History doesn’t at all times repeat itself, but Highland Park football wishes it did.
Like in Week 3, the Giants’ opponent scored in bunches in Week 4 Thursday night. Unlike Week 3, nevertheless, Highland Park couldn’t sustain in a 64-34 loss to Conant Sept. 14 in Hoffman Estates.
“We’d like to work on some things and play harder with conference coming up,” Giants coach Anthony Kopp said. “Last week, we were great. We played great football. Tonight wasn’t our night so we have now to learn from it, move on and prepare for conference.”
Highland Park receiver Johnny Walker gains yards after the catch on Thursday.
It appeared this one was headed for a dramatic second half. Highland Park responded to a 12-0 deficit with a 21-point third quarter and held a 21-20 advantage just before halftime.
However the Cougars scored in the ultimate play of the half and that appeared to turn every little thing on its head. Conant went on to attain each time it touched the football the remainder of the best way, including with two return touchdowns (one on a kickoff, and one on an interception).
The Giants couldn’t sustain and lost some key players to injury along the best way, having to play much of the sport without starting middle linebacker Tyler Gleyzer and wide receiver and safety Nick Blumer.
In line with Kopp, Conant’s physicality was an element and Highland Park must be ready for more of that with conference play starting next week.
“It’s quite a lot of mental stuff and just ensuring we’re prepared to play a physical football game,” he said. “And that’s all of us. That’s everyone who was on our sidelines must be ready for a physical football game every week. That’s what we wish to do. I just think it wasn’t our night.”
The Giants attempted to hold in. Conant stopped Highland Park’s first two second-half possessions and rating to take a three-score lead. However the Giants began to reply.
Giants coach Anthony Kopp addresses his team after the Week 4 loss.
Twice Highland Park brought it back to inside two scores — once on a 50-yard pass from David Finfer to running back Nikko Rosenbloom and the opposite time on a 5-yards rush from Finfer. The Cougars wouldn’t let up, though, answering every time after which some.
Cougars running back Cooper Hanson gashed the Giants defense all night, ending with 290 yards (12.1 yards per carry), 4 touchdowns and three two-point conversions.
Finfer again led Highland Park, tossing for 232 yards and three TDs and rushing for 75 yards and two more scores. Rosenbloom caught two touchdowns as he totaled 108 yards receiving. Andrew Cortes (44 yards receiving) caught the opposite touchdown pass for the Giants. Cortes also had seven tackles, one for loss.
“We have now our ups and downs and at the top of the day we just didn’t come out to play,” said Rosenbloom, also a defensive back. “We have now conference coming up and our team is de facto going to come back together. I actually think we have now something here and we’re going to tug through.”
Highland Park (2-2) opens Central Suburban North play against reigning league champ Maine West (4-0) on Friday, Sept. 22, in Highland Park. Then, the Giants host Niles North (2-2) and Niles West (3-1) — a brand new CSL North foe — the next two weeks before visiting Maine East (1-3) and Vernon Hills (1-3) to complete the season.
The Giants try to return to the postseason for the primary time in six years and wish to get to 5 wins to qualify. But at the start, Kopp said, Highland Park desires to contend for a conference title.
“Tomorrow, get an actual good workout in, watch this film, learn from it — plenty to learn from,” he said. “Then, able to go from there. Start breaking down Maine West, coming up with a plan.”
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