Schaumburg senior Juwaan Richard literally did it all Friday night in a season opening 27-14 nonconference football win over visiting New Trier at Gary Scholz Stadium.
Richard scored three touchdowns, two of which were kickoff returns of 91 and 89 yards respectively. The third came on a 34-yard reception.
The 89-yard return came on the opening play of the second half, flashing the momentum and the score of the game back into the Saxons' favor for good.
"That return changed the game around," said Richard, "It just pumped up the team. It felt great. I felt like a leader out there."
The score was one of two the Saxons (1-0) put on the board in the first 2:03 of the second half. The pair of quick strikes turned out to be the difference against the Trevians (0-1).
"I was proud of our kids in the second half," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. "We overcame some adversity and pulled together. We talked about playing with passion and I thought we saw some steps with that in the second half."
Richard also made his first career start at safety, a position he was moved to during this past week of practice. His ability to make the move might have impressed Stilling more than any of his scores.
"For all the things that Juwaan did with the ball in his hands, to have the focus, to execute the way he did defensively, and to have the results he did with the ball in his hands," Stilling said, "I'm proud of his focus."
Another Saxon that demonstrated a heightened focus, especially later in the game, was senior quarterback Nick Anzelmo.
Anzelmo finished the game 6-of-9 for 70 yards passing after missing on his first three attempts. He added another 12 yards on the ground. Of his six completions, two went for scores, including the last one of the game, a 15-yard strike to Stacey Smith (3 catches, 25 yards).
"It was the jitters or maybe the butterflies," said Anzelmo of his start. "The coaches talked us up and got us hyped and we were buzzing after that."
The Saxons needed the production they got from their special teams as the Trevians outgained them for the game 219 yards to 171 yards. New Trier junior quarterback Frank Nicholas led all rushers with 93 yards on 26 carries.
But having the opening kick of the second half returned for a touchdown proved to be devastating.
"We gave up two big plays on special teams," said New Trier coach Dan Starkey, "Those certainly were game-changers."
Schaumburg's senior standout safety Cole Reyes hauled in an interception to end the first half. With 1:18 left in the third Reyes was on the wrong end of a collision with New Trier's Doug Gill and sat out the rest of the game with what Stilling called a stinger. He's not expected to miss any more time.