St. Charles North rallies past Palatine
St. Charles North trailed at halftime Friday night at Palatine, but senior lineman Dillon Horvath said there was no panic for the North Stars.
"I don't think we ever got down on ourselves," said Horvath. "We were confident in ourselves the whole time. The work we put in over the summer -- we put in too much work to just whimper away in the second half. We had to finish through and we proved we're a team tonight, not just a group of individuals."
The North Stars did just that in final two quarters. After watching the Pirates tally the first 14 points of the game, St. Charles North roared back to score 24 unanswered -- 17 in the 2nd half -- to win 24-14.
North Stars junior running back Nicholas DeMarco carried 36 times for 154 yards.
"Slow start for us in week one, and their (Palatine's) crowd and the atmosphere was just great," said DeMarco. "We had some opening night jitters but we got that out of our system in the first half and responded really well in the second."
Palatine scored the game's first two touchdowns as junior running back Ronald Todd weaved his way through traffic 16 yards for a TD, then wide receiver Luka Popovic caught a 59-yard pass from QB Joe Ayala to put the Pirates up 14-0.
"We got up by 14, and then they (St. Charles North) tightened down on some things," said Palatine coach Corey Olson.
The North Stars closed the gap to 14-7 just before halftime on a 5-yard DeMarco touchdown run, then the visitors came out firing on all cylinders after intermission.
The St. Charles North defense limited the Pirates to just 40 yards from scrimmage in the final two quarters, and DeMarco scored again from 1 yard away in the 3rd stanza to tie the contest at 14-14.
Then in the 4th, Jack Dummer kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the North Stars ahead, and DeMarco put the game away with a 4-yard TD run late in the game.
A late fumble recovery by North Stars linebacker Marco Torres gave a big assist to the victory.
"We were disappointed with some of the early penalties by our guys and some key drives we couldn't take advantage of," said St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak.
"The first four minutes of the second half the kids came out and did a great job -- we got a three-and-out, got some points and then got another three-and-out. I thought the boys did a nice job tonight of keeping their heads on and focusing on the moment."
"We always talk about how adversity is going to hit the second you walk on the field, and I give our kids a ton of credit tonight. Guys like Ben Furtney, Nick DeMarco, Kyler (QB Brown) who made a great pass to Jordan Nubin in the fourth quarter to kind of seal the win. Very proud of they way they all handled themselves today."