Jackson, Glenbard North end Stevenson’s season
Glenbard North's Justin Jackson leaps into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter against Stevenson Saturday. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 11:26AM
CAROL STREAM — With Glenbard North up three points with less than eight minutes remaining in its Class 8A playoff game against Stevenson Saturday, Panthers running back Justin Jackson drove the ball to the 3-yard line to bring up first and goal.
The standout junior was stuffed once, then twice, by the stingy, physical Stevenson defense. Hometown fans stomped on the metal bleachers and cheerleaders rattled their black and gold pom-poms as Glenbard North lined up for a third down from the 1-yard line, the most pivotal play of the game.
Jackson followed his blockers up the middle, sliced left and pounced into the end zone to give Glenbard North (10-1) a 23-14 lead and its final winning margin. The Division I-bound Jackson had 47 carries for 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns — his third straight game with that many scores — none more important than that third-and-goal rush.
If that’s not enough, Jackson also played defense, returned kicks and even punted in the fourth quarter. Asked if he was tired, the ever-humble Jackson responded, “It’s better to feel bad after a win than feel bad after a loss.”
All season, Glenbard North and Stevenson shared a proficiency for scoring; the Panthers came in averaging 32 points per game and Stevenson 28.7. But how the teams got their points couldn’t have been more different.
Ultimately, it was the patient, short-yardage attack of Glenbard North that prevailed over Stevenson’s fast-moving, deep-threat offense — led by sophomore standout William Bourbon, who finished with 224 yards passing.
With 1:35 left in the first quarter, 6-foot-4 senior Alan Velev streaked down the right side as Bourbon had plenty time to throw and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass to even the game 7-7.
But the Panther defense adjusted, bringing more pressure on Bourbon in the second quarter and stifling the offense for much of the rest of the game.
“Once you start advancing in the playoffs it’s about making plays,” said Stevenson coach Bill McNamara, whose team finished the season at 8-3. “Our kids made a lot of plays. Their kids made a lot of plays. In the end, we just made a couple too many mistakes.”
A moment of redemption sealed Glenbard North’s victory. Senior Ryan Storto, who fumbled an earlier punt that led to Stevenson’s second touchdown, intercepted the ball on the first play after Jackson’s pivotal goaline score.
In addition to the workhorse Jackson, Glenbard North senior quarterback Brian Murphy came up with timely first downs throughout the game. He finished with 93 passing yards and 47 rushing yards.
Stevenson’s own do-it-all man, senior Anthony Bozin, picked off a pass for the second-straight week.
Glenbard North will face Maine South in the quarterfinals.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Stevenson football team.