Glenbard North's football team is not a normal No. 15 playoff seed.
The Panthers looked stronger than that, bagging a 49-0 Class 7A first-round win over No. 18 Pekin on Friday at Weber Field in Carol Stream.
"We got kids in, we scored points, we got out. So at this point everyone's healthy, so that's a huge benefit going into Week 2," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens, who'll face Saturday's winner between No. 2 East St. Louis and No. 31 Lincoln-Way West.
Glenbard North tailback Vittorio Tricase ran 24 times for 201 yards with touchdown runs of 7, 1, 27 and 1 yards all in the first half. Isaiah Hawkins added 10 carries for 161 yards and touchdown runs of 80 and 55 yards.
The Panthers' four-man defensive line led by end Chris "Chino" Noeun helped hold the Dragons to minus-4 yards rushing. Panthers cornerback Jace James intercepted 2 passes with a 39-yard touchdown return that put the score 35-0 at halftime.
"We focused during practice and kept our head in the game and didn't think, 'Oh, they're a team from Peoria' or anything. We just kept our focus. It's playoffs, one and done," said Noeun, who joined Colin Rosado, Alan Hanna and a Kyle Panasewicz-Wesley Hock combo in sacking Pekin quarterback Mason Carr.
Winning the coin toss and choosing to start on defense, Glenbard North (8-2) and a stiff wind quickly stifled Pekin (6-4). After a three-and-out plus a 7-yard punt it took Tricase three carries to cap a 21-yard drive with his 7-yard touchdown run.
The Dragons' no-huddle spread offense didn't cross the 50-yard line in the first half while Glenbard North scored on four of its first five possessions. Tricase notched the last of his 4 touchdowns on a 1-yard dive between left guard Joe Perilli and tackle Dylan Baker with 7:47 left in the second quarter.
"Great week of practice, we knew we were going to come out and see whether it was a 50 front or a 4-4 coming out, so we were very well prepared," Tricase said. "And the linemen (Perilli, Baker, Augie Gamez, Joe Vazquez, Logan Castillo), they got insane movement, so I was just following them and as soon as they get me past the first level, they've (tacklers) got to catch me."
James intercepted Carr's pass near the Pekin sideline and sprinted 39 yards to make it 35-0 with 1:18 left in the first half. The Northwestern recruit added his 11th pick of the fall on Carr's throw to the end zone as time expired.
Hawkins' 80-yard run on the first snap of the second half and Anthony Petrulla's kick made it 42-0 for a running clock. On the subsequent possession Pekin drove to Glenbard North's 4-yard line, but sophomore linebacker Michael Wellman tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage to preserve the shutout.
"Their offensive and defensive line did a great job against us up front," said Pekin coach Doug Nutter. "They dominated the box and their running back did an awesome job of breaking tackles and finishing runs."