Glenbard North overcomes emotional St. Charles North
Glenbard North put it all together on Friday.
Quarterback Mike Vazquez completed 13 of 17 passes for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns and tailback Jordan McQuarter ran for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Panthers' 33-14 DuKane Conference win at St. Charles North.
"The play-action pass was there," Vazquez said. "They were screaming down on the runs and it just opened up the play-action. We took a couple of shots, landed a couple of them, left some plays out there, but it's OK."
St. Charles North (4-3, 3-2) dealt compassionately all week with sophomore player Aidan Carlson's serious brain injury and continuing recovery but was all-football once North Stars quarterback Kyler Brown ran out of the tunnel hoisting Carlson's white No. 19 jersey.
"It was not difficult to get back out, it was actually a relief to get back out and play the game because there's been so many other distractions, and rightfully so," said coach Rob Pomazak. "Having a young man in the hospital is a hard thing for anybody to go through, so we weathered the storm. The coaching staff did a great job of keeping the boys focused."
The North Stars started out like a house afire, running up-tempo offense with back Nick DeMarco breaking a 35-yard touchdown run out of a Wildcat formation on the fifth play from scrimmage. Jack Dummer added the kick for a 7-0 North Stars lead 1:01 into the game.
"Obviously, you're going to come out fast sometimes, but that doesn't matter if you can't stay consistent," said DeMarco, who earned 121 yards on 25 carries. "Consistency is key in every game and you've just got to maintain and wear out a team and beat them until they finally break and you're able to win the game. But one drive's not going to win a game."
Except for moments like a first-quarter fumble at the North Stars' 8-yard line or DeMarco's 3-yard touchdown run that pulled St. Charles North within 26-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter, Glenbard North (4-3, 4-1) controlled much thereafter.
The Panthers quickly answered St. Charles North's initial score on Angelo Cusumano's 62-yard touchdown catch and run. Then after McQuarter did the heavy lifting, Glenbard North went up 14-7 on Vazquez's 10-yard pass to Josh Kliment to open the second quarter.
The Panthers led 20-7 at halftime on McQuarter's 4-yard touchdown run, chipping off right tackle Ben Voigts. That was set up by Kobie Jamison's 45-yard gain on a deep post pattern. By halftime Vazquez had passed for 191 yards behind linemen Miquel Galvez, Mark Keith, Johnny Cassidy, Paulie Robertson and Voigts, and tight end Jake Cicero.
"Mike was extremely comfortable in the pocket today, was getting good protection from our guys up front, and obviously we've got receivers who if they get open we can expose some people. When he's comfortable he can drop it in there wherever he wants to, and we were able to give him that comfort level today," said Panthers coach Ryan Wilkens.
A wide-open, 40-yard screen pass to McQuarter made the score 26-7 at 8:17 of the third quarter. St. Charles North seemed to catch a spark when DeMarco capped a 13-play drive with his 3-yard touchdown run late in the quarter, but thanks to Vazquez's completion to Jaheim Edmond off a fake punt, the Panthers answered with McQuarter's 2-yard touchdown run.
"Tonight our quarterback and our wide receivers did a heck of a job in the pass game, which made it easier for the backs because all we had to do was basically block. And the line helped us a great amount with that," McQuarter said.