Wheaton Warrenville South thwarts Glenbard North
It was the regular-season home finale for the Glenbard North football team when it played host to Wheaton Warrenville South. It was tale of two teams on opposite ends of the success spectrum.
It was a battle until the very end with WW South prevailing 24-13.
The Tigers (7-1, 5-1 DuKane Conference) kept themselves in the league race with the victory. Batavia beat St. Charles North 27-24 to move to 6-0 in the league.
A WW South victory in the coming week and a Batavia loss would make the Tigers and the Bulldogs co-champs.
However, before that scenario became reality, WW South had to deal with a Glenbard North team that despite being winless (0-8, 0-5) has battled all season and continues to do so.
"It's always tough against Glenbard North. I give a lot of credit to (Glenbard North coach) Ryan Wilkens. They had a creative (offensive) package against us and kept us on our heels a little bit," Tigers coach Ron Muhitch said.
WW South, in fact, didn't put the finishing touches on this contest until Joe Ives grabbed the Tigers' third and final interception of the night and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. That put his team up by double digits with just 59.9 seconds left in the game.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard first on their first drive of the game. Angelo Cusumano capped a 5-play, 45-yard drive with a 3-yard run out of the Wildcat formation. A 33-yard pass from Mike Vazquez to Jaheim Edmond moved the ball along.
"We're banged up, but so are other teams. Because of that we changed what we do offensively a little bit, especially the backfield," Wilkens said. "We did some Wildcats with Cusumano. Cordell (Smiley), Jordan (McQuarter) played well and Mike made some nice throws that kept us alive."
The Panthers continue the search for their first victory next Friday at Geneva in the regular-season finale.
The Tigers took the lead for the first time late in the first quarter. A partially blocked punt put them on the Glenbard North 32-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Noah Henkel found Jason Haw wide open in the end zone for a 32-yard pass play. Jack Olsen's first extra point put WW South up 7-6.
Olsen's leg also was crucial just 5.7 seconds before halftime. He booted a 48-yard field goal to give WW South a 10-6 halftime lead.
The Panthers got their final lead of the night with 5:22 remaining in the third when Vazquez found Cusumano by himself in the end zone for a 3-yard toss. A 72-yard run by McQuarter set up the score.
Henkel put his team back in the lead on a 5-yard run with 8:13 to play.
"(Glenbard North) played good coverage. They keyed up on me and my movements," he said.
Henkel also gave credit to the WW South defense.
"We feed off the defensive energy. They have been unbelievable for eight games," he said.