Vittorio Tricase and the Glenbard North ground game can take wind out of a team's sails before it even leaves the dock.
The senior tailback ran the football all 10 plays of the Panthers' first possession in Saturday's nonconference game against Thornton, ending it with a 16-yard touchdown run. That score, those 85 yards were but a prelude in Glenbard North's 45-21 win in Harvey.
Duplicating last week's DuPage Valley Conference record-tying 6 touchdown runs in a game, Tricase added touchdown runs of 2, 1, 10, 5 and 4 yards plus a 43-yard touchdown catch on his way to 36 carries for 267 yards rushing.
"There's no goal per game other than getting a win," the 5-foot-7, 170-pounder said after another display of water-bug moves with pave-over power. "If it (takes) six touchdowns a game then I'll try and get six touchdowns a game."
Glenbard North (3-1) led 33-7 at halftime as Tricase followed fullback Xavier Lee and linemen Prince Goodlow, Joe Perilli, Augie Gamez, Joe Vazquez, Logan Castillo for 4 touchdowns runs, then caught Shane Conway's in-stride touchdown pass with 23.4 seconds before halftime.
"(We) try to get the kids up front going," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens. "Did a good job of that the whole first series, almost the whole first half, we just hand him the ball. As the game goes on he gets stronger throughout."
Perhaps channeling Mt. Carmel from last year's Class 7A playoff win over the Panthers, Thornton (1-3) ran a double-wing option as opposed to the shotgun-spread it showed Weeks 1-3. Wildcats quarterback William Storey and fullback Anthony Hayes answered Glenbard North's opening salvo with their own long drive before stalling in the red zone.
Over a series of five plays from scrimmage, Glenbard North tripled its lead to 21-0. Tricase scored from 2 yards out, following Lee's kick out block and Perilli pulling from left guard. Linebacker Zach Bachara recovered a fumble at Thornton's 1-yard line, and Tricase again followed Lee and Perilli for 2 touchdowns in 57 seconds.
"That's the reason I love playing guard this year, because I played center last year and being able to pull and 'lay the wood,' as they say, it's a lot more fun," said Perilli, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior.
Thornton scrambled within 33-21 in the third quarter in similar fashion, a Storey touchdown run plus Taron "Nitro" Williams' 35-yard return of a Panthers fumble 19 seconds later.
Tricase salted it away with his last two touchdown runs, bookending Mike Wellman's interception right on the Panthers' goal line.
"It may not look like I get tired -- I stay in, I choose to stay in, I like staying in -- but they're very tiring drives," Tricase said. "It just comes down to going that extra step outside of games and conditioning on your own aside from what you're made to condition for."