CHICAGO – Sycamore football coach Joe Ryan wasn’t going to let his team have wandering eyes leading up to the team’s matchup with North Lawndale on Saturday night.
Ryan prepared his team as he always does knowing what awaits the Spartans in Week 3 of his teams’ season.
With a meeting looming Friday with DeKalb at Northern Illinois University, Sycamore took care of business against North Lawndale with an easy 40-7 win at Lane Stadium in Chicago.
“We don’t change the way we prepare. We won’t change next week and we won’t change the week after that,” Ryan said. “We had a really good week of practice. We talk about getting better. You could win a game like this and not get better. I felt like we won and got better tonight.”
Austin Culton’s 3-yard touchdown run capped off a seven-play, 65-yard opening drive for Sycamore. The run gave the Spartans a 7-0 lead and was part of a two-touchdown, 122-yard rushing performance for Culton.
“It was good to get our running game going, especially after last week,” Culton said. “Obviously next week is what we’re looking for, but you can never underestimate anyone. We came ready to play [Saturday] and everyone was focused. It felt great to see the grass and open lanes.”
Culton had glowing remarks for his offensive line that had a tough season opener against Lincoln-Way West. The front-four helped the Spartans rush for 325 yards Saturday night.
“Obviously the line did great tonight, give them a lot of credit – we wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” Culton said. “I think it was just great for the confidence. Now we have confidence in the ground game. I think if we didn’t do this tonight, we might not feel good going into next week.”
A running game opening up lanes up front allowed Ryan to pick his spots with quarterback Devin Mottet. Two of Mottet’s three completions went for touchdowns to Ben Niemann, including a 73-yard screen pass that put the Spartans up 14-0 with 5:20 left in the first quarter.
“The touchdown was a screen right, as the line released and blocked up field for me,” Niemann said. “I was fortunate to take it all of the way. You can never look past anyone – people can sneak up on you at any time. We prepared like we always do.”
Niemann’s other touchdown grab put Sycamore up 34-0 early in the third quarter. Sycamore will hope that its 433 yards of total offense carry over into the big game against DeKalb at Huskie Stadium.
“NIU is always something we look forward to with DeKalb being one of our rivals,” Niemann said. “We get hyped for that and the stands are full. It’s an exciting atmosphere and something we’re definitely looking forward to.”