Glenbard South victory at Glenbard East is meaningful
By the time Week 8 rolls around in the high school football season, games take on extra meaning.
So Glenbard South's 40-20 victory Friday on Senior Night at Glenbard East didn't just earn the Raiders a victory against their district rivals.
Moving the Raiders to 7-1 on the season and in the Upstate Eight Conference, the triumph sealed at least a tie for second place in the league. It also put Glenbard South on the verge of clinching a home game to start the state playoffs in two weeks.
"That's an amazing feeling. We plan to go far," said Raiders junior cornerback Kyran Taylor.
"If you told me I'd be 7-1 at some point before the season, I'd say take it no matter how we got there," Raiders coach Ryan Crissey added. "I'm so blessed to have such a great group of kids and strong leadership and it showed here today with their effort and their energy."
Glenbard South, ranked No. 8 in Class 5A, showed a lot of energy to start the game, jumping out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter after Taylor recovered the Rams' second fumble of the game and scampered 35 yards to the end zone.
"That was awesome," Raiders senior receiver Nathan Plaso said. "Our defense came to play, you could tell that right away. Two fumbles, one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Got our offense out there, we were all hyped."
"It's difficult when you start off the game and spot the other team 14 points," Glenbard East coach John Walters added. "Credit to them, they jumped on a fumble at the 2, we mishandled a handoff, and they sacked us from behind and scooped and scored."
Glenbard South took a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter after sophomore quarterback Michael Champagne scored on a 20-yard run.
But then the Rams (6-2, 6-2) found some life in their offense, going 79 yards in 7 plays. The drive ended with an 11-yard TD pass to Tyrese Buffkin from junior quarterback Dillon Williams, and the momentum seemed to have shifted toward the Rams.
It wouldn't be the last time Glenbard East seemed to be starting a comeback. Each time Glenbard South responded. This time it was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Champagne to Dominic D'Ambra with 19.3 seconds left in the second quarter for a 26-7 halftime lead. The momentum returned to the visitors' sideline.
"They're good," Walters said of the Raiders. "Make no mistake about it, they're good."
Glenbard South leaned heavily on senior running back Trevor Burnett in the second half, and he rewarded the Raiders' faith in him with 149 of his 243 yards. He scored three touchdowns in the game, including an 83-yard run one play after Glenbard East cut the Raiders' lead to 26-14 late in the third quarter.
"He's the best teammate. He's amazing," Plaso said of Burnett, who is getting attention from Big Ten teams. "He deserves those (Division I college) offers he has. You can tell why he has them when he's out on the field, and when the ball is in his hands you trust him, that's for sure."
The Raiders finish the season next week at Elgin. The Rams host Fenton looking to gain momentum before the playoffs, probably in Class 8A.