Glenbard South finished traveling the unbeaten path Friday night.
Those Raiders of the no lost games completed their perfect nine by defeating Bloom Twp. 29-13 behind Zach Smith's 219 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Glenbard South, which will learn the identity of its Class 5A first-round playoff opponent Saturday night, posted an unblemished regular-season record for the first time in program history.
And, according to Smith, it was made possible largely by the feeling of unity that permeates the team.
"I've been in the program four years," he said. "I got brought up as a youngster, and it's never been like this before. This team, we spend more time together, hanging out, playing X-Box and stuff like that.
"The big thing is trust. We've been grinding all summer together, and it gave us that little extra."
The Raiders needed whatever edge they could muster against the Blazing Trojans, who wound up 5-4 but should have enough playoff points to enter the Class 8A tournament. Bloom never led this game, but it never disappeared from view, either.
"They'll be a good 5-4 team in 8A," Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell said. "This is a good defense (the Blazing Trojans) have. They haven't given up more than 21 points to anybody."
Until Week 9, that is. Smith got the Raiders on the board right away, as his 12-yard run successfully capped a 7-play, 75-yard opening drive. The senior tailback amassed 49 rushing yards during the possession.
Smith scored again in the second period on a 3-yard reception, part of a 17-point eruption by the visitors in the quarter. Glenbard South also tallied on a 7-yard Alex Jeske-to-Tyler Scott completion and Jose Hernandez's 30-yard field goal.
The only response Bloom offered before halftime was quarterback Jordan Benavides' 47-yard keeper. That play represented nearly half of the Blazing Trojans' first-half yardage.
"We knew we had a special group on offense this year, but our defense came of age," Cordell said. "Games are not won on Friday nights but during the week in practice. These kids worked extremely hard in practice."
Bloom began the second half with a touchdown pass off a punt fake, but the Raiders retaliated on their ensuing series, which Smith completed with a 34-yard scoring dash.
"That was huge," Cordell said of his club's quick answer to the Blazing Trojans' threat. "We talk about finishing drives and we did a good job."
"I throw out all respect to them," Smith said of Bloom. "This was a hard-fought game. They're fast and physical, and we had to play our best (to beat them)."