Palatine is a well-oiled football machine. On a mission.
The Pirates delivered another productive step toward next week's matchup at Barrington, for the game that will in essence be the Mid-Suburban West championship.
Palatine (7-0, 3-0) maintained momentum with a convincing 43-7 win Friday night at Conant, and they have their sights set on Barrington .
With a playoff spot clinched, you wouldn't blame them for looking ahead. But they're not.
"I think we're pretty good," was as far as quarterback Zach Oles would take it after the game, not looking to put any billboard fodder out there for the Broncos. What he did put out was 12-of-17 passing for 120 yards and 3 touchdowns, one to lanky Johnny O'Shea and 2 to Jack Grochowski, who had a night of nights with the two scores, 3 extra-point kicks and field goals from 20, 27 and 28 yards. Grochowski finished with 5 catches for 54 yards.
Like Oles, Grochowski is confident. "I know how good we are," he said after Palatine's offense racked up 404 yards.
Grochowski thinks that unit is one of the best in the state. And who could argue, with Oles' versatility, Josh Turner's running (8 carries, 103 yards) and even backup QB D.J. Angelaccio's 39 yards rushing and 29 more passing.
Credit as well to the offensive line of Basa Balanganayi, Ryan Garner, Carson Walker, Zach Proctor and Andrew Martino, as Oles and coach Rick Splitt said after the game.
They were so efficient, Palatine controlled the ball and scored on all seven of its first-half possessions for a 37-0 lead while limiting Conant to 15 total yards and no first downs in the first two quarters thanks to picks Jake Moertl and Dylan Tapia (a spectacular, Odell Beckham Jr.-like snare) and up-front pressure by Jesus Salinas, Brody Muck, Cortez Hogans and Matt Garner.
The Cougars (0-7, 0-3) finally broke through when talented sophomore running back Brenden Spates crashed over from 5 yards out after taking a Brian Modelski pass halfway there.
"He's just a kid, He will be a good one," said Conant coach Bill Modelski, whose banged-up squad got as much as it could from Spates, Modelski and Jack Reiger.
Now Palatine's hoping to get as much as it can from everyone for next week's showdown with Barrington.
"It's for the (division) championship," said Grochowski. "It'll be a good game."