Jackson outduals Alviti to send Panthers back to semifinals
Glenbard North beat Maine South 29-23 to head back to final four
|Connor Dombrowski (45) and Brian Murphy (5) of Glenbard North tackle Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti in the third quarter. Glenbard North went on to win 29-23. (Photo by Colin McAuliffe)|
Entering the Class 8A quarterfinal between Glenbard North and Maine South most of the attention was given to Panthers’ running back Justin Jackson and Hawks’ quarterback Matt Alviti. Both players lived up to the hype, but Jackson got more help from his supporting cast, namely quarterback Brian Murphy.
Jackson ran for 210 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries to lead the Panthers to its second straight semifinal berth in a 29-23 win in Park Ridge Saturday afternoon. However, Murphy had a number of big plays, including a gutsy six-yard run on a third down to ice the game in the final minutes.
“He’s just a competitor,” Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said of Murphy. “Normally it goes to Justin, obviously, on a crucial third and six. Murph kept it and around he went and had to dive for the first down. He did what he had to do and got the first down.”
Alviti opened the scoring on a four-yard run, but touchdown runs of one and four yards by Jackson gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead. John Oberheide boomed a 51-yard field goal just before halftime to cut the lead to 14-10.
Jackson made sure any momentum was halted quickly by taking the first play of the second half 88 yards for his third touchdown.
“Last time we played Maine South, in 2000, we lost in the state final so we won for those guys who lost and we won for ourselves,” Jackson said.
Alviti and Jackson went back and forth with touchdown runs in the third quarter and the Panthers led 29-16 after three quarters. Alviti ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 123 yards.
The Hawks (11-1) got back within six and had the ball on the Panthers’ 40, but the defense held and Murphy’s clutch run sealed the game.
Next up for the Panthers (11-1) is a rematch at Loyola in the semifinals. In last year’s semifinal the Ramblers beat the Panthers 28-13.
“After what happened last year we’re going to try to avenge our loss for all the seniors last year,” Jackson said.
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