Bland plays through pain, helps Glenbard North get past WW South
With a taped up injured thumb on his throwing hand and an outside shot at the playoffs, Glenbard North quarterback Justin Bland did not need to play in Friday's season finale against Wheaton Warrenville South, but there also was no stopping him from taking the field.
The Panthers senior battled through the pain and busted off a 16-yard touchdown run late as the hosts knocked off the Tigers 14-10 to close out the season on a high note. Both DuKane Conference teams entered the contest 3-5.
"We played very well tonight and I'm proud of our team," said Bland, who rushed for 71 yards and managed to pass for another 136 despite the injured hand. "Today was a good day, a memorable day for us. It's a wonderful feeling."
After a scoreless first quarter, Glenbard North struck first as Damarion Ellison scored on a 1-yard dive on the first play of the second quarter. With his quarterback not at 100%, Ellison was ready to carry a heavy load on Friday and he was up to the task, gaining 118 yards on 23 carries and another 38 on a pair of catches.
"This might be our last game but we put our hearts into it and it feels good to win even if we didn't make the playoffs," said Ellison. "We bonded as a team and we played as a unit. I felt Justin would play through it [pain] and we knew it would be a battle with Wheaton South."
The Tigers got on the board with Maison Haas' 41-yard field goal on the final play of the first half and then took a 10-7 lead in the third quarter on Matthew Crider's 9-yard touchdown run. That second score was set up by a blocked punt by the Tigers' Jailani McGee.
Senior Colin Moore did all he could to try and secure a win for the visitors, completing a 32-yard pass on a double pass play that set up the field goal, intercepting a pass in the end zone, and also catching 4 passes for 65 yards.
"Traditionally Wheaton Warrenville South and Glenbard North has been a battle each year and always seems to be close battles," Tigers coach Sean Norris said. "We came within a few plays of turning the ship, but give credit to Glenbard North. I am so proud of my seniors of what they have done for the program for four years."