Glenbard North's Jace James did a little bit of everything, Vittorio Tricase did a lot of one thing and the Panthers did just about everything well in a surprisingly easy 35-6 victory over Naperville Central on Friday in Naperville.
James hauled in a perfectly thrown 14-yard touchdown pass from Shane Conway moments after intercepting Naperville Central near midfield late in the first quarter, punted once for 52 yards and combined with his defensive mates to hold the hosts to one first down (by penalty) through three quarters.
"I like offense, but it's nice to get out there on both sides of the ball and contribute to the team," said James, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound Northwestern recruit. "We were confident in our game, especially after losing to them by a point to open the season last year. We came back hungry."
"We definitely have a shot at being the best team I've been a part of," he added. "We'll see how the season continues. We have a lot of momentum going into Week 2, but we'll take it one game at a time."
Tricase saw his role expand after sharing the load with Devian Hodges last year. Friday, he carried the ball 31 times for 93 yards and scored on each of the Panthers' first two possessions.
"I expected a lot of carries coming in, and I've been conditioning, running extra at practice," said the 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior. "All that conditioning helped a lot this game. Time of possession is important and putting points on the board, making the most of every drive."
Tricase's third touchdown run of the game extended the lead to 28-0 late in the third quarter, and a 58-yard run by Isaiah Hawkins moments later pushed the advantage to 35-0.
"We played well on both sides of the ball," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens. "No turnovers. We took advantage of some turnover. We took advantage some short fields. We had a few more penalties than we would like, but it was a good way to start the year. We still have to clean up some things. Tomorrow we'll watch film, seeing how we can get better."
The film session won't be as pleasant at Naperville Central. The Redhawks were held to minus-17 yards through three quarters and did not score until 3:03 remained on a 6-yard run by Al Deinhart.
"Glenbard North is a very good team," said Naperville Central coach Mike Stine. "Offense, defense, special teams. Their athletes were phenomenal. They're the real deal. They can hurt you with power. They can spread you out. They're big up front. They can grind you. They played very conservative offensively tonight. Their defense is very quick.
"We'll watch film and figure out how we can get better and move forward from there," he added.