CAROL STREAM -- The legend of Glenbard North senior running back Justin Jackson continues to grow, and his high school career isn't even over yet.
The Northwestern-bound Jackson has put up video game quality numbers this season as his Panthers prepare to host Stevenson in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs Saturday. The game will be shown on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12. You can also find it throughout Chicagoland with Xfinity On Demand.
Jackson has rushed for a staggering 2,888 yards on 310 carries, including 36 touchdowns. He also has 16 catches for 220 yards and another score. Oh, and he's intercepted two passes on defense.
"Obviously, Justin Jackson is the main man at GBN," Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. "He will carry the load for them as he has the past three years. You cannot stop him, but it is our goal to slow him down. It will take a great game plan and 11 players playing as one on defense to control him. Our hope is to limit the number of touches Justin has in our game."
McNamara and the Patriots (8-2, 6-0 in the North Suburban Lake) have been knocked out of the playoffs by Glenbard North the past two seasons. Linebackers Itai Gerchikov (74 tackles, five sacks) and Jason Vravick (79 tackles, four sacks) will have to lead the way defensively to slow Jackson down.
Offensively, the Patriots, who beat St. Charles East 35-7 in the first round last week, have a diverse attack led by junior quarterback Willie Bourbon. He has thrown for 1,673 yards and 16 touchdowns, though with 13 interceptions. He has also rushed for 270 yards and six scores. His main target is senior wide receiver Matt Morrissey. The Michigan State recruit is the son of former Bears linebacker Jim Morrissey.
Matt Morrissey has done it all for Stevenson this season, with 34 catches for 661 yards and eight touchdowns offensively and 89 tackles and five interceptions defensively. Junior Cameron Green is the second-leading receiver (30 catches, 563 yards, eight touchdowns). Junior Jack Joseph is the leading rusher with 437 yards and four touchdowns.
"I'm very impressed with Stevenson's team," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "They are explosive on offense and a disciplined team on defense, a defense that flies to the football and gang-tackles."
When Glenbard North (9-1, 7-0 DuPage Valley, nine straight wins since an opening loss to Batavia) does pass, tall junior Brett Gasiorowski leads the way. He is 47-for-101 for 755 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions this season. Kendall Holbert is the top receiver for the Panthers (15 catches, 319 yards, three touchdowns). Vittorio Tricase helps Jackson out in the backfield (466 yards, five touchdowns).
Glenbard North advanced to the second round with a 35-10 win over New Trier. The winner of this game draws either Barrington or Warren in the quarterfinals next week.
McNamara wishes this game was further down the state road.
"It is too bad this is not a quarterfinal, semifinal or state championship game, because anyone who attends the game on Saturday is in for a thrill, a great 8A IHSA playoff football game," McNamara said.
- Paul Johnson, CN100 Correspondent
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