Grayslake North sacks Central for rivalry win
Grayslake North sophomore Dominique Pulliam was doing flips down the field after the Knights victory Friday night. Why wouldn't he after sacking the quarterback to seal a 27-17 victory against crosstown rival Grayslake Central?
"It was fun," he said. "I usually don't play defense like that."
Pulliam didn't play a snap of defense until the Rams' final drive. On third-and-17, he got to the quarterback right as we releasing the ball, disrupting the pass enough for an incomplete pass. On fourth down, he made it to the QB for the sack.
"That is a pure put an athlete in space and let him make a play," North coach Brian Johnson said. His team improves to 4-0 and 2-0 in Northern Lake County Conference play.
Pulliam was one of many players that contributed to a solid defensive effort. North stifled a powerful offense in the second half keeping the Rams off the scoreboard and returning the Crosstown Trophy to Grayslake.
The offenses were red-hot early, but after Kaiden Miller returned a kickoff 68 yards in the second quarter, the Knights defense buckled down. It held the Rams to a three and out, and an Ethan Espineli 26-yard field goal. That was the first time in the game a drive by either team did not result in a touchdown. The Rams did not score again.
"That was huge," Johnson said. "We told them it would probably go down to a few key stops. Seven is an animal and just to corral him a little bit is what we needed to do."
Michael Jefferson had an interception, Casey Staver had a sack, and Maximus Bouma and Jeffrey Ventura combined for another sack as the defense took control.
On the other side of the ball, the Knights were explosive. Jacob Donohue threw for 355 yards, three touchdowns, completing 25 of 35 passes. He added 59 yards rushing.
"We picked our poison and he gave us a big dose of it," Central coach Michael Maloney said, whose team is now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference.
Jefferson, DJ Neely and Charles Pritchard all had touchdown passes for the Knights. Jose Munoz added a score on the ground.
Both offenses were hot early.
Miller scored two touchdowns, including one on a 50-yard pass. That was his only reception of the game. He had also had 14 carries for 127 yards. He scored both of Central's touchdowns.
Neely led all receivers with a 167-yards on 10 catches, while Cameron Bates had seven catches for 103 yards.
"I trust (Donohue) and he trusts me," Neely said.
Both teams have tough contests next week as North plays Antioch and Central tries to bounce back with a tough Wauconda team.