Seneca Smith’s rugged running and defense lead TF South to its first win of the season

By Chicago 4 Min Read

TF South lost its first four games of the season. The Red Wolves couldn’t catch a break and didn’t play a home game. Last week’s loss to rival TF North meant they likely had to win every game the rest of the way to make the playoffs.

The players stayed together through the rough stretch. Quarterback Nick Ford said they kept things positive in the team’s group text chat. 

“It was hard,” Ford said. “We were kind of doubting ourselves. But we came into this game buying into what the coaches were saying. We always believed in them.”

Ford threw his first touchdown pass of the season and senior running back/linebacker Seneca Smith rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns in TF South’s 19-14 victory against Bremen on Thursday in Midlothian. 

“That was [Smith’s] best game of the year,” Red Wolves coach Bob Padjen said. “He’s playing probably 120 plays. He came out once when his helmet came off and on a punt return. He’s our guy and he’s in shape. He’s a great young man.”

Smith’s nine-yard TD run in the second quarter opened the scoring. His one-yard TD run with 4:43 left in the third quarter put TF South (1-4, 1-2 South Suburban Blue) ahead 19-7. 

“I just play my role hard,” Smith said. “Making plays is very important. We came out and executed.”

Bremen (3-2, 1-1) pulled within five points on Noah Vaughn’s one-yard scoring run with 14 seconds left in the third quarter. The fourth was scoreless. 

Ford’s TD pass was a 19-yarder to Christian Streeter, who splits time with him at quarterback. 

“I’m proud of the team,” Streeter said. “We worked this out. Sometimes I got mad and let the team down but I’ve learned my lesson and I’m working on that.”

Streeter had 16 carries for 79 yards. Ford was 2-for-3 for 32 yards. The Red Wolves only threw six passes, which is more than usual. 

“We talked about giving them different looks so they don’t just crop the box,” Padjen said. “We can run more things. We’re maturing. We have a lot of juniors on offense.”

TF South’s field is being renovated. They will play a sixth consecutive road game next week at Tinley Park and then open the new field Week 7 against Hillcrest.

“Our field is going to be beautiful,” Padjen said. “The kids see the progress and they can’t wait. It’s pretty tough but we are road warriors.”

Vaughn was 6-for-12 for 82 yards and one TD, a 34-yard pass to London Blackmon. Sophomore Nehemiah Rogers had nine carries for 52 yards for the Braves. 

“We had to persevere and couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Padjen said. “We still had five games and they were all winnable games. We sold them on it and they bought in.”

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