Glenbard North knocks off top-seeded Maine South
Glenbard North knew all about Maine South's history of football success. It didn't seem to care.
Maine South has won five state championships since 1995 and three since 2008, but it won't win one in 2012 after Glenbard North defeated the top-seeded Hawks 29-23 in a Class 8A quarterfinal in Park Ridge.
No. 4 Glenbard North (11-1) will play No. 2 Loyola in next weekend's semifinals. The Panthers have built their own resume of football success, having reached the state semifinals four times since 2007, including last season's battle against Loyola, which the Ramblers won 28-13.
"We're going to have to avenge that loss. We know we have to get better this week. They are a very good team," said Panthers running back Justin Jackson of Loyola (11-1), which beat Palatine 19-7 to advance.
It was a big day for Jackson. He scored 4 touchdowns and finished with 216 yards on 38 carries.
Glenbard North led 14-10 at halftime after Maine South's John Oberheide kicked a 51-yard field goal with just seconds left.
The Panthers attacked immediately in the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Jackson got the football at the Panthers' 12-yard line and didn't stop until he was 88 yards down the field in the end zone. He made a highlight-video move toward the middle around the Maine South 35-yard line to open running room.
"It was a huge play for us. The cornerback dived in and I was able to get a little bit of running room," Jackson said.
With just 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Jackson capped a 13-play, 69-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run. Quarterback Brian Murphy was crucial to Glenbard North's success Saturday, but he was especially important on that drive. He completed 9- and 12-yard passes to Shawn Lenahan and ran for 20 yards on the drive's 11th play to put the Panthers deep in the red zone.
Later he got a crucial first down with an 11-yard gain on third-and-10 that essentially confirmed Glenbard North's semifinal reservations.
"I have so much confidence with Brian's decision-making," said Glenbard North's Ryan Wilkens. "He just took off running and three people missed him."
The Glenbard North defense held the Hawks to just 95 yards in the first half and 235 for the game.
"We play another day and we have to get better starting tomorrow," Wilkens said.