Glenbard North senior Phil Jackson and the Panthers running game sizzled Friday night.
Jackson rushed for 109 yards and 1 touchdown, quarterback Brian Murphy added 79 yards of his own and junior Mario Rodriguez punched in 3 touchdowns -- one on a punt return -- as the host Panthers rolled Oak Park-River Forest 40-24 in nonconference action. Jackson's younger brother Justin rushed for 35 yards and a touchdown as well.
"We share the load, it's what we do," Jackson said. "I ran, I got tired, but then Mario and my brother came in and finish it off."
Both teams traded possessions on their initial drive. The Panthers threw incomplete on a fourth and 15 but recovered the ball quickly as the Huskies coughed up the ball at their own 36-yard line. The Panthers failed to convert on their next drive, punting away, and pinning the Huskies deep on their own 2-yard line. The Huskies returned with a punt and the Panthers went to work, letting their running game take over.
"I thought they did a pretty good job of stopping our run game," Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens said. "Brian did a nice job of running the option for us, and in the second half I thought we came out and did a lot better."
Murphy hit senior receiver Solomon Oquendo with a 37-yard strike that gave Glenbard North an early 6-0 lead. After a defensive stand Jackson ripped off a 67-yard scamper down the right sideline before being tripped up at the Huskies 3. He capped off the drive with a 3-yard run to put the Panthers ahead 12-0.
The Panthers (1-0) continued the offensive onslaught when Rodriguez tore down the field for a 58-yard punt return, giving Glenbard North a 20-0 cushion. Murphy responded on the Panthers' final drive of the half, using two option runs to pick up 77 yards on his own. The second dash was a 33-yard touchdown run, giving the Panthers a comfortable 26-0 halftime lead.
The Huskies (0-1) broke the shutout bid with a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Phelan to receiver Ryan Nelson. The Panthers answered back with a 9-yard touchdown run from Rodriguez. Rodriguez would add another rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.