Plumb's late TD strikes lifts St. Charles North over Palatine
Trailing Palatine 34-30 with 5:05 remaining, St. Charles North (1-0) marched 69 yards in 9 plays, capped by quarterback Ethan Plumb's 13-yard touchdown strike to sophomore receiver Keaton Reinke with 2:06 left to help lift the North Stars to a thrilling 37-34 nonconference victory in the season opener Friday night in St. Charles.
"It was a tall fade," said Plumb, who completed 34 of 45 passes for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns while also rushing for 42 yards and a score. "The safety was inside, and I know Keaton has hops."
Reinke (5 catches, 65 yards) caught the ball while tight-roping the sideline in the end zone.
"Keaton is a great ballplayer," said Plumb. "He's a playmaker."
There were playmakers on both sides of the field in this one.
Palatine senior tailback Dominik Ball (21 carries, 140 yards) scored a pair of first-half touchdowns -- on a 64-yard run and a 64-yard reception from quarterback Tommy Elter.
However, Ball was stopped short on the Pirates' final possession, as North Stars senior linebacker Jake Furtney made the game-sealing tackle on a 4th-and-4 play from the Palatine 30 with 54 seconds left.
The North Stars, who trailed 27-17 at halftime, received a huge performance from senior wideout Jake Mettetal, who caught 12 passes for 177 yards -- including a 47-yard TD reception from Plumb to give St. Charles North a 30-27 lead with 10:34 remaining.
Palatine answered on its next possession, however, as Ball scored on a 4-yard run to give the visitors a 34-30 advantage.
That set the stage for Plumb's heroics on the North Stars' final drive.
He connected with Reinke for an 18-yard completion to move the ball inside Palatine territory, then found tailback Joell Holloman for a 9-yard gain and an 11-yard completion, before the eventual game-winning hookup with Reinke.
"We've done it before -- last year when we beat Wheaton North," Plumb said of his team's late comeback. "Our offensive line did a great job blocking, Joell (Hollman) did a great job running the ball, and all our receivers were catching balls like crazy. You go down, you go back up, you go down again, and you keep going.
"You dream to play in a game like this."
Hunter Liszka added 3 field goals for the North Stars, covering 23, 19, and 35 yards, respectively.