Once again South Elgin relied heavily on the legs of senior quarterback Nate Gomez on Friday night to lead it to victory.
Gomez rushed 32 times for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 37-15 Upstate Eight Valley Division win over host Bartlett at Millennium Field in Streamwood. Gomez also threw for a touchdown. The Storm remain undefeated at 4-0, 2-0.
"Whatever gets the job done," Gomez said afterward about his workload. "I like doing my thing and the run was there all game. The O-line did a great job of blocking all night."
The Storm found themselves in a tight battle when Bartlett pulled to within 17-15 late in the third quarter. However, Gomez took over from there. He rushed the ball all 8 plays on South Elgin's next possession and capped a 68-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run that extended the Storm's lead to 23-15. He added a 2-yard touchdown run on the Storm's next possession to make it 30-15.
'There was no panic when it got close," Gomez said. "We knew what we had to do and we knew we could get the job done. It's a big rivalry game and we expected them to play us tough and they did, but we were able pull it out."
Gomez had a 39-yard touchdown run and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Wells in the first half to put the Storm up 14-0 early on.
"I certainly like the way we ran the ball," South Elgin coach Pat Pistorio said. "Nate has been doing an awesome job. But we have had to rely a lot on him running the ball and we know we need to get the passing game going too. We are just struggling with the timing and getting in sync. Those are things we will work on. But we did what we had to do to get the win tonight."
In addition to his touchdown reception Wells added a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Storm's final score.
"That was a huge play by Jaron that kept the momentum on our side," Pistorius said. "Jaron does a great job for us playing slot receiver, but we just start putting him in on situational defenses. With athletic ability he can make some plays."
After falling behind 17-2 Bartlett (1-3, 1-1) got back in the game with a couple touchdown passes by Dean Kotsovetis, one of 7 yards to Austin Gates and another of 27 yards to Brandon Sinclair. Kotsevitis threw for 154 yards on 17 of 30 passing.
"Our players fought hard and were right on the verge," Bartlett coach Eric Ilich said. "But their special player took over and we just diidn't have an answer. I think we continue to improve week and week out."