Lockport ends Glenbard North's season
Ty Schultz is a humble guy.
So his running does the talking.
Schultz, a senior running back, scored all four Lockport touchdowns as the Porters punched their ticket to the state semifinals with a hard-fought 28-22 victory over Glenbard North in a Class 8A football quarterfinal playoff Saturday afternoon in Carol Stream.
Lockport (11-1) will play Loyola, a 3-0 winner over Lincoln-Way East, this coming Saturday in the state semifinals in Wilmette.
The Panthers (8-4), who battled until the final minute, advanced to their first quarterfinal since finishing second in the state in Class 8A in 2012.
"It's very exciting," Schultz said of the Porters advancing to the semifinals for the third time in school history. "We had a good week of practice and want to just keep doing what we're doing. Our line did a really good job blocking and was very physical."
Schultz, who finished with 26 carries for 175 yards, galloped in from 10-yards out with 9:25 to play in the game. That gave the Lockport a 28-14 lead. The drive was kept alive after the Panthers were called for roughing the kicker on a Porter punt on a fourth-and-22 play from the Glenbard North 38.
When the Panthers punted on their next possession, it appeared that the game was over. But out of timeouts, the Glenbard North defense held the Porters on a fourth-down play. Taking over at their own 32, the Panthers put together a frantic 15-play drive, that included a pair of fourth-down conversions, and capped it off on a 19-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Justin Bland to senior wide receiver Joshua Applewhite (5 receptions, 97 yards), who hauled it in among three defenders.
That came with 40.6 seconds left in the game and when Bland found junior Ryan Prell on the 2-point conversion pass, Glenbard North was within six points. The 22 points were the most allowed by the Porters, who entered only allowing 70 points total, this season.
The Panthers then appeared to recover the onside kick. The ball, however, didn't go 10 yards. So Lockport took possession and ran out the clock.
There was nothing bland about Bland as he kept creating plays all game. He finished 18 of 31 for 252 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception. He added 14 carries for 68 yards.
"Our quarterback did a nice job extending plays," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkins said of Bland. "We tried to mix in the run but they pretty much shut that down. It was just a great high school football game. Our defense has been playing well all year. But (the Porters) run the ball well and throw it well too. Plus they are big upfront.
"We left some plays out there. But I can't say enough about these kids, especially the seniors. I'm very proud of the kids' effort."
Lockport won the toss and elected to defer. That proved to be a good decision as the Panthers went three-and-out on their first possession and punted. Lockport then went 75 yards in 11 plays, plus drawing a key offside call on a fourth-and-3 play at the 5-yard line. Schultz gained a first down on the ensuing play and then scored from the 1 midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
Senior quarterback Hayden Timosciek, who finished 8 of 13 for 97 yards, was 3 of 5 for 58 yards on the opening drive.
"It was sort of a pick your poison with us and we just rammed it down their throat," Timosciek said of the running game. "It (going to the semifinals) feels great. It's one of those you things you kind of dream of but it's 10 times better when it happens."
Glenbard North tied the game when Bland connected with junior Zamari Robinson (3 receptions, 43 yards), who reached up to haul in a 29-yard TD pass with 5:23 left in the second quarter.
But that was short-lived as Schultz scampered 63 yards down the right side on the Porters ensuing play from scrimmage for a touchdown just 18 seconds later.
"It was big," Schultz said of his long TD run. "Any play like that is big at any time but especially after they just scored. "(fellow senior running back) Andrew LoPresti threw a good block and I stiff-armed a guy and kept going."
Ethan Gallagher, a senior linebacker, who also had a big fumble recovery at the Lockport 18 midway through the third quarter, grabbed an interception at midfield and returned it 30 yards to the Panther 20. Five plays later, Schultz slammed in from 4-yards out on a third-and-goal play and Lockport led 21-7 with 45.8 seconds left in the first half. That was the score at intermission.
After getting the ball at the Porters 42, Glenbard North took advantage of the short field and close to 21-14 when junior running back Damarion Elliston (10 carries, 17 yards) rumbled in from the 2-yard line with 42.8 seconds left in the third quarter.
The news wasn't all good for the Porters. They lost top defensive lineman senior Cody Silzer, to a left leg injury with five minutes to play in the first quarter. He stayed out the rest of the game but plans to be back next week.
"That (67-yard TD run) was big," Lockport coach George Czart said. "Ty did a really nice job on that run. What a special runner he is, really a special athlete."
Czart was part of state semifinal teams as a defensive assistant at Providence and at Lockport. But as a head coach, he lost a pair of quarterfinal games at Lincoln-Way North. So it's special to get a team to this point.
"It feels good right now," Czart said. "I'll probably go in a room, close the door, put my hands in the air, and scream later to enjoy it in my own way later."