St. Charles North's defense, freshman QB shine in opener
It was an interesting, and almost entirely impressive, opener for St. Charles North in front of a large home crowd Friday -- and the best part is there promises to be many more fun nights the next four years.
Freshman quarterback Ethan Plumb made his debut a winning one against Palatine, the No. 10 ranked Class 8A team in the state. He got a lot of help from his defense while showing plenty of talent with his arm and legs in a 24-0 victory.
Palatine (0-1) only had 2 first downs in the first half and 7 in the game, finishing with 25 yards of rushing and 141 yards of total offense. The North Stars stuck to Iowa-commit wide receiver Jake Bostick, limiting him to 11 yards of offense and 2 catches.
"That No. 1 (Bostick) is one of the best wide receivers in the state of Illinois and we just had a nice game plan," North Stars coach Rob Pomazak said. "Our boys did a great job executing. They played hard. We didn't know what we had. I was so excited to get into this game because it was the first time in 9 years I really didn't know because we were so young. The goal was to play every play as hard as we could and I think the boys did that."
Kyle Nord, Anthony Priami and Jacob Nicholas all had interceptions while Lucas Sharkey led the pass rush with 3 sacks.
"We were communicating the whole game," junior safety/running back Drew Surges said. "We knew what they were doing. Take away No. 1, they run to the wide side. Everything we did was good."
Plumb also was good. He fumbled a snap on the second play and threw an interception in the end zone just before halftime.
But the freshman also found a rhythm with six straight completions in the first half, hit Anthony Taormina on a key 47-yard third -down pass in the third quarter and finished 10-of-17 passing for 135 yards while adding 20 rushing yards.
"He's special," Pomazak said. "He's going to be a good one. He's going to have some highs and lows as we all saw. He's just got to keep his head on straight and he's going to have a lot of good days ahead."
Hunter Liszka opened the scoring with a 28-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.
St. Charles North (1-0), ranked No. 6 in 7A, almost made it 10-0 at halftime. Bobby Widlowski kept Palatine in the game, intercepting a pass in the end zone and returning it 60 yards with :1.4 seconds left in the half.
The North Stars quickly regained momentum in the third quarter. Plumb's long pass to Taormina led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Surges who paced a balanced ground game with 57 yards.
"The line got a push every play," Surges said. "It allowed me to make my reads and make some plays."
Nord followed with an interception he returned 35 yards for a TD and 17-0 lead, then Jake Mettetal capped a 21-0 third quarter with a 3-yard rushing score.
Palatine (0-1) had several players leave the game in the second half with cramps, which coach Corey Olson said was partly due to the number of two-way players and the amount of time the North Stars kept Palatine's defense on the field.
"We just didn't execute very well," Olson said. "A lot of mistakes. I believe in our kids. We have a good football team. Come out of Week 1 and know what you need to work on."