Football: Voitik passes Niles North past Oak Lawn
Niles North quarterback Billy Voitik (10) speeds through the offensive line on Friday, August 24, 2012 in Skokie, IL. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 12:24PM
SKOKIE — All touchdowns are worth six points, but Niles North quarterback Billy Voitik’s 42-yard TD pass to Nick Lakhani was worth more in momentum Friday night in the Vikings’ 33-24 nonconference football victory over Oak Lawn.
The pass came as time expired in the first half and sent the Vikings into the locker room with a 10-point advantage and a feeling that they could win head coach Mark Egofske’s first game in charge.
They did, but they had to hold off a bit of a late Spartan rally. After the contest, both teams talked about the long touchdown as a major turning point.
“I just heaved that one up for (Lakhani), hoping he would catch it. That was a great catch,” said Voitik, who was back as the Niles North signal caller after missing the final six games of last season with a concussion.
Voitik was dangerous with his arm and his feet in the Vikings’ new spread offense, also throwing touchdown passes to Edi Zamfir and JJ Myles and rushing for a score. Voitik, who was battling cramps much of the night, did throw two interceptions.
The Niles North defense struggled a little early, and again late, but was solid the rest of the game. The team got interceptions from Kris Achim and Myles.
Egofske said he was proud of the way his team limited mistakes.
“I really thought for that (first) three quarters, it was really good football,” he said. “... At one point, we only had one 5-yard penalty, until it got a little sloppy at the end.”
Oak Lawn got on the board first with an 86-yard, 12-play opening drive capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass by Bob Olsen to Connor Niemic.
Niles North capitalized on a few early-second half turnovers by the Spartans, taking a 33-10 lead early in the fourth.
But the Spartans staged a comeback, which included recovering an onside kick, a touchdown run by Ray Howard and a TD pass from Olsen to Nick Anderson.
Oak Lawn head coach Sean Lucas said there was a fair amount to like about his team’s performance.
“We did come back and punch in two scores,” Lucas said. “We’re definitely going to take some positives away, but we need to clean up the fundamentals.”