Neuqua Valley had visions of an undefeated run through the DuPage Valley Conference.
Jace James and his Glenbard North football teammates had other ideas.
Led by the 7-catch, 201-yard performance by James, the Panthers spoiled the Wildcats' perfect record in the regular-season finale with a 35-14 victory Friday on Senior Night in Carol Stream.
"It was great to get that win over an undefeated team here at home on Senior Night," said James, who scored 2 touchdowns and added a pair of interceptions. "We were clicking on both sides of the ball."
James caught a 42-yard score from quarterback Shane Conway in the second quarter which increased Glenbard North's advantage to 21-0. He later added an 81-yard touchdown.
Conway also found Greg Newsome for a 40-yard TD and finished 11-of-13 passing for 277 yards. In addition the senior QB found the end zone on a 6-yard run.
"It feels good to beat a great team like that," Conway said. "We knew what was at stake and I couldn't think of a better way to go into the playoffs."
Vittorio Tricase carried the ball 33 times for 136 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers (7-2, 6-2).
"Overall, we played very well," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "That's a good team; you don't win eight in a row in this conference and not be a great team."
Neuqua Valley (8-1, 7-1) ends up in a tie for first in the DVC after Naperville North defeated Wheaton Warrenville South 27-17.
The Wildcats showed signs of life in the second half, receiving a 9-yard rushing score from Greg McClellan and a 7-yard TD run by Mac Mitchell. McClellan had 100 yards on 13 carries.
"We came out kind of weak in the first half," McClellan said, "but we picked it up in the second half. We just have to forget about this and focus on next week. Next week is more important."
Wildcats coach Bill Ellinghaus said he was already putting it out of his mind.
"Everyone in the state is 0-0 right now," he said. "We want to be 1-0 next week. That's what I told the kids. We will regroup and come back and battle."