Palatine's streak continues with win over Downers Grove South
Friday night's Class 8A first-round match between host Palatine and Downers Grove South featured a very interesting trivial tidbit to throw into the pregame notes.
It pitted a pair of teams who ran the table to capture their respective division titles.
The seventh-seeded Pirates won five in a row behind junior reserve QB Tommy Elter to earn their second straight Mid-Suburban West crown. Elter stepped in for senior Grant Dersnah in the lone loss at Glenbrook South in week four when Dersnah was lost for the season with a lower leg injury.
Meanwhile, No. 26 seed DGS rolled off six in a row after an 0-3 start to earn its first West Suburban Gold title since 2013.
Which team's winning streak as well as its season would cease after 48 minutes of play?
Palatine answered that with its ability to come up with big plays on offense and big stops on defense in earning a 31-23 win at Chic Anderson Stadium to advance to a round two date next weekend with Minooka.
The No. 23 Indians (7-3) won at No. 10 Glenbard East (8-2) 16-14 in Lombard.
"It doesn't matter how you get the win at this point (of the season), it's that you get the win," Pirates coach Corey Olson said. "We battled all game long and we did some real good things. They're a good football team. They were physical, they were tough. They got in their heavy (offensive) packages and kind of bullied us around a little bit and we made some adjustments down the stretch and that helped us a little bit. Then it came down to a fourth down play and we made the stop. I was proud of my seniors, proud of my defense, and proud of my team."
Palatine (9-1) successfully adjusted when it trailed the visiting Mustangs (6-4) 13-7 after Chris Williams' 79-yard kickoff return that came after Dominick Ball's 58-yard scoring jaunt got them on the board at the 3:45 mark of the first. Ball finished with 142 yards on 21 carries.
They did it with two touchdowns in the final 2:35 of the first half with a 1-yard Nate Branch run off a direct snap from center followed by a 42-yard TD strike from Elter (13-22, 212 yards) to Thomas Coroneos with 55 ticks left that gave them a 21-13 advantage at the break.
After a 39-yard Jaden Palmer field goal pulled Downers South within 21-16, T.J. Luckett added a 5-yard TD jaunt with 76 seconds left in third provided a successful response and a 28-16 lead for the Pirates heading into the fourth.
In the final frame, it was a pair of replies from both sides that proved to be the difference for the home team. After a 17-yard Ryan Dawson TD pass to Brandon Amanlampong closed the deficit to 28-23 with 8:07 left, an 8-play drive led to a Connor May 27-yard field goal that put the lead back up to 31-23 with 4:45 left.
Then, it was the Pirates defense that snuffed out the Mustangs' last shot as it got to the Palatine 5. Palatine stood its ground on a pair of tackles for loss on Deon Davis (26 carries, 105 yards) by Trey Widlowski and JD Wardle that pushed DGS back to the 9 and got Dawson to throw an incomplete pass to preserve the victory.