For the second consecutive week, the Lions were faced with the task of beating another undefeated conference foe. And this one was a newcomer. After taking down Westmont at Homecoming, Lisle was slated to travel to Elmwood Park, a team with some size, speed, and motivation to show the conference that they’re for real. In pre-season interviews, the head coaches from NEC foes Lemont and Westmont pointed to this game as the probable conference championship clash. If someone was going to stop The Streak in the Fall of ’79 it would be Elmwood Park, a tough road game for the Lions. A big crowd turned out in Elmwood Park to see their Tigers take down their new conference’s perennial power.
Be careful what you wish for.
It didn’t take long for the Navy and White to get on the board. With the ball on their own 22 yard line, quarterback Mark Krope, executed a perfect fake to the big fullback Ken England, then sent an option pitch to Tony Ferrandino. Like he had all year, the speedy senior out-raced the entire Elmwood defense, taking it 78 yards for the touchdown behind a terrific lead block from Mike Kitcoff. The visitors had jumped on the home team 6-0, where it stayed after the conversion attempt failed. But the Tigers roared right back by completing a 39 yard touchdown strike to tie the score. Ross Giesler and Curt Johnson blew up the conversion attempt and the first quarter ended 6-6. Tony Ferrandino made sure it didn’t stay that way for long as he broke a tackle and followed a key block from Andy Swift, who took out two defenders, for a 47 yard touchdown run and quickly the score was unknotted. Krope kept the ball and pushed into the end zone for the two point conversion. The Lions 14-6 lead was threatened late in the first half when the Tigers drove the ball deep into Lisle territory. But Curt Willeford picked off a pass at his own two yard line and brought it back out to the 17.
Rather than take a knee, Lisle opted to try and add to their lead. A Kitcoff run, and a Dave Brodess to Swift connection, brought the ball to the Tigers 36. With 13 seconds left in the half, Brodess lined up for what would be a 53 yard field goal. Not only was it good….it was State-Record good. Brodess had booted the longest field goal in IHSA history, sending the visitors to the locker room with a 17-6 lead.
Both teams exchanged punts throughout the third quarter and with two minutes gone in the fourth, Lisle began a clock-grinding drive that ate up a chunk of time before Krope found Marty Sauer wide open in the end zone for a nine yard TD pass. Brodess’ PAT moved the score to its final, 24-6. A huge win for the Lions. While Lisle’s offense made the headlines with Brodess’ record-setter and Ferrandino’s 180 yard performance, the defense was as powerful as ever. Pete Sinnick recorded three sacks and Johnson added 11 tackles on the day to lead the defense. Elmwood Park averaged 43 points per game coming into the contest, but could only manage one TD on the day. Coach Barney Neahaus cited the play of standouts Sinnick, Johnson, Kitcoff, Willeford, Brodess, Giesler, Steve Looft, Jim Shamet, and Carl Csukor as stalwarts in the effort, especially since a number of them also play full time on offense.
An exhausted and victorious Navy and White squad stared down a new rival, on their own turf, and came away with one more giant step toward a sixth consecutive crown. The Streak was now 56 games long and the Lions were in the catbird seat.
With the NEC changing dramatically, it left schedule-makers in a quandary for filling a 9-game regular season docket for ’79. The answer was to have three teams play each other twice in the same season. With two games to go in the NEC campaign, Lisle found itself facing the Lemont Injuns for the second time in five weeks. Having dispatched the Injuns in week three, 26-0, the Lions were in a great position to win round two versus them, then Minooka to close out the season………..