If high school sports are a classroom outside school, Glenbard South's football field Saturday was like a physics lab.
Marian Central's larger offensive linemen were the force Raiders coach Ryan Crissey had feared. Despite a solid offensive showing featuring quarterback Jack Crouch's 3 touchdown passes and a game-high 128 yards rushing, the Hurricanes won the Class 5A second-round playoff contest 38-24.
"We tried a lot of different things to adjust to it and they still just changed the line of scrimmage," Crissey said. "But our kids fought like (heck), a heart of champions with this senior group. But you've got to give it to Marian Central. I mean, that line just was dominant today."
No. 14 seed Marian Central (7-4) wasn't behemoth-sized but put 6-foot-1, 220-pound Wildcat quarterback Gavin Scott behind linemen Kevin Herbst, Zach Gustafson, Thor Paglialong, Danny Dusik and Jayden Thiergood and, well, it was a load.
"They mixed up a lot of different fronts, and credit their defensive coordinator on his game plan, but once we kind of figured out what our fits were, our offensive line then took over," said Marian coach Mike Maloney, his Hurricanes gaining the 5A quarterfinals against No. 2 Sterling, a 46-20 winner over Kaneland.
No. 11 Glenbard South (6-5) tied the score twice but never led. Spencer Pyle's 28-yard field goal made it 3-3 at 10:39 of the second quarter, and the first of Crouch's 2 touchdown passes to Ryan McConville tied it 10-10 less than four minutes later.
While in the grasp, Crouch's 4-yard pass to Nick D'Ambra capped a 38-point second quarter and pulled the Raiders within 24-17 at halftime.
"We knew that if our line (Dimitar Spasovski, Michael Cuadra, Brandon Erffmeyer, Jake Jochums, Jon Lavin) played good our offense could do good things," Crouch said. "The last two games we were able to do that. All the linemen just played great."
Marian scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter to lead 38-17. Scott ran from 8 yards out for his second touchdown on 113 yards rushing. Next, the Hurricanes drove 82 yards over 10 plays, Charlie Kramer scoring his second touchdown off a jet sweep.
"It was a tough one to swallow, but we kept bouncing back. The next series we were able to put together a pretty good drive," said D'Ambra, who called it "a blessing to be a Raider."
Aided by Mike Paprota's 35-yard reception, Crouch made it 38-24 with 4:38 to play on a 5-yard pass to McConville. Marian Central recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.
"At Glenbard South I ask our kids to give us everything that they have and to show resiliency and perseverance. And we've had to. I mean, we're undersized up front, but our kids never quit," Crissey said.