St. Charles East football coach Mike Fields said his bend-but-don't-break defense has broke a bit this season.
Friday night certainly was an exception.
The Saints forced 7 turnovers and shut out Elgin, 10-0, in Upstate Eight Conference River Division play at Memorial Field.
"Great defense, absolutely outstanding defense," Fields said. "I was so proud of them to get a shutout."
The Maroons (1-7, 0-6) had 231 yards offense, 61 more than the Saints, but 5 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles and 4 possessions ending on downs doomed Elgin.
East sophomore Brannon Berry had 2 first-half interceptions as the teams played a scoreless first half.
"Those kind of came as playing the game. The main objective for me was (not allowing) no one behind me," Berry said. "The ball kind of flew toward me."
The Saints (2-7, 2-4) had only 67 yards of offense in the first half. They took the opening possession of the second half 75 yards on five plays for the game's only touchdown. The big play was a 54-yard pass from Charlie Fisher to Jake Mazanke down to the Maroons' 8-yard line. Fisher ran in on the next play as STC East took a 7-0 lead.
Danny Muzzalupo added a 22-yard field goal with 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
"We did enough tonight. It wasn't pretty," Fields said. "It's a team effort. Today was the epitome of that."
Tim Leibforth, Mazanke and Jake Sheley had second-half interceptions for the Saints.
Fisher only completed 3 of 16 passes as East also struggled to move the ball. Anthony Sciarrino had 56 yards rushing on 17 carries. Sciarrino was filling in for starting running back Carter Reading, who injured his hamstring in warm-ups.
Elgin's best drive came at the end of the first quarter and into the second. The Maroons got down to the Saints' 15-yard line, but a lost fumble ended the drive.
Dennis Moore had 92 yards rushing on 23 carries for the Maroons despite playing with a broken left hand.
"We'd moved it and then sputtered," Elgin coach Dave Bierman said. "Just an inconsistency of play. That's been an Achilles heel all season."