Glenbard North senior workhorse Vittorio Tricase had an even more exhausting football game than usual -- a personal-best 314 rushing yards on 39 carries.
"It didn't feel like that many yards. It definitely felt like that many carries," Tricase said with a laugh.
Senior Jace James, meanwhile, delivered his damage in a matter of minutes.
Just before halftime Friday, James' third interception and second touchdown catch of the season provided the final momentum swing for the Panthers in a 34-7 DuPage Valley Conference and homecoming victory over Wheaton North in Carol Stream.
James' 41-yard TD reception from quarterback Shane Conway 1:03 before halftime was his first score since the season opener.
"I'd definitely say the touchdown (was more exciting for me)," James said. "It's always nice. We run the football a lot so blocking's a big part of my game. Whenever we can get the ball in the end zone with a pass, it's nice."
The Panthers (4-2, 3-2) again ran the ball a lot -- and effectively. Tricase had four more rushing TDs as the Panthers opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive -- 56 of them by Tricase.
The Panthers' first drive of the second half was 10 rushing plays all by Tricase, climaxed by his 6-yard score for a 26-0 lead. Tricase now has 25 TDs (24 rushing) and more than 1,200 rushing yards.
"Obviously, Vittorio ran the ball well," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "Shane made some nice throws, kept our drives going. Jace had some nice catches. Our kids up front got a nice push and Vittorio was able to break off some nice runs."
The defense also excelled with its best effort since the 35-6 season-opening win over Naperville Central. With the Falcons (3-3, 2-3) only trailing 12-0, James made his pick at the 15 after the Falcons drove to the 13 before a holding penalty contributed to third-and-26 at the 29.
The Falcons were about to receive a punt roughly two minutes before halftime, but an unsportsmanlike penalty over the clock moving during a timeout instead gave the Panthers a first down. Five plays later, James caught the ball at the 21 and maneuvered past two defenders to score.
"That score before halftime was huge," Wilkens said.
With 11:50 left Wheaton North quarterback Luke Anthony threw a 38-yard TD pass to Alex Adams, who missed the early part of the season from a broken collar bone.
The last three opponents for Wheaton North are all at least .500, with 6-0 Neuqua Valley next in Week 7.
"That's what I told (our players). We're 3-3 with three to go," Wheaton North coach Joe Wardynski said. "It seems like when we get off to a good start, we finish well and when we don't, things just kind of snowball on us. We've just got to show more physical and mental toughness. In this league you can't spot a team a couple of scores."
Tricase even contributed on defense at safety in place of Greg Newsome. Other key new contributors are senior lineman Ladell Hughes and sophomore linebacker Mike Wellman in place of injured standout Jayleen Fitzpatrick.
"I feel like we improved from last week (a 21-13 loss to Naperville North) and carried over the atmosphere," said senior defensive end/tight end Chino Noeun. "(Our offense) helps us a lot. It takes a lot of pressure off our D. We don't have that much on our shoulders."