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Two years ago, Elk Grove senior quarterback Adam O'Malley made his first varsity start in the Grenadiers' fifth game of the season at Buffalo Grove.
Friday night, the Grens were playing their fifth game of this season and — yes — at Buffalo Grove.
O'Malley and the Bison field get along quite well.
He won that game two years ago and this time, he triumphed again while throwing for a career-high 340 yards with 4 touchdown passes and a 55-yard TD run.
O'Malley's big night helped the Grens erase a 21-14 halftime deficit with 33 unanswered points in the second half for a 47-21 victory in the Mid-Suburban East football opener.
"It's great to do it on this field where I played my first varsity game," said O'Malley, who also rushed for 100 yards, helping his team pile up 603 offensive yards. "My O-line did a great job and the defense picked it up."
Senior John Pass caught three of O'Malley's TD strikes (1, 30 and 65 yards) while Matt Wary had the other on a 58-yard reception that tied the game at 21 early in the fourth quarter.
Running back Travon Royal rushed for 154 yards and scored the Grens' final 2 touchdown on runs of 2 and 8 yards. He also kicked 6 extra points.
Interceptions by Mitch Janca and Marlo Johnson Jr. along with a fumble recovery by Bill Brichetto helped the Bison gain their 21-14 lead at intermission.
EG went 68 yards to score on its first possession of the game, sparked by a 40-yard pass from O'Malley to Pass, BG tied the game two plays after Janca's interception.
Scott Smithern (80 yards rushing) took a pitch from sophomore QB Trey Cervantes and found Andrew Apel all by himself down field for a game-tying 50 yard TD pass with 5:16 left.
Apel's 2-yard run gave the Bison a 14-7 lead early in second quarter before O'Malley dazzled the crowd with a weaving 55-yard TD scramble to tie the game.
BG answered right back with a 58-yard drive, capped by Cervantes' 17-yard TD strike to Apel with 7:01 left in the first half.
But the Grens' defense, sparked by nose guard Johnny Assimakoupolos and linebackers Sean Oldenburg and Bill Heffley, did not allow a point the rest of the way.
"Coach (Mike) Radakovitz made some adjustments at half," said Grens coach Larry Calhoun. "Obviously, that's what we needed."
All Royal, O'Malley and his receivers needed was the work of the offensive line — Anthony Benedetto, Austin Sautter, Brandon Soriano, Steven Szumylo, Michael Parisi and Anthony Kifaris.
"Our guys played better offensively than we have been," said BG coach Mike DiMatteo. "I'm real proud of them. Elk Grove is the better team. With their talent, a lot of times that will win out. But our guys fought to the end. I'm very proud of them."
Cervantes was 12-of-21 for 191 yards.
"He is growing into the position and learning," DiMatteo said. "When you're young, you need an opportunity to grow and that's what we're doing with him."