Football survives late score from Whitney Young, beat Dolphins 24-15

Win keeps undefeated season alive as Lane advances to 5-0


Alex Burstein

Lane’s captains (#55 James Wynne, #81 Casey Joyce, #9 Yiannis Katsogridakis and #24 Finn Merrill) walk to the coin toss before Lane’s matchup with Whitney Young.

By Alex Burstein, Editor-in-Chief

The Lane Tech Football revenge tour continues.

Last year, it was a low-scoring 10-8 loss for Lane Tech to the Whitney Young Dolphins. But Saturday morning at Winnemac Stadium, Lane defeated Young 24-15, the third team Lane lost to last year that they have now beaten in the 2022 season. 

It’s a very exciting time for Lane Tech Football,” Head Coach Dedrick Dewalt said after the victory. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been this successful.”

It took a late field goal and a last-minute interception, but Lane (5-0, 2-0 Chicago Public – Red North) was able to keep their undefeated season going in the victory over the Dolphins (1-4, 0-2) on Sept. 24.

“We did just enough to win,” Dewalt said. “But we just have to be better.”

While late scoring from the Dolphins kept the game close, for the first half of play, Lane had all of the momentum.

After forcing a turnover on downs on Young’s first drive of the day, Lane would march down the field. On their first play of the day in the red zone, senior two-way player Yiannis Katsogridakis would run 20 yards, breaking through Young’s linebackers and cutting towards Lane sideline before finding the endzone to give Lane an early 7-0 lead with 2:00 to go in the first.

The Dolphins would get the score back even just three minutes later. After Lane botched a punt return, the Dolphins got the ball and soon, Young’s junior quarterback Bennett Neumann would throw 21 yards in the air to junior Harrysson Ngassa at the goal line, whose only catch of the day would go for a touchdown.

But then came Katsogridakis again. After both offenses quieted down, Lane would strike one more time in the second half, as Katsogridakis went five yards up the middle for his second score with 1:02 to go in the half. Lane took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.

Katsogridakis credited his early scores largely in part to Lane’s offensive line, which has been strong all year for the Champions.

It feels great,” Katsogridakis said. “It’s just an amazing feeling with my big boys up front leading the way for me to get in every time.”

Katsogridakis, who has been a staple of the Lane Tech offense all year long, would finish the game with 17 carries for 82 yards. While Lane had strong performances out of their big three of Katsogridakis, Casey Joyce (83 yards from scrimmage) and Finn Merrill (43 yards from scrimmage), Lane’s offense diversified slightly during their matchup with Young.

Sophomore cornerback Jacobi Thurmond (two carries), who has been strong on defense all year for Lane, and junior Wesley Nunez (one reception, 38 yards), both recorded positive yardage in the win.

“We added some more speed so we could now throw the ball downfield, and Jacobi gives us a home run threat in the backfield,” Dewalt said. “So, we just did that to add a change of pace and add a little bit more speed to the offense as well.”

But it was the usual stars for Lane Tech who clinched Lane’s fifth victory of the year. 

After a scoreless third quarter, Merrill punched in a four-yard rushing touchdown with 9:07 to go in the game to put Lane up 21-7, their first two-possession lead of the day.

The Dolphins weren’t done yet. In the quickest drive of the day, the Dolphins drove 65 yards in just 83 seconds, capping off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to junior captain Anthony Hood. After a two-point conversion completed to senior Aleksander Dale, Lane’s lead had suddenly shrunk to six points.

“I think we just need to condition more,” Katsogridakis said. “We’ve got like eight guys going both ways. If we condition a little harder, every week a little harder. We’re getting better at it. We’ll be able to close out games harder.”

After the defense let in a late touchdown, Lane’s senior kicker Mugdim Kreho hit a 36-yard field goal for Lane to put the Champions up 9, and an interception on the ensuing drive by Merrill near the Lane Tech goal line would allow Lane quarterback Mark Seward to kneel the ball twice to finish out the win.

Even with the win, Dewalt still sees the need for improvement with Lane.

We’re not going to out-talent teams and throw the ball around like some of these other teams do,” Dewalt said. “So, we’ve got to play perfection football, we’ve got to be perfect in order for us to win. And today we didn’t play as well as I thought we should have played.”

The victory puts Lane now just one win away from automatic state playoff qualification, which they will try to get next Saturday, Oct. 1, at Lane Stadium against Clark. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m., after Lane Stadium’s field officially gets dedicated to Lane Alum Fritz Pollard during an 11 a.m. ceremony.