It was all Justin Jackson on this night.
The Northwestern-bound running back, with future coach Pat Fitzgerald in the stands, showed what he could do on the football field. He was the entire offense, scoring 5 touchdowns and gaining 331 yards on 33 carries as the Panthers defeated Lake Park 41-12 on Friday in Carol Stream.
"We did a really good job tonight," Jackson said. "I'm proud of the way we executed. A shout-out to our offensive line, and defense played really well holding them to 12 points on our home field. The score doesn't show how tough a game it was. It was a hard-fought game."
The Lancers were down to their third-string quarterback as Bobby Accetura went down in the second half and the second-string quarterback was on the sidelines injured. Zach Zimmerman took over the signal calling to no avail as the Panthers controlled the game.
"We're disappointed," said Lancers coach Chris Roll. "We're fighting through some hard times right now. We're having trouble moving the ball. When you give teams too many chances like this, they're going to beat you up like they did tonight."
Jackson broke the game open on the Panthers' first possession, breaking open for a 54-yard run to put the Panthers (3-1, 2-0 DuPage Valley Conference) on the board 7-0. He followed with two more touchdowns on runs of 46 and 5 yards in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 20-0 lead at the half.
"They kept running and wore our team down," said Lancers running back Curtwan Evans. "Our offensive has got to move the ball down the field. Every time I got the ball the defense was right there."
Jackson picked up two more touchdowns in the second half.
"Coming in we knew their defense was pretty aggressive up front," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens. "Justin (Jackson) made some people miss and sprung for some long runs. We knew they were good."
The Lancers (2-2, 1-1) didn't give up, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter. But the game was out of reach. It was the first loss for the Lancers in their first year in the DVC.
"(Lake Park's defense) line, linebackers and cornerbacks played tough," Panthers quarterback Brett Gasiorowski said. "Lake Park is a good addition to our conference. We want to work on improving our consistency. We can get better from this game."