Big win, but Panthers can get better

CAROL STREAM – The Justin Jackson show picked up an additional viewer on Friday.

With Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald getting an up close and personal look, the Glenbard North senior running back gave his future head coach plenty to think about on his drive back to Evanston.

Averaging nearly 10 yards per carry, Jackson rushed for 328 yards and five scores in the Panthers’ 41-12 victory over Lake Park.

“I knew he would be there,” said Jackson of Fitzgerald, who also made it to Wheaton North on Friday to watch fellow Wildcats’ recruit Clayton Thorson, “but I really didn’t know where he would be. I didn’t know he would be on the sidelines.

“It was really exciting. Obviously I’m already committed but you still want to impress him whenever he takes the time to come out and watch.”

Jackson said he thought about it more before the game.

“During the game, I wasn’t really thinking about it,” he said. “But before the game, I was like, ‘I’ve got to impress coach Fitz.’ It was nice to go out there and make some plays.”

The running back wasn’t the only Panthers’ player to make big plays. The defense, led by Connor Dombrowski and Brad Metoyer, held the Lancers to just three first downs and 45 yards of total offense. Freshman running back Vittorio Tricase also scored a touchdown.

“The defense played very, very well,” Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. “And offensively, we got better as the game went on.”

Glenbard North has now won three games in a row after a loss to Batavia in the season opener. But as the Panthers head into Week 5, Wilkens is still looking for his team to put a full game together.

“Two of the four games we have had 12-plus penalties,” he said.

“We still want to straighten that out. And we are working on some continuity up front with our offensive line.”

Jackson, for one, thinks the Panthers are getting close to playing a complete game.

“This is a completely different team from last year,” the senior added. “But the great thing about it, we are doing very well. We are getting better every single game and that is all you can ask for.

“We are looking good, but we know we will be tested the last five weeks.”