Every carry, every yard, every tick of the clock added a little more pain to Justin Jackson's weary body.
It also brought Glenbard North's football team one step closer to the Class 8A quarterfinals.
Led by Jackson's 47 carries, 2 catches, nearly an entire game on defense and a punt just for kicks, Glenbard North held off Stevenson's potent passing game in a 23-14 victory Saturday in Carol Stream. The fourth-seeded Panthers (10-1) advance to play at No. 1 Maine South (11-0), a 27-13 winner over Conant, in next week's 8A quarterfinals.
"I am so tired," Jackson said. "I don't know what I'm going to do with the rest of the day. I may have to sit down and take a nap or something."
Glenbard North never trailed but the Panthers also never could clear themselves from No. 5 Stevenson (8-3), which used sophomore quarterback Willie Bourbon and a very talented receiving corps to maintain a big-play threat all afternoon. By moving the chains with Jackson, who rushed for 214 yards, Glenbard North did a nice job keeping Stevenson's offense off the field.
"Jackson's a great runner, they're big and physical up front," said Stevenson coach Bill McNamara. "We knew they were going to give him the ball 30 or 40 times today, so we just had to toughen up. We had our opportunities to win the game. Our kids made a lot of plays, their kids made a lot of plays. In the end we just made a couple too many mistakes."
Two Jackson touchdown runs, sandwiching Bourbon's 34-yard scoring pass to Alan Velev, spotted Glenbard North to a 14-7 halftime lead. The Panthers moved ahead 17-7 on a 27-yard third-quarter field goal by Hector Ortiz.
Stevenson, however, stormed back by taking advantage of a fumbled punt return. Set up at the Panthers' 11, Bourbon found fellow sophomore Cameron Green for a 10-yard touchdown pass to narrow the gap to 17-14 at the end of the third quarter.
Then came the fourth quarter, now known as Jackson's quarter. An 11-play, 5:45 drive with 10 Jackson runs culminated in his 1-yard touchdown dive and a 23-14 lead.
On Stevenson's next play from scrimmage, the Panthers' Ryan Storto snared an interception that led to a 9-play drive including 7 carries by Jackson and a 22-yard third-down reception from Brian Murphy. Even though the Panthers gave the ball back to the Patriots, they had only 2:50 remaining to get two scores.
A fumbled snap on fourth down led to a couple of Glenbard North kneels and the win.
Bourbon completed 14 of 25 passes for 231 yards, with Velev grabbing 5 catches for 117 yards. Murphy was 5 of 10 for 93 yards.
"Keeping the clock going, that's what we talked about at halftime," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens. "They're explosive. I thought our defense did a pretty darn good job."
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