Good thing Ben Andreas listens to his mother.
Andreas put mom's advice to work to score 3 touchdowns in Naperville Central's 41-7 victory at Glenbard East on Friday night.
"My mom told me this morning, just do what you do," the junior wide receiver said after catching 5 passes for 194 yards, most of those yards coming after the catch on bubble screen plays. "Catch the ball and be fast, she told me. And that's what I did."
The teams were tied at 7 in the second quarter when Andreas got busy, going 51 yards down the right sideline with a Jake Kolbe pass, making a few defenders miss along the way. Three minutes later he did it again, this time for 43 yards to give the Redhawks a 20-7 lead.
"I didn't expect to come out here on varsity and be able to do that," Andreas said.
Glenbard East seemed ready to take back the momentum and cut into that lead just before halftime, marching to the Naperville Central 3-yard line. But Kevin Nowak's interception with 5.1 seconds left thwarted the Rams.
While big plays hurt the Rams (0-3, 0-1 DuPage Valley Conference) defensively, failure to finish drives hurt them offensively.
"This game was eight plays, eight plays on our end," Glenbard East coach John Walters said. "... We gave up 35 points on big plays. The ball wasn't driven on us all night. We gave up 35 points on big plays, 35 of the 41.
"Offensively, we were inside the 5-yard line on three different occasions and came away with no points. That's the football game. At Glenbard East we have to learn, prevent the big play -- and it's been a problem for us this year. On the other end of it, we have to learn that when we get the ball inside the 5-yard line, we have to find a way to put it in the end zone."
It was an important victory for Naperville Central, which went 0-2 in nonconference play after reaching the Class 8A semifinals last year.
"Coming back was nice. We had to win this week. Practice was a lot different this week. Our team changed a lot this week. We started practicing a lot harder, faster, quicker, more alert and everything," Andreas said, his fingers snapping to mimic the pace.
Running back Nick Thomas added touchdown runs of 2, 2 and 1 yards for Naperville Central (1-2, 1-0), and Kolbe finished 10-of-16 passing for 255 yards and those 3 touchdown passes to Andreas.
The Rams' lone touchdown came on a 26-yard pass from Joe Kotch to Malysha Flanders early in the second quarter. Kotch finished 27-of-50 passing for 275 yards.