Glenbard North shakes Benet quickly
It was a first half of football that left both sidelines shaking their heads.
After a year away, Glenbard North stormed into the Class 7A playoffs with Friday's dominant 35-8 first-round victory over Benet in Carol Stream.
If the No. 16 Panthers (7-3) -- riding a six-game winning streak -- could bottle the first half, they would. They scored on all five of their possessions including twice in the final minute of the second quarter after fumbles by No. 17 Benet (6-4).
Leading 35-0 at the break, Glenbard North was well on its way to next week's second-round game at No. 1 Mt. Carmel (10-0), a 61-14 winner over Eisenhower.
"We really don't jump out like that, but the playoff mentality is a whole different mindset, a whole different speed, a whole different game," said Panthers running back Jordan McQuarter, who rushed for 3 touchdowns in the first half. "So we had to come out here and play harder than we ever did before."
Behind an overpowering offensive line, the Panthers rushed for 178 of their 280 yards in the first half as McQuarter finished with 121 yards and Cordell Smiley had 109.
"We never played a better half," said Panthers offensive lineman Jahquell Reese. "I'm so proud my O-line. We came out, we knew what we wanted to do and we went out and did it."
While McQuarter scored on runs of 2, 10 and 25 yards, Glenbard North quarterback Mike Vazquez completed all 5 of his pass attempts for 85 yards. Two went for touchdowns, to Joshua Kliment and Angelo Cusumano.
Benet, meanwhile, managed only 46 yards in the first half against the Panthers' stingy defense.
"It was one of the worst halves of football I've been a part of," said Benet coach Pat New. "Credit to Glenbard North. They're a very good football team, well-coached. They execute. They're talented. But it's just disappointing the way we came out and just didn't play football at all."
On the verge of a running clock in the second half, Benet forced a pair of turnovers in the red zone. The Redwings got on the scoreboard when Michael O'Connor found Pierce Walsh for an 81-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.
Regardless, all anyone could talk about after the game was that first half.
"We ran the ball really well and our defense played outstanding," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens. "We had a couple things go our way, but we were able to take advantage."