Buffalo Grove gets off to strong start, never looks back in win over Glenbrook North

Host Buffalo Grove's offense got off to a good start on its opening drive against Glenbrook North in a non-conference football game on Thursday night.

Led by senior quarterback Payton Diaz (12-for-19, 235 yards), the Bison marched 80 yards on 8 plays as a 4-yard TD run on an option keeper gave Buffalo Grove an early 6-0 lead.

From there, Buffalo Grove (3-1) built a 20-0 halftime lead before posting a 30-18 victory over the Spartans, who fell to 1-3 on the season.

After Glenbrook North was forced to punt on its first possession, the Bison got a 59-yard pass play from Diaz to junior Brayden Wong to put the ball on the Spartans' 1-yard-line. On the next play Anthony Palano (41 yards on 12 carries) scored on a 1-yard TD run before Carson Gerhardt's extra point made the score 13-0 with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Palano recorded a school-record 6 touchdowns in a 62-14 rout over Vernon Hills last week.

Buffalo Grove got on the scoreboard again early in the second quarter when Matthew Maradkel (55 yards on 11 rushes) scored on a 10-yard TD run to cap a quick 39-yard scoring drive for a 20-0 lead.

The Spartans stuck with their running game in the third quarter and that proved to be an effective game plan. A 1-yard keeper by Jack Philbin capped a time-consuming 70-yard scoring drive to cut the lead to 20-7 with 3:31 remaining in the period.

But the Bison would answer that by putting together a 66-yard scoring drive on their own. Palano's fumble near the goal line on a 5-yard run was recovered by Maradkel in the end zone for a touchdown before the extra point made the score 27-6 with 11:52 to play.

Glenbrook North cut the gap to 27-12 on a 21-yard TD pass from Philbin to Graham Gottschild in the left corner of the end zone with 8;25 to go.

Then Gerhardt hit a 19-yard field goal with 2:28 left to boost the lead back to 30-12. Philbin scored on a 14-yard TD run with 1:06 remaining to close out the scoring. Diaz rushed for 50 yards on 8 carries.

"I thought we came out really well in the first quarter and we took our foot off the gas a little bit," said Buffalo Grove coach Jeff Vlk, whose team hosts Hersey next Friday. "Payton Diaz is a two-year starter and I'm really happy with what we did."

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