Varsity Football

By Bob Kopp


Driving back early Friday from my upper-octogenarian parents in NE Pennsylvania, I wondered if it would be worth the stress of battling Labor Day weekend road warriors and enduring always-exasperating Chicago traffic to catch the cross-town-rival action at Milt Brown Stadium.


With packed bleachers on both sides of the stadium and fans lining the fenced field two-deep in many spots, Belvidere humbled the hosts with a convincing 34-24 win over North.

Shortly after BHS partisans unfurled a “Belvidere – Bring the Pain” banner, three-sport-all-star senior captain Austin Revolinski directed a bold attack by land and air to pirate a victory that was not expected by pre-season prognosticators hailing North as the major threat to Auburn’s NIC-10 supremacy.

After the baby Bucs held on for a 19-13 win in the sophomore game highlighted by strong performances by sophomores Austin Hausen at quarterback and running backs Joseph Dewayne and Michael Kurtenbach along with freshman wide-out Isaiah Rhodes, Revolinski returned to the top of the class of conference signal-callers by turning Thunder blue as he ran for 181 yards, passed for 144 yards, bolted and bullied for four touchdown runs (49, 7, 28, and 4 yards), and connected with elusive and Buc-tough junior Phil Kolk for a 15-yarder to pay-dirt.

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Leading 28-17 at intermission, Belvidere withstood several spirited attempts by North that closed the gap 28-24 before Revolinski powered into the end zone from four yards behind a rapidly developing offensive line to complete the evening’s 34-24 final tally.

North senior quarterback Bennett O’Connell, senior running back Jason Rodgers, junior tight end Kenneth Epperson, and sophomore kicker Tanner Mateus, kept knowledgeable fans glued to their seats until the final minute of the game with their blue chip efficiency, explosiveness, and never-say-die determination despite more than half of their fans hitting the exits with over five minutes left on the clock.

Smarting from their disappointing 36-12 loss to Boylan in the season opener, Belvidere’s defense asserted itself behind solid secondary play, toughness in the trenches, and sparkling performances by senior Jacob Rodriguez and junior Dalton Vaupel.

Pesky Rodriguez was all over the field with a late sack and two fumble recoveries.

Vaupel, emerging as one of the conference’s premier linebackers, shut down several North attempts to drill the hole and ran down the speedy and shifty O’Connell for too big sacks and yardage losses at critical moments in the contest.

Belvidere and North join Auburn, Boylan, Harlem, and Hononegah as legitimate contenders in 2016 after the Knight’s surprising 14-7 loss to the Titans.

Action for the local favorites continues on Friday with the Bucs hosting Jefferson and North at Auburn.

Varsity action follows sophomore action kicking off at 5 p.m.

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