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S-cubed approach helps Grant carve up VH
By Bill McLean | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 10/1/2011 1:39 AM

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Strip (the ball).



Or, "S-cubed," as Grant football assistant coach Tom Evans calls it.

Grant senior defensive tackle Nick Jones did all of the above, on one play, early in the third quarter of Grant's 26-6 defeat of host Vernon Hills on Friday night.

The score before the special triple was 0-0.

"I've wanted to do that for 12 years," said Jones, who recovered another fumble later in the quarter and had 2 sacks in the North Suburban Conference Prairie division game.

"Twelve years - ever since I was little."

He's big now: 6-foot-3, 220-pound big.

And his substantial play he returned the fumble 35 yards for a touchdown was the game-turner Friday night.

"Right after I picked the ball up," he added, "it felt like I was dreaming. Then it felt like I was running in slow motion."

Grant (4-2, 3-1) scored two more TDs in the third quarter and swelled the lead to 26-0 at 5:25 of the fourth quarter.

VH (2-4, 1-3), which committed 4 of its 7 turnovers in the third quarter, got on the board when Cougars senior quarterback Steve Nelson hit classmate Jarrett Wood for a 3-yard TD.

"We picked a good night to play great football," said Bulldogs coach Kurt Rous, whose club lost 20-0 to VH in Week 7 last fall. "Nick Jones - I'm glad he did what he did tonight; he's big, physical."

Friday night's first half was humdrum, vanilla.

Each team coughed up the ball once. VH rushed for 18 yards and passed for 28.

Only Grant junior running back Kyle Whitman stood out, gaining 63 yards on 10 carries before the break.

Jones started to turn the bland game into a grand one for Grant in a hurry, executing that "S-cubed" sequence in the first 12 seconds of the second half.

"It got us going - got all of us going," Jones said.

Whitman finished with 109 rushing yards, on 21 carries, and scored a TD from 1 yard out late in the third quarter. Bulldogs senior quarterback Alejandro Villa (22 rushes, 90 yards), wearing No. 6, ran for a 6-yard TD the victors' final tally of the night.

Sophomore running back Jonathon Wells (9-31) scored Grant's other 6 points, capping a 70-yard trip after Jones' stalemate-breaking TD. Wells stretched, near the 1, to break the goal-line plane on his 7-yard TD run.

Vernon Hills' first three losses this fall were by a combined 5 points.

"It will take our whole team, coming together, to recover from this," said VH senior wideout Colin Krippinger. "We'll step up, all of us will.

"Grant," he added, "made plays tonight; we didn't."