Red Grange Bowl showcases Chaps in blowout

Carlos Peterson, Sports Editor

There was a buzz Saturday afternoon in Glen Ellyn where College of DuPage was host to the annual Red Grange Bowl, a game dedicated to Harold Edward “Red” Grange, a Wheaton native, who is a former Illini legend. The community came out in full force bringing in the largest crowd of the year as the Chaps took on Mesabi Range for the much anticipated event for the community.

Quarterback Asher O’Hara understood the mindset needed for a game like that.

“Going into the game I knew this was huge for my teammates, especially the sophomores, who are moving on after this year,” O’Hara said. “I knew I had to play all out to win this game.”

Although the atmosphere in the stadium was hot, the offense’s start was not. The Chaps opened the game with a three-and-out. Jaylan Wilkerson of Mesabi Range knocked down the first pass from scrimmage. The lack of execution continued over the next two plays.

While the offense couldn’t get anything going, the defense dug its heels in and got after it. A fierce pass rush came to play as the Mesabi quarterback had very little time to throw. The Chaps’ Joseph Marshall had an easy interception dropped created by immediate pressure on the Mesabi quarterback.

Once the Chaps offense was able to get the ball back, they took full advantage, getting consecutive first downs for the first time in the game. A play that seemed lost to a sack ended in spectacular fashion as quarterback Asher O’Hara broke from a muddy pocket to deliver a rainbow pass down the sideline. A circus play was made by receiver Alex Daubon, as he channeled his inner Mario Manningham for a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab. The offense was able to put an exclamation point on the drive with a touchdown run from O’Hara on a broken play, putting the Chaps up 7-0 with 3:51 left in the first quarter.

As the offense was able to get its footing, the defense continued to assert its dominance. Shannon Hall was a mainstay in the Mesabi backfield tallying two tackles for losses in the first quarter. Mesabi was grasping for anything to jump start their stagnant offense, but the Chaparral defense was playing as ferociously as they had all season. The Chaps closed out the first quarter with a touchdown pass from O’Hara to Ray Vohasek in a nicely designed bootleg that put the Chaps up 14-0.

The Mesabi offense finally found some production by allowing their quarterback to scramble and create some plays. Despite the frustration of not being able to keep the opposing quarterback in the pocket, the DuPage defense kept the offense from creating any real threat. The culmination of it all came when the defense was able to get pressure and the Mesabi quarterback fumbled the ball as he threw The defense fell on the ball and created great field position.

O’Hara led an attack that was humming. Alex Daubon then bested his previous catch of the year with an outstanding one-handed touchdown catch over a Mesabi corner that excited an already emotional crowd.

The next drive was much of the same. O’Hara hit Xavier Johnson with a 26-yard quick screen followed by O’Hara’s second rushing touchdown of the game. O’Hara was impressed with the production.

“As the plays kept rolling, I just didn’t think that we could be stopped,” he said. “We had too many weapons on offense. The line got going, and we just had everything rolling.”

The Chaparrals capped off an unbelievable 2017 campaign with a 35-0 whopping of Mesabi Range. After so much hype going into the game the Chaps captured the Red Grange trophy for the second consecutive year. With Head Coach Matt Foster leading the team, the Chaps closed out the season with a 7-3 record.