STEGER Despite yielding more than 350 yards of offense, it was Glenbard South's defense that proved to be the safety net for the Raiders in Saturday's nonconference battle at Bloom Township.
After enduring a weather delay of an hour and 45 minutes, South persevered for a 30-28 victory in a wild game featuring teams with similar styles.
"We didn't play a good game defensively, not the game that I want to play," South coach Jeremy Cordell said. "At the end we definitely stepped up at the end and put some pressure on them, and that was good to see."
The game was tied at 28-28 with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter when lightning and rain stopped the game with the Raiders knocking at the door, at the Bloom 5-yard line. When play resumed, South turned the ball over on downs with 2:39 left in the game.
Two plays later the South defense forced Bloom quarterback LaVante Blackful into a intentional grounding call in his own end zone, resulting in a safety with 1:54 left.
South running back/defensive back Wesley Sanders put in a workmanlike performance, rushing for 65 yards, catching 2 passes for 72 yards, returning a kickoff 88 yards for a TD and taking nearly every snap on defense.
"I had a couple breaks, but I was in there a lot so it was good," Sanders said.
"We didn't want to have to do that with him, but he's a kid you look at, and he says, 'Coach, I'm ready to go,'" Cordell said. "I'm never going to go wrong with a kid like that, so I appreciate his attitude."
South opened the game with a flurry as quarterback Tyler Padera hit Sanders for a 65-yard scoring pass on the first play from scrimmage for a 7-0 lead. After a short Bloom punt, South set up shop on the Bloom 26.
Sanders capped a 7-play drive with a 1-yard plunge and a 14-0 advantage with 6:13 left in the first quarter.
Bloom tied the game at 14-14 before South went back to work and scored on the final play of the first half when Padera found Justin Gjerazi all alone in the end zone for a 19-yard hook-up and a 21-14 halftime lead.
After Bloom took a 28-21 lead, Sanders' kickoff return for a score swung the momentum back to South with 8:44 left in the third quarter.
"It was a very long day," Padera said. "We're just going to get focused for next week against Rich East and come out blazing."