The Proviso East High School varsity football team did what it hasn’t done in five years: win a game on homecoming day. The Pirates capped off a day of celebrations to beat the Morton Mustangs 32-21 on Sept. 22.

Hours before the victory, the high school hosted its 107th homecoming parade, which proceeded east along Madison Street, from Circle Avenue in Forest Park, all the way past the high school to 9th Avenue before looping back along Washington Boulevard toward the school.

The varsity Pirates scored in the first quarter with quarterback James Hobson rushing for a touchdown, the first of three rushing touchdowns for him. After a successful two-point conversion, the Pirates went up 8-0.

Proviso East controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, but a series of muffed and fumbled kick returns and untimely penalties kept the Mustangs close.

In the second quarter, Morton quarterback Allen Miramontes completed a 30-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver on a blown coverage to make the score 8-7. 

During the half-time show, the Proviso East High School marching Band performed a cancer tribute show, releasing balloons in memory of those affected by cancer and presenting a photo poster of Coach Tiffany Battle, who lost her fight to cancer this summer.

In the second half, the Mustangs pulled away, notching a 14-7 lead, until Hobson ran 60 yards down the sideline to tie the game.

Although the Mustangs reclaimed the lead afterward, East’s defense was able to penetrate deep into the Mustangs’ backfield with sacks and forced turnovers, wearing their opponents down as the fourth quarter approached.

The Pirates rushed against the fatigued Mustang defense for huge chunks of yardage.  Running back Devin Lee rushed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and Hobson added a third rushing touchdown as the Pirates ran off to victory and a 2-3 record.

Oliver Speller, the first-year varsity football head coach, attributed the team’s improvement this year on his philosophy of checks and balances, in addition to team-building activities.

“We have many talented student-athletes at District 209 and I am really proud of the seniors who have stepped up in leading the way for our team,” he said.

“The team has engaged in many team building activities on and off the field,” Speller added. “This summer we even took a trip to a museum. For me, it’s important to build a sense of family among my players,” said Coach Speller.”

Proviso High Schools District 209