Glenbard North gets running game going against Lake Park
Glenbard North senior tailback Jordan McQuarters switched the usual black he puts around his eyes for football games in favor of pink Friday to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
Once the game against Lake Park started, what McQuarters mostly saw was green -- often in the end zone.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound McQuarters had a memorable rushing night with 5 touchdowns and 189 yards on 26 carries as the Panthers rolled to a 51-14 DuKane Conference victory in Carol Stream to regain control of the Stratford Cup.
"Never (close to this). Last year the most (TDs) I had was like two, three, but never five," McQuarters said.
"A great night for me -- a great night for my team. Now I can go in the locker room and celebrate."
McQuarters scored the first 5 TDs by the Panthers (3-3, 3-1), four of them in the first half for a 31-7 lead. He started with a 14-yard TD run on fourth-and-1 and followed with TD runs of 29, 7, 2 and 26.
McQuarters carried the ball on 15 of the Panthers' first 21 offensive plays and had 130 yards on 21 carries by halftime. Denhim Betney also gained 111 yards on 12 carries with a 45-yard TD run and 2-point conversion run. Jaden Johnson added a fourth-quarter 3-yard TD run.
Glenbard North finished with 361 rushing yards and 396 total yards.
"Every time I came up to the huddle, I was just thanking my line," McQuarters said. "They banged tonight. They came out with a lot of intensity and I just followed behind them. It is what it is, a good win. Now we've got to go on to the next."
Both teams still have a chance to become playoff eligible after qualifying in 2017 but missing in 2018.
While the Panthers took another key step, Lake Park (2-4, 1-3) must win its last three games for any chance.
"Both Jordan and Denhim did a nice job of running the ball hard. We've shown flashes but not as consistent as we were tonight," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said.
"(McQuarters) runs hard and when he sees a seam, he hits it. It's difficult to take him down with an arm tackle. He's got a great stiff arm, but he's also got a burst."
This was a fun night for the starting line of center John Cassidy, guards Mark Keith and Paulie Robertson, tackles Ben Voigts and Jahquell Reese and tight end Jacob Cicero as well as fullback Joshua Kliment. Cassidy, Voigts and Reese are returning starters.
As Cassidy explained, Lake Park's defense opened with two down linemen with their other defenders moving around the box "just trying to confuse us."
"We came prepared for that all week so when they came out in that, it wasn't really a surprise," Cassidy said.
"We had a lot of good plays for our line. They had a couple of key defensive players we wanted to try and handle. We accomplished our goal up front and obviously Jordan did his part and helped us look good."
Lake Park got an 11-yard TD run in the second quarter from Anthony Beacom, who rushed for 60 yards. Backup quarterback Dylan Curry threw a 27-yard TD pass to Nico Romano in the fourth quarter.
"Our strength is not size. We just have to match up better against the teams we have left. At least we have a shot (at the playoffs)," Lake Park coach Chris Roll said.
"These guys (Glenbard North) have had a tough couple of seasons, but they are a big team and they have incredible backs, they're physical. This is their brand of football and they're playing it well right now."
The opening kickoff set the tone. Glenbard North junior Fabian Martinez's ball was caught at the 5 but the receiver moved backward and slipped to his knee in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
"This is an eye opener not only for us but the conference," Cassidy said. "We played very well against Batavia and obviously they're a powerhouse. Us moving forward, we're very confident in what we can do."