Schaumburg's big plays lead to big win over Glenbrook North
Some forty years ago, two of Chicago's greatest sports legends -- Ernie Banks (Cubs) and Gale Sayers (Bears) -- were inducted into their respective sports' Halls of Fame.
Both had retired just six years earlier in 1971, the same year that varsity football began at Schaumburg High School.
How, you may ask, does this apply to the Saxons' 26-14 home win over Glenbrook North on Friday in round two of MSL-CSL crossover play at Gary Scholz Stadium?
Its application is relevant because of the famous sayings of both Banks and Sayers.
Sayers, who at age 34 became the youngest inductee in the pro football Hall of Fame, was known for saying, "Give me 18 inches of daylight," in reference to his legendary big-play ability.
Though Schaumburg's games are played at night, the spread offense still came up with an illuminating performance, building a 13-0 lead on just five plays over its first two offensive series.
Senior QB Deontae Arnold scored on a 60-yard run on the third play just 62 seconds into the contest. Junior running back Heze Trotter scored on a 52-yard jaunt on Schaumburg's second series.
"It starts with our line up front. David (Drs), Jaylen (Young) Paul (Anderson), (Robert) Grasse, and Tristin (O'Connor)," said Trotter (3 carries, 56 yards) as he paid homage to the all-senior front five that aided a ground game of 245 yards.
The visiting Spartans (3-1) chipped into the deficit after Trotter's touchdown by going on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that brought them within 13-7 on a 1-yard run Chris Heywood run with 4:05 left in the first quater.
Glenbrook North took a 14-13 lead into the locker room break when Heywood caught a halfback pass from Jimmy Karfis 37 yards to paydirt with 61 seconds left in the half.
Trotter gave the home team the lead for good when he fielded a punt at his own 17 and took it 83 yards to the end zone as Schaumburg led 19-14 with 5:36 to play in the third quarter.
"For me when it comes to returns, its really just a matter of finding that open space and taking advantage," Trotter said.
"Plus getting a couple of extra blocks from my guys on special teams doesn't hurt either," he added with a smile.
The Saxons (3-1), who won their third straight, were given assistance on their final score when a shanked punt set them up in business at the Spartan 40. A 15-yard facemask penalty after a 4-yard run by Jordan Salgado (16 carries, 70 yards) moved them to the North 21.
The 5-foot-10 senior closed the drive 3 plays later when he went in from 9 yards out that provided the final margin of victory with 2:45 to play in the third period.
"I'm really proud of our kids," said Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling. "I loved the way we competed with the level of intensity we brought out there tonight."
The 6-4 Arnold, who led all rushers with 119 yards on 10 carries, gave credit to his teammates.
"I thought we did a great job on responding to the challenge they gave us when we were down," he said. "The thing of it was not allowing ourselves to get down. We showed some Saxon Pride out there as we were able to pick one another up throughout."
This Saxons wins has a connection to the term Banks made famous, when referring to the Cubs' home park -- 'The Friendly Confines.'
For Schaumburg, its home confines have been anything but friendly in recent years.
After winning 10 of 12 at home during back-to-back playoff seasons 2012 and 2013, the program has gone 6-9 over the last 3 seasons, including a Week 1 loss to St. Charles North just three weeks ago.
With MSL West favorites Palatine and Hoffman Estates coming to Schaumburg over the next two weeks, that made winning Friday's game more important.
"Seeing the number of Saxon Superfans out there was outstanding," Stilling said. "Amazing. Speaking for our entire team, their support was awesome and it really means so much to us to have it."
"As far as next week is concerned, it won't be easy," Stilling said. "We have to find a way to execute better in all three phases of the game. I got to give hats off to Glenbrook North in how extremely hard they played us tonight. They're a very good team."
For Spartans coach Bob Pieper, whose squad begins CSL South Division play versus Maine West next Friday, he looks to seeing his team's best game still ahead of them.
"You'll take a 3-1 start," he said. "We go on to divisional play feeling like that we haven't played a complete game as of yet."