Whenever Hinsdale South needed a big play Friday night, quarterback Justin Kolzow knew he could count on Destin Talbert to catch the ball.
Kolzow completed 17 of 34 passes for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of them to Talbert, to lift the host Hornets to a 23-15 West Suburban Conference Gold Division victory over Addison Trail.
Talbert had touchdown catches of 46, 45, and 44 yards and finished with a personal-high 11 catches for 193 yards. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound speedster has had three straight games of at least 150 yards and 3 scores.
"He's an electric player," Hinsdale South coach Mike Barry said of Talbert. "We refer to him as a speed merchant.
"He's at full speed in a matter of steps, which is why a lot of colleges like him. Plus he's got great intellect. He's got a 31 or something ACT, so super smart, super athletic. He's that complete package and the epitome of what we want at Hinsdale South."
The Hornets (5-2, 4-1) needed every bit of Talbert's effort to beat the upset-minded Blazers (2-5, 0-4), who took a 7-6 lead on Mike Ruffolo's 17-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Ionikov with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
Talbert had scored the first touchdown of the game on a pop pass up the middle and Kolzow found him on a similar play to give the Hornets a 13-7 lead at the 7:35 mark of the second quarter.
Kolzow later connected with Talbert on a fade pass down the right side for another score that made it 23-7 with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter.
"Destin always finds a way to get open and obviously with the intangibles that he's got, people start keying on him," Kolzow said. "I think we've got a pretty strong receiver corps as a whole, so that opens up other opportunities to for my other receivers.
"So I think having Destin as that 'security blanket' is a big part of our offense."
Hinsdale South's offense stalled four times in Addison Trail territory but still racked up 342 yards on a rainy night. Kolzow credited the offensive line of Alex Diaz, Donovan Washington, Luke Velasquez, Will Hawley and Chris Mosley.
"I think Des had a great game, but I'm going to give most of the victory to the (offensive) line," Kolzow said. "I think that's the best they've played all season and I think the coach and everybody else would agree.
"O-Line kicked some serious butt tonight, and Destin makes it look easy, so it makes my job easy."
Talbert termed his performance "up there with the best" games he's played but said his rapport with Kolzow made it happen.
"It's amazing," Talbert said. "It's great to have that guy out here.
"I wouldn't be the same without him. When you've got that big guy back there throwing the ball, putting it where it needs to be, couldn't ask for more."
Ruffolo tossed 2 touchdown passes for the Blazers, including a 10-yard strike to Jacob Grygo with 1:53 to make it a one-score game, but the Hornets, who allowed only 170 yards of offense, ran out of the clock.