Alonzo Aldridge scores twice, grabs two interceptions to lead Clemente over Little Village. ‘He’s been our hero all year.’

By Chicago 4 Min Read

Clemente and Little Village trudged through a sloppy, uneventful and scoreless first half of football Thursday at Rockne Stadium. 

Then Wildcats junior Alonzo Aldridge came alive, taking over the game by grabbing two interceptions and scoring on a 60-yard punt return and a 40-yard run.

‘‘He’s been our hero all year,’’ Clemente coach Patrick Murray said.

The Wildcats beat Little Village 12-0 to pick up their fourth victory and stay on track to be promoted into the White Division next season.

‘‘I missed a catch, and that really, like, irritated my lifespan,’’ Aldridge said. ‘‘I just got very angry and said, ‘I don’t want to lose.’ So we had to score, and I did what I had to do.’’

Aldridge, a 5-9 running back/defensive back, has elevated his level of play in the last few games for Clemente (4-3, 3-2 Blue West).

‘‘He has four picks in the last two games and had a 90-yard kickoff-return TD last week,’’ Murray said. ‘‘I’ve been coaching him since sixth grade, and I’m glad I get to finish up with him.’’

Aldridge is receiving some college interest despite playing in the Blue, whose teams aren’t eligible for the state playoffs.

‘‘Some people are reaching out,’’ Murray said. ‘‘He’s heard from DuPage and North Central, and NIU has invited him to visit. He’ll probably stay local, but he has a year left.’’

The Wildcats’ defensive line dominated the game, holding Little Village (3-4, 1-4) to 43 yards rushing and regularly forcing quarterback Joshua Villegas out of the pocket.

Senior defensive linemen Gregory Cooper and Tyquan Williams had sacks and several tackles for losses.

‘‘We just wouldn’t give up and kept beating through it,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘We didn’t let down and didn’t back down, and the defense won the game.’’

Cooper is playing football for the first time. His presence has given Clemente a lift. The Wildcats have only 21 players.

‘‘I love defense,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘I wasn’t into football before and was more of a basketball player. But I’m aggressive, and this is an aggressive sport. I like contact.’’

Clemente has several juniors who have played together on varsity since their freshman year.

‘‘We all grew up playing together and continued it here,’’ junior running back/defensive back Jordan Butler said. ‘‘Everything works through [Aldridge]. He gives us the hype, and we play off his explosiveness.’’

Butler had eight carries for 39 yards. Wildcats quarterback Benito Chavez was 4-for-6 for 44 yards and one interception. Junior Samuel Montes had three catches for 44 yards.

‘‘We’ve been teaching them, and they are starting to get off the ball,’’ Murray said. ‘‘After Week 4 or 5, they really started tackling and working, and it has been fun to watch.’’

Only the conference winner advances to the Blue Division playoffs. Prosser already has clinched the Blue West. The Wildcats will wrap up the regular season with crossover games against Bowen and UIC Prep.

‘‘Our goal was to win conference, but we had some injuries along the way,’’ Murray said. ‘‘And some not solid football early. But we still have a shot [at being promoted to the White], and we are going to try and finish strong.’’

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