Ethan Olles has so many options on offense that sometimes he doesn't know to which teammate he should throw the football.
But the Palatine quarterback did a fine job of keeping his receivers happy in the Pirates' 42-27 Mid-Suburban West victory over host Conant at Charles O. Feutz Field.
The win moved Palatine (6-1, 3-0) a game ahead of Conant (5-2, 2-1) in the West standings.
Olles connected with five different receivers, all of whom had at least 3 catches -- and he finished with 370 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.
"Our offensive line blocks great so you can read the play and throw it to whoever I want," Olles said. "I don't have to key on one guy."
In one sequence early in the first quarter, Olles hit Eric Theis (7 catches, 127 yards) for 14 yards, Mike Allen for 11, Alex Nawrot (5 catches, 97 yards) for another 11 yards and then Theis again for 9 more yards.
John Serio capped the drive with a 2-yard run on fourth-and-goal to tie the game at 7-7 with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
Olles also used Ryan Gronwick, who had 32 of his 67 receiving yards on the Pirates' second scoring drive. That march ended in 1 of Chaka Kelly's 2 second-quarter touchdown catches as the Pirates held a 21-14 halftime advantage.
"On defense you try and key on one guy like we did for Tim (Manczko) but you can't really key on one guy in our offense," Olles said. "They are all making big plays every game and helping our team to victory."
Defensively, the Pirates focused on containing Manczko, who entered the game with 14 touchdowns, by lining up safety Jesse Bobbit on the same side. Manczko, who was hobbled by a first-half heel injury, found the end zone once on a broken play for a 64-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and finished with 5 catches for 72 yards.
"We wanted to take him out of the game, and I thought we did an excellent job," said Palatine coach Tyler Donnelly. "Our kids were very motivated."
The Pirates finished with 526 yards of offense, but the Cougars were able to stay in the game thanks to 4 turnovers, 3 by Olles. DeAngelo McBride had an interception in the end zone, and Olles also fumbled at the end of a 19-yard run deep in Conant territory.
"It shouldn't have been that close," Olles said. "I take 100 percent blame for that. I had 3 turnovers, all my fault."
Trailing 35-14 entering the fourth quarter, the Cougars quickly made a game of it.
Danny Modelski (18-for-36, 216 yards, 3 TD) hit Mike Kos for a 7-yard score 17 seconds into the quarter and found Elias Gardener for a 32-yard touchdown with 9:57 left that narrowed the gap to 35-27.
But Palatine's defense held the rest of the way -- and Serio closed out the game with a 3-yard touchdown, his third of the night.
"We didn't play well enough to win," said Conant coach Bill Modelski. "We made a lot of mistakes, but give them credit. They are very good."