Lane pitcher Jack McLaughlin is more worried about the football team at Simeon than the baseball team.
“I’m still focused on football,” admitted the Lane quarterback on Friday night.
De La Salle(1-0) beat Lane(0-1) in the football season opener 42-13 as junior Mikale Wilbon rushed for 331 yards and four touchdowns.
“He’s good,” stated McLaughlin who is in his second season as Lane’s starting quarterback. “There’s not a lot of people that can stop him. We tried our best, but we couldn’t stop him.”
Wilbon led the Meteors past Lane 35-7 with four touchdowns to begin the 2011 football season in Illinois.
McLaughlin is hoping to guide Lane back to the city and state football playoffs for the first time since 2008 when they lost the Prep Bowl to Loyola.
McLaughlin struggled on opening night completing only 4-of-10 passes for 16 yards with one touchdown pass. McLaughlin rushed for 50 yards on 15 carries.
“I feel like my option game has worked really well,” McLaughlin said after the loss. “We worked on it so much. We are trying to throw more passes. I don’t know what I was doing tonight. We’ll work on it.”
McLaughlin is one of the top baseball pitchers in the state. As a junior, he helped lead the Indians into the Public League championship game at UIC. Simeon beat Lane 2-1 as McLaughlin allowed eight hits and struck out five.
Lane was limited to only two hits as Simeon’s Shane Brown struck out 13 Lane hitters.
“Words can’t describe how disappointing this loss is(for our team),”McLaughlin said after the game.
McLaughlin is hoping to lead Lane to its first city baseball title since 2005.
“He’s one of the best pitchers I’ve coached in 21 years,” Lane head baseball coach Dean Stavrakas said. “He’s a great kid.”
“He’s the best pitcher in the city,” Lane pitching coach Sean Franklin said. “He’s got good control of three pitches.”
One might wonder why McLaughlin plays football when his future would be in baseball.
“I love football,” McLaughlin admitted. “I’ve been playing since I was seven (years old). I can’t give it up.”
“He’s a slim good-sized kid,” Stavrakas said. “He’s facing linemen that are 230-250 pounds. I worry about it. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Lane only trailed 21-13 at halftime on Friday night, but the offense went scoreless in the second half.
Mike Conley came off the bench to score two touchdowns for the Meteors to put the game away.
Gordon(1-0) will try to stop Wilbon and the Meteors this Thursday afternoon.
McLaughlin has one eye on his favorite baseball team-the White Sox, who currently lead the AL Central. McLaughlin believes the White Sox are having a great season because of the leadership of manager Robin Ventura and the emergence of starting pitcher Chris Sale(15-4).
“I think they are going to win the World Series,” McLaughlin predicted.
Lane will try to rebound against Glenbrook North in football.