When the play was called, Elmwood Park quarterback Patrick McNulty liked his chances. When he saw wide receiver Mitch Cervantes get open beyond the Glenbard South defense, he loved his chances.
The biggest play Friday night was an 85-yard McNulty to Cervantes pass in the fourth quarter and it proved to the game-winner as the host Tigers rallied from a 19-7 deficit to stun Glenbard South 20-19. The Tigers improved to 4-1 on the year and 2-0 in Metro Suburban Conference play, while the Raiders dropped to 2-3, 0-1.
"It was a weird night," Raiders coach Jeremy Cordell said. "Not to take anything away from Elmwood Park, but we do have to get better. It was just a weird night."
"It was real nice," McNulty said of his second TD pass of the night, "When coach called it I knew right away it would be a touchdown."
McNulty, who finished the night 13 of 22 for 206 yards, had been attacking the Raiders defense mostly with short, quick strikes, so when Cervantes ran a stop-and-go route, he found himself all alone down the right sideline for what turned out to be his eighth catch of the night and second TD.
"Just get it there," McNulty said when asked what he was thinking when he saw his man break free.
For Glenbard South, Friday's conference opener was a long, tough night. The varsity game started late after lightning delays during the sophomore contest, and then the night got even longer when some stadium lights went out in the fourth quarter and another delay ensured.
But the night started well for the Raiders, who went 61 yards on seven plays on their first drive and led 7-0 following Alex Jeske's 10-yard TD pass to Matt Loos midway through the first quarter.
The Raiders missed a field goal on their second possession of the night but still led 13-7 at the half and grew the lead to 19-7 on a 19-yard scoring run by Justin Gjerazi just five plays into the second half. That drive was aided by a 26-yard catch and run by Zach Smith. Glenbard South, however, missed a PAT following its second TD and then came up short on a 2-point attempt following the last score, and those missed extra points came back to haunt them.
The Tigers closed to within 19-13 when McNulty hooked up with Cervantes on a 9-yard TD and then won the game with the bomb that made it 20-19. The Raiders still had life after an interception in the end zone by Aaron Kelley got the ball back late, but a tipped pass was picked off by the Tigers in the final minute to seal the hosts' win.
Raiders linebacker Bret Curtis had another big night, taking part in 3 sacks and reaching double-digit tackles again.