Elliston puts together Jackson-like performance for Glenbard North
During his high school career at Glenbard North, Justin Jackson put together a host of legendary performances.
On Friday night, Damarion Elliston did his best impression of the former Panthers star and current Los Angeles Charger.
Carrying the ball 41 times, the junior running back rushed for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading Glenbard North to a 36-31 nonconference road victory over Naperville North.
His second TD, a 33-yarder, proved to be the game-winner with 4:36 remaining.
"I look up to Justin," Elliston said. "I know he was the varsity running back since his freshman year and it pushes me to try to be another one of him. I just practice every day, train every day, work hard.
"But without this team and without this offensive line, I wouldn't do anything. I try to please the O-line as much as I can, buy them donuts so they love me. I told them, as long as you help, I got this, we got this."
That Glenbard North line (2-0) is led by seniors Paulie Robertson, Drake Pittman and Ryan Yabi and juniors Kyle Faro and Adam Hirsig.
"He makes us look good," Robertson said of Elliston. "We do our job and he gets us to the end zone. We were really executing with our run game and also our pass game, we were at the top of our game tonight.
"This was a big win. That jump from Week 1 to Week 2, that's where a team makes it's biggest progression. To see how we responded in the fourth quarter and kept fighting back, that shows what our team is all about."
Indeed, what at first looked like a comfortable victory turned into a hard-fought battle as the Huskies (1-1) overcame a 17-3 second half deficit to take a 31-24 lead late in the third quarter.
But a 6-yard touchdown pass from Justin Bland to David Petty sliced the deficit to one with six minutes remaining and an ensuing onside kick recovery set up Elliston's final heroics.
Bland also added a 3-yard scoring run and a 50-yard TD strike to Zamari Robinson.
"Definitely coach speak, but that game had its ebbs and flows," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "From up two touchdowns to down one score, some quick changes there.
"We gave them some opportunities, but they also can do it all on offense. We knew it would be a battle so you just have to go on to the next play. Our defense played well and Damarion and the O-line did a heck of a job."
Trailing by two scores, the Williams brothers almost single-handily willed Naperville North to a win on Senior Night. First Zeke brought a kickoff 60 yards to the end zone and later Luke added a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. The sophomore then picked off another pass and followed that up with a 10-yard TD reception from Aidan Gray to give the home team their first lead.
"We just didn't do enough things right," Naperville North coach Sean Drendel said. "And when you play a good team, you have to do things right. To be down two scores like that and to come back and take the lead, you feel pretty good. We did some great things on special teams and then we did some poor things on special teams. But I'm proud of the kids."