Glenbard North rallies late, beats Kenwood
Better stick around for an entire Glenbard North football game this season.
You're probably going to kick yourself if you leave early.
The Panthers are that kind of team. Saturday afternoon, they used astute passing from quarterback Justin Bland, two big catches from receiver Johnnie Robertson - and a little luck - to come from behind to beat a tough Chicago Kenwood team at Gately Stadium 21-18.
Glenbard North overcame deficits of 12-0 and 18-7, using several big plays late to prevail. The last, and arguably biggest, was Robertson's 36-yard catch from Bland with 2:29 to go in the contest that put the ball at Kenwood's 1-yard line.
Moments later, Damarion Elliston went off tackle left to put the Panthers in the lead for the first time. Then Bland found Elliston on the 2-point conversion that set the final score.
The casual fan might say such a victory was a momentum builder. But wait just a minute.
"It's for sure a boost," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "It's always easier to fix problems after a win, and that's about as positive I can be about it."
After the Panthers' defense stuffed Kenwood quarterback Kevari Thunderbird on fourth-and-inches with 4:40 left, they appeared to go three-and-out on their ensuing possession.
Again ... wait just a minute. Kenwood was called for a roughing the kicker penalty on the punt, thus giving the ball back to Glenbard North on the Kenwood 37 with 2:29 left.
That's when Bland found Robertson just ahead of his defender, placing the ball on the 1.
The rest might seem like history, but it wasn't. The Broncos marched to the Panthers' 26 on its final drive, when Thunderbird - who had entered the game for starter Nacari McFarland as the latter injured his wrist in the third quarter - hit Logan Lester for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown.
Hold it. Thunderbird was past the line of scrimmage when he threw, on a third-and-9. Glenbard North's defense held on fourth down and escaped Chicago with a 1-0 record.
"I told my quarterback, Listen, just throw me the ball where I'm open," said Robertson of his 36-yard catch, who also caught a 21-yard touchdown pass earlier. "I ran the route, got the guy a step behind him, and that's all it takes."
Added Bland, who completed 6 of 12 passes for exactly 100 yards: "I just stayed disciplined and we just ended the game by staying focused."
Elliston scored a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner.