The smiles on the faces of Antioch's football players grew wider and their voices erupted once coach Brian Glashagel announced he was giving them Saturday off.
Senior wide receiver Javen London, kneeling on Grant's turf, leaned in and hugged Glashagel's leg.
"Our hard work paid off," London said following Antioch's homecoming-spoiling, 42-0 win over the Bulldogs in Fox Lake on Friday night. "We deserve a break."
The Sequoits improved to 4-0 and 2-0 in the Northern Lake County Conference and dropped Grant to 0-4 and 0-2 by doing what they do: move the football on the ground with their option attack orchestrated by veteran quarterback Branden Gallimore, throw in an occasional big passing play and dominate up front defensively.
Gallimore completed 8 of 12 passes for 185 yards and also rushed for 64 yards and 2 scores. Antioch played without all-conference running back Hunter Price, who suffered a broken thumb against Wauconda last week and was limited in practice all week. In Price's place, senior Drew Porter took over at fullback and rushed for 112 yards on 18 carries and scored 3 touchdowns (1, 2 and 24 yards).
Porter played some fullback on varsity as a sophomore and junior. It was his first 100-yard effort.
"(The coaches) were like, 'You remember fullback, right?' " said Porter, who usually starts at one of the other running-back positions. "I was like, 'Well, yeah (of course).' So they just put me there. Whenever you have an opportunity, you got to make the most of it. I told everybody this week that I was going to be completely focused and give it my all, like I do every single day."
Porter, Gallimore, Ben Nauman (5 carries, 55 yards) and Dylan Lampert (4 carries, 25 yards) ran behind Austin Lewins, Matt Becker, Julius Catalan, Kevin Fox and Dylan Czerlanis. The Sequoits were missing 6-foot, 300-pound lineman Jared Strohman (knee) for the second game in a row, as well.
"What's nice is that we've thrown for over 100 yards in three of our four games," Glashagel said. "That adds another dimension (to the offense) when we're throwing the ball and catching the rock."
Antioch's defense dominated, limiting Grant to 24 yards rushing and 95 yards passing.
"It's awesome," senior nose guard Alex Scheider said of the Sequoits' first shutout this season. "Considering that we completely shut down their running game in the (second half), it's a good accomplishment."
Grant's offense went three-and-out on its first four possessions and didn't pick up a first down until running back Noah Lautner turned a screen pass from Matt McGraw (10-of-25 passing) into a 20-yard gain in the second quarter. Lautner sped 13 yards two plays later, and the Bulldogs eventually drove to the Antioch 21 but missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.
Porter's second TD, from 2 yards out, put the visitors up 21-0 with 1:01 left before halftime and capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that included a 20-yard run by Nauman.
TD runs by Gallimore (5 yards) and Porter (1 yard) opened the scoring. London had a long punt return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty, but he got his first TD of the season late in the third quarter when he and Gallimore connected from 41 yards out.
Porter's third TD commenced a running clock early in the fourth quarter.
"What I really love about this team is that we all have a goal," Porter said. "We all want to go really far (this season), and we all work so hard. It shows on the scoreboard."
London can't remember the last time he had a Saturday off from football.
"We got to get our rest on," London said. " We got to go big for our homecoming game next week (against Grayslake Central)."