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Oak Forest's Nick Ciufia dives over a Tinley Park defender to score a touchdown. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
With its South Suburban Blue title hopes on the line, Oak Forest had plenty of motivation Friday night.
The fact that the Bengals had revenge on their mind against rival Tinley Park didn’t hurt, either.
Oak Forest rolled to a 36-0 halftime lead and never let the injury-depleted Titans offense enter the red zone in a 42-0 romp in Oak Forest.
“Coming back from last year when we lost to them, this was great,” said Bengals running back Ben Santiago, who had 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. “Last year, we weren’t close to the conference title. It’s exciting to go into the last game knowing we have a chance.”
The Bengals (7-1, 4-1) can share the conference crown with a win over T.F. South next week.
Tinley Park (4-4, 2-3) needs a win over Hillcrest to qualify for the playoffs.
Santiago, Tom Zale (5 carries, 72 yards), Nick Ciufia (5 carries, 55 yards) and Tyler Usterbowski (4 carries, 41 yards) all had big first-half runs for Oak Forest.
Zale and Ciufia split time at quarterback, with Zale completing five of nine passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bengals scored on their first four possessions as Santiago dashed 20 yards to pay dirt, Kyle Hullinger scored on an 11-yard run, Zale connected with Hullinger for a 29-yard TD, and Ciufia ran five yards for a score to make it 26-0 before the second quarter was halfway over.
Corey Brent returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and Blake Waller hit a 24-yard field goal before the break. Zale and Usterbowski hooked up for a 67-yard touchdown pass to close the scoring early in the third.
The Oak Forest defense held the Titans to 88 yards of offense and got two interceptions from Kyle Czeszewski.
“We came out on Senior Night and just wanted to shut them down,” Czeszewski said.
Tinley Park played without injured quarterback Christian Plummer.
Kevin Jackson had an interception and Derek Schultz a fumble recovery for the Titans.