity to be in that position that puts your team ahead in a game of that intensity. It begins with the play calling and everything else relies on everyone’s execution,” said Malek.

But with plenty of time left on the clock, the Aves had to hold on to their lead. The Comets went driving but threw an interception to defensive back Khalis Hicks, 11, for the second time of the night. The Aves won their fourth straight game to march into the playoffs.

“We played much better defense throughout the season to improve as a team,” said head coach Scott Dattilo.

In the first round of the playoffs, SHS will take on the Lebanon Warriors (7-3) at the Lebanon Junior High School (160 Miller Road) this Fri., Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors have a potent offense with four senior receivers that have twenty or more catches this year.

“We need to continue to focus on ourselves and pay attention to detail. From a coaching standpoint, our strategy will not change,” said Dattilo when asked about focus points for the playoffs.