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Just when it seemed Bloom Twp. had put Glenbard South in a hole for good, the Raiders climbed out and stole a victory away.
A Zach Smith touchdown with 58.8 seconds to play ended a 9-play, 97-yard drive and gave the Raiders a 31-27 victory in the first game on their new FieldTurf.
"My kids did not quit," Raiders coach Jeremy Cordell said after the home opener. "We had our backs against the wall a couple of times. Bloom played a nice game, and our kids ultimately found a way to win, and that's a tribute to their heart and their work ethic and things turned out well for us."
"It was a good, hard-fought game on both sides," Bloom Twp. coach Tony Palombi added. "There are numerous reasons why we lost, but it was a good high school game, went down to the wire. This is Friday night lights. Both teams played well, they played well and we came out on the short end."
The teams took turns with the lead throughout the game, but the Trojans (0-2) went ahead 27-24 with 4:57 to play when quarterback Kendall McGinnis ran for a touchdown from 3 yards out, his second of the game.
The teams then traded punts, but the Raiders (1-1) wound up on the short end of the trade when Eufemio Fonseca's 54-yard boot pinned them back on their own 3-yard line with 2:18 left.
"I know it might sound cliche, but I never thought in my mind that we were going to lose the game," Cordell said. "I knew our backs were against the wall and our chances were a lot slimmer, but I could tell in our kids eyes that they weren't going to quit. They were going to give it their best shot."
A Bloom Twp. pass interference penalty on the drive's seventh play gave Glenbard South the football on the Bloom Twp. 25. After a Raiders pass fell incomplete, they turned again to the Statue of Liberty play that had worked much of the night. Smith took the handoff from quarterback Alex Jeske and ran left almost untouched, diving into the end zone to avoid a Trojans defender.
"They're a hard-pursuing team," Cordell said of the play call. "They get upfield and they have high motors, so a play like that can help an offense out."
Zerrel Jackson's 30-yard kickoff return gave the Trojans good field position at their own 43-yard line. But two plays later senior defensive back Sean Henderson intercepted a tipped pass, and the Raiders took a knee to run out the clock.
"Our defense came up and stepped up at the end with the interception," Cordell said.