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Justin Jackson has a habit of overshadowing everything on a football field.
Friday was no different as the Northwestern-bound senior running back rushed for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns in Glenbard North's 37-21 DuPage Valley Conference victory over visiting Wheaton Warrenville South in Carol Stream.
The Panthers (7-1, 6-0) wrapped up a share of their second straight DVC title and can seal the outright title with a win next week at Wheaton North (7-1, 5-1), which can forge a tie with a win.
"It's just nice to be able to beat these teams and do what we do," said Jackson, who's rushed for 2,196 yards and scored 30 touchdowns. "Execute on defense, run the ball on offense. We're getting a great game plan going in, and we're executing."
After rushing for a DVC-record 405 yards last week, Jackson again led the way with a 41-carry effort. Not to be lost, however, was an awesome job by a Glenbard North defense that held the Tigers (6-2, 4-2) to 199 total yards, including 80 in the first half.
Of those 80 yards, 71 came on a touchdown pass from Northern Illinois-bound quarterback Ryan Graham to Keishawn Watson that narrowed WW South's halftime deficit to 17-7. Other than a penalty, that was the Tigers' only first-half first down.
Seventy-four of WW South's 199 yards and 6 of its 11 first downs came in the final 2:42 of the game when backup quarterback Josh Prueter scored on a 9-yard run and — after the Tigers recovered an onside kick — added a 1-yard touchdown run to narrow a 37-7 gap to 37-21.
"We work hard and it pays off," said Panthers defensive lineman Connor Dombrowski. "Our defense is always questioned so it's nice to come out and finally show what we can do."
Glenbard North's first-half domination began with Brett Gasiorowski's 1-yard touchdown run that capped a 16-play, 87-yard drive that ate nearly eight minutes of the first quarter.
After Hector Ortiz booted a 21-yard field goal early in the second quarter, defensive lineman Evan Finger set up the next score by blocking a punt. Starting at WW South's 37-yard line, five straight Jackson runs culminated in his 11-yard scoring dash.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to slice into their 17-7 deficit when a short punt put them at Glenbard North's 34-yard line. Four plays later, however, the Panthers held them 2 yards short of a first down.
"The game is won and lost at the line of scrimmage," said Tigers coach Ron Muhitch, whose team played without three injured offensive starters, including running back Isaiah Campos. "Offensively and defensively, they kicked our butts. They're a physical football team."
Jackson added third-quarter touchdown runs of 18 and 80 yards before ending his night in the fourth quarter. Freshman Vittorio Tricase took his turn in the spotlight by adding a 67-yard scoring run.
"We did a nice job all around," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens. "Establishing the run game, the pounding takes a toll on a team. You come out and do that, things are going to look pretty good."
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