Ten months have passed since the Hoffman Estates football team lost to Benet Academy in the first round of the 2016 Class 7A playoffs.
It's a game the team felt they should have won, and it has only fueled the fire for the group to come back bigger and better than ever.
"We knew in our hearts that we should have beat them," said senior wide receiver, Jaylan Alexander. "And we've been working since then for this game."
The hard work has paid off.
Hoffman Estates took all of its lingering frustration out on visiting Elk Grove on Friday, Aug.25th, at Garber Stadium, winning a lopsided contest, 42-0.
The Grenadiers had no answer for the Hawks relentless aerial attack, led by the duo of senior quarterback, Austin Coalson and Purdue-bound senior wide receiver, Jaylan Alexander (5 catches, 106 yards, 2 TDs). Coalson connected with Alexander on a pair of scoring strikes, the first from 25 yards out with under a minute to play in the first quarter to give the Hawks a 14-0 lead. That was followed by a 57-yard pitch and catch midway through the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-0 at the half.
"With us, it's pick your poison," said Coalson. "If you stop one of our guys, another is going to hurt you."
The bloodletting did not cease in the third as senior ballhawk, Trevon Hall made a leaping interception to set up Coalson at the Elk Grove 40. Coalson wasted no time as he hit senior wide receiver Will Nune in stride for a 24-yard strike three plays later to increase the Hawks advantage to 28-0.
Coalson (14-for-22, 236 yards, 3 TDs) barely had time to get water on the sideline before Hoffman Estates senior defensive end Ben Cotton set the Orange and Blue up at the Grens' 23 by partially blocking a punt a minute later.
The Hawks' defense showed shades of Seattle's "Legion of Boom" all night long with senior linebacker Jimmy Burks delivering some bone-jarring licks and senior defensive end Shawn Brown bombarding the Elk Grove backfield. It surely was not the start Grens first-year head coach Miles Osei had in mind.
"There were individuals on the team that played well and were fighting the whole game,"said Osei. "What we need is more consistency as playing as a team."
On the other side of the ball, it was just another day at the office for Hawks first-year head coach, Tim Heyse.
"There were no jitters tonight," said Heyse. "When you got 20 seniors starting for you, you feel pretty comfortable."
Hoffman Estates will host Hersey next week at 7:30 p.m. and will see a familiar face stalking the opposite sideline - former Hawks head coach, Mike Donatucci. Donatucci stepped down after the 2016 campaign and is the new defensive coordinator for the Huskies.