Bartlett wins wild one over Glenbard South
Carrying an American flag with a half dozen youngsters in his wake, some wearing his jersey, Bartlett senior tailback Nick Deckard looked every bit the warrior as he walked off the field after the leading the Hawks to their inaugural victory at their new Bartlett Sports Complex.
And he played like one, too. The 5-6, 170-pound senior pounded the Glenbard South defense to the tune of 186 yards on 29 carries as Bartlett bested the Raiders 33-23 in Bartlett. Senior signal caller Jonah O'Brien, a transfer from Wisconsin, picked apart the Raiders defense in the air, completing 13 of 24 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
"I absolutely could not have done what I did without the guys in front of me," Deckard said after the game on his march with Old Glory. "They were incredible tonight. I got the ball a lot tonight and that's exactly the way I want it. No one wants the ball late in the game more than I do, and I know I can handle it."
As is so often the case with dominant players, Deckard seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. Head coach Matt Erlenbaugh called Deckard's number on 12 of the 16 plays the Hawks ran in fourth quarter. One of those was a 27-yard scamper on which he nearly got knocked down before righting himself and scoring his lone touchdown of the evening.
"We had a lot of adversity in the first half," explained Erlenbaugh about a penalty-laden first 24 minutes for both teams. "But I thought we executed well and we did a good job of hanging in there. We're back on track."
Glenbard South's Nick Plaso had a, well, strange night behind center. The 6-2, 165-pound junior missed on his first seven passes, connected on his next five and wound up completing just 9 of 30 -- but six of those nine went for 24 yards or more, allowing him to rack up 254 yards. He also had one touchdown pass, a 61-yard strike to Trevor Burnett to give the Raiders (2-1, 2-1) their last lead of the game, 20-13 with 1:14 left in the first half.
"The effort was there tonight, but the execution was not," assessed Raiders head coach Ryan Crissey. "I thought we let them off the hook and gave them two and three chances. This is a huge gut check moment for our team."
O'Brien got the Hawks on the board on their first possession when he found Nick Mansk alone near the left sideline. The 6-3 senior raced 35 yards to pay dirt to give Bartlett (2-1, 2-1) a 7-0 lead. Plaso engineered a 13-play drive that culminated with a 5-yard scoring run by Antonio Carter (15 carries, 26 yards) to knot it at 7-7 after 12 minutes.
After stopping the Hawks on downs inside their own 10-yard line, Plaso pieced together an 11-play scoring drive that included long completions to Cade Hardtke (29 yards) and Burnett (42 yards) and capitalized on a pair of Bartlett personal fouls to put Glenbard South on top 14-7 with just over two minutes gone in the second quarter.
O'Brien scored on a 15-yard run on the Hawks' ensuing possession, but Amari Babers missed the extra point to make it 14-13 Raiders. After the Plaso-to-Burnett connection made it 20-13, O'Brien sent it to halftime knotted at 20-20 when his 36-yard arrow to Austin Gates was tipped by Glenbard South's Tony Ashley at the 5, right into the waiting arms of Gates as the first half expired.