Sycamore breaks past Glenbard South
SYCAMORE -- A 71-yard run by Nathaniel Altepeter on the first play of the game gave the Sycamore football team all the points it needed in a 34-0 win over No. 1 seed Glenbard South on Saturday in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Altepeter took the opening handoff right up the gut, broke through the line and ended up with nothing but open field in front of him to stake the No. 9 Spartans to a 6-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game.
"I didn't expect it to break out like that," Altepeter said. "I started to trip a bit and caught myself. I just saw green grass and sprinted."
While the Spartans (8-3) would score four more touchdowns in the game, the defense held the Raiders (9-2) without a point. It was the first time they were shut out since losing 42-0 to Boylan Catholic in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.
The Raiders ran 66 plays and finished with 289 total yards but had just 17 carries and 43 yards in the first half. Senior Trevor Burnett, with multiple NCAA Division I offers, ran 19 times for 92 yards.
"We really tried to establish a run game as much as possible," Glenbard South coach Ryan Crissey said. "They had better horses than us up front. We were able to do some things, get to the edge using Trevor's speed. Had some success with that but not enough to keep a balanced effort."
Raiders sophomore receiver Cam Williams, who also has multiple major Division I offers, had 84 receiving yards on 9 catches.
"We wanted to make sure he didn't have a big play," Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. "He could get some catches. We just wanted to keep everything was in front of us. We were able to do that."
The Raiders had a chance to answer back on their first possession, with Williams drawing a pass interference on their first play and eventually marching to the 10-yard line of Sycamore. But a hold turned a third-and-4 into a third-and-13, then Lincoln Cooley tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage and the Raiders couldn't score on fourth down.
Still down 6-0, the Raiders had two more possessions in a row to try and get on the scoreboard thanks to recovering a fumbled punt, but the second drive again stalled out in the red zone.
On third-and-3 from the 6, Cooley leveled Burnett for a 4-yard loss, then Tyler Curtis broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down intended for Williams.
"Our defense did really good," Altepeter said. "They have a really good offense and two really good players, the running back and receiver. I think the defense improved the most out of anybody on our team."
Ryan said that his team didn't get too high after the strong start to the game and remained focused.
"You can see that, get too high, and all of a sudden they get a play and then it levels out," Ryan said. "There's 48 minutes in the game for a reason, and we scored in what, the first 12 seconds? There was a lot of game left."
Altepeter finished with 184 yards on 14 carries. He also had a 58-yard run in the second quarter that set up a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Eli Meier. Altepeter also scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter, getting in from 19 out.
Crissey said he felt like the defense wrapped up Altepeter on the first scoring run and had him "dead to rights" before allowing him to break free.
"It does suck the wind out of your sails momentarily but we've got a resilient group of kids," Crissey said. "They bounce back. The sideline, yeah, we were down ourselves. For about 20 seconds. Then it's time to go back to work."
Zack Crawford ran for 88 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans, who ran for 355 yards and team. Eli Meier threw for 39 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass Dawson Alexander.
Sycamore will advance to face No. 13 St. Patrick at home next week. The season came to an end for the Raiders.
"It was a positive season, you know, 9-2," Crissey said. "Obviously, we're one of out of however many teams that end the season with a loss. There's only eight teams that end up with wins. But it's a great launch point for us to see where we're at and where we need to be."