Grayslake North rolls over Grayslake Central
The crazy passing numbers Austin Martineau put up paled in comparison to a smaller one the senior quarterback and his Grayslake North football teammates focused on.
The Knights needed a fifth win to become playoff-eligible, and they got it convincingly. Martineau's school-record 518 passing yards and 6 touchdown passes led the way, as Grayslake North celebrated Senior Night by beating visiting Grayslake Central 53-14 in a penalty-filled Northern Lake County Conference finale Friday.
It was the Knights' fifth win in a row after starting the season 0-4.
"That was our only goal of the game -- to get that (fifth) win," said Martineau, who completed 27 of 38 passes and broke his own school record for TD passes in a season. "We wanted to put (Grayslake Central) out early. We didn't really accomplish that, but we got everybody in at the end of the game, so that was huge for us, especially on Senior Night."
Grayslake North (5-4, 5-2) is guaranteed 37 playoff points and stood to pick up an additional point each if Dundee-Crown and Deerfield won their games Friday night. The playoff cutoff has been 39 two of the last four years. The Knights will learn Saturday night if they earned an at-large playoff berth, which would be the seventh year in a row that they made the postseason.
"We're confident we're going to make it," Martineau said. "We ended the season on a good note. If we don't make it, it's upsetting, but at the end of the day we did what we could."
Grayslake North wide receiver Nick Lovitsch caught 10 passes for 234 yards and 3 TDs. He's also confident the Knights will be playing next week and thinks they could be a tough opponent.
"Whoever we play, I think we're definitely going to give them a good matchup," Lovitsch said. "I think we are proving ourselves to be better than a (No.) 16 or 15 seed."
Grayslake North, which has won the last seven meetings with Grayslake Central and is up 8-5 since the series started in 2006, won despite committing a staggering 20 penalties for 175 yards.
"If we get 20 penalties again next week, we're going to get our butts kicked," Grayslake North coach Sam Baker said.
Grayslake Central finished 2-7 and 2-5 in the NLCC.
Grayslake North built a 19-0 lead and went into halftime up 19-7, despite committing 105 yards in penalties. After safety Nick Fish ended Grayslake Central's game-opening, 57-yard drive by intercepting Rams quarterback Nick Paul at the 10, the Knights needed just 1 play to score. Lovitsch took Martineau's short pass and raced 69 yards to the end zone. It was Martineau's 22nd TD pass of the season, breaking his own school record.
Joe Swanson (5 receptions, 106 yards) turned Martineau's screen toss into a 70-yard TD strike and 13-0 lead late in the opening quarter. Martineau's third touchdown pass of the half covered 39 yards to Tony Hines II (8 receptions, 131 yards).
Grayslake Central got a score back before halftime on a 1-yard keeper by Paul.
Martineau threw third-quarter TD passes to Lovitsch (19 yards) and Zach Carter (13 yards), and CJ Johnson busted off a 45-yard touchdown run for the Rams. Lovitsch (23-yard pass) and Fish (62-yard run) scored in the fourth.
Paul (74 rushing yards, 148 passing yards) scored both of the Rams' touchdowns.
"There were a lot of penalties on both sides so it was hard to get into a rhythm," said Grayslake Central coach Jason Schaal, whose team was flagged six times for 62 yards. "Our kids play hard. At some point (Grayslake North) just took over a little bit."