Glenbard South needed this victory.
After a blowout loss to state-ranked Crete-Monee and a tough one-point loss at Elmwood Park in Week 5, the Raiders bounced back with a resounding 44-0 defeat of Riverside-Brookfield on Friday night in Glen Ellyn, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
"It feels really good. It's a lot better than what happened the last couple of weeks," said Raiders senior Paul Steger, who intercepted two Bulldogs passes in just his second game at safety.
"This feels great," added senior left tackle/middle linebacker/punter Bret Curtis. "Getting back in conference after that mess of last week. This is great just coming back and popping somebody."
The Raiders (3-3, 1-1 Metro Suburban Conference) started quickly, marching 68 yards in seven plays, all on the ground, scoring on Justin Gjerazi's 18-yard touchdown run.
Then the defense got into the act.
With 3:03 left in the first quarter, the Raiders sacked Bulldogs quarterback Jack Vandemerkt and forced a fumble that sophomore defensive end Jelani Onigbinde scooped up and ran 6 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
"I'm just really proud of the way our guys bounced back this week," Raiders coach Jeremy Cordell said. "We had a really nice week of practice the way we prepared, and I think we executed well in all phases of the game: special teams, offense and defense."
On the next series Raiders sophomore defensive back Jack Curtis picked off a Bulldogs pass, the third Riverside-Brookfield turnover of the quarter, setting up a crunching 7-yard Matt Loos touchdown run for a 21-0 lead.
"Gjerazi and Loos were going so hard out there it was great," Bret Curtis said. "It was crazy."
The Raiders added a 37-yard Will Anderson field goal and a 9-yard touchdown pass from Alex Jeske to Connor Willis for a 31-0 halftime lead.
"They came out no-huddle and started hitting us on the edges a little bit," Bulldogs coach Brendan Curtin said. "It took us a little while to settle down."
In the second half the Raiders added a 2-yard TD run by Clark Gary and a 64-yard Jake Duffy TD run.
The Raiders got 301 of their 372 yards of offense on the ground, with Gjerazi running for 97 yards and Gary for 76.
On defense the Raiders forced 5 turnovers on the night and held the Bulldogs to a net 1 yard rushing and 47 yards passing.
"Anytime you turn the ball over as many times as we did tonight, to a solid team, although their record may not have shown it going into the game, that's a playoff-caliber team and when you make it easy on them you're not doing yourself any favors," Curtin said.
"They stepped up and started getting picks and stuff," Bret Curtis said of a Raiders secondary that included his younger brother. "It was great."