Glenbard East defense shuts out Machesney Park Harlem
With 9:07 remaining in the second quarter, the rain finally stopped falling at Glenbard East.
Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, the Rams first touchdown of it's Class 7A playoff game against Machesney Park Harlem came exactly 10 seconds later.
The teams had slogged through a quarter-plus of play slipping and skidding in the downpour, with the elements causing four fumbles and a dearth of offense.
Then everything changed when Rams quarterback Blake Salvino found junior receiver Amonte Cook over the middle with a 54-yard strike.
That put Glenbard East up 7-0 and opened, as it were, the floodgates.
The Rams went on to win 24-0 in a game that was halted with 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After a skirmish on the field between the two teams, the officials sent the two squads to their respective benches.
And after about a 10-minute discussion at midfield, the referee signaled that the game had been called.
"With the rain you really didn't want to throw the ball," Cook said. "As soon as the rain stopped, we got the ball in the air and got the offense going."
"The rain is going to affect the game a little bit," said Glenbard East coach John Walters. "When it stopped raining and we were able to keep the ball dry, we were able to do some things and open up the playbook.
"I think also we have to give a little respect to those guys (Harlem). They've had a heck of a season, they play hard, they play fast, and they play physical."
The defense came up big for the Rams, especially through a penalty-filled first half when they allowed the Huskies only 37 yards from scrimmage.
And on offense, a 39-yard field goal at the halftime horn by Rams senior kicker Ryan Snell put the home team up 10-0 at halftime.
Then in the second half, the Glenbard East defense picked up the pressure by picking off four Harlem passes.
Linebacker Aaron Dotson had two interceptions, while cornerbacks Dailen Zollicoffer and Quami Stanton each got one.
"Four turnovers, that's huge," Dotson said, "and we put a big zero on the board.
"End of the day, all you need is one touchdown if you can hold them. Our defense played great, our offense played great rushing and passing, and our offensive line picked up the blitzes."
The Rams (9-1) tacked on two more insurance TDs in the second half.
First senior Matt Larson ran one up the middle for a score from 6 yards away.
Then Cook had another touchdown catch, a spectacular grab in the corner of the end zone on an 8-yard toss on third down by Salvino.
"They gave me a chance (on second down, an incompletion), and I couldn't come down with the ball. So coach gave me another chance and I was able to come down with it. That's what I do."
Larson finished with a hard-fought 50 yards rushing in the game.
"Our defense was lights out," Walters said. "Defensively we played well and offensively, we played well in spots. Twenty-four points, big game."