NORRIDGE – Shortly after the final whistle on Friday, wide receiver Clark Gary told Glenbard South coach Jeremy Cordell that ‘It was a long time coming for this one’ after the Raiders defeated Ridgewood 41-8.
Just over 12 months to be exact.
One year after finishing second in the Metro Suburban conference standings, Glenbard South ascended to the top of the league with a perfect 4-0 mark this time around.
“There was a little extra something when we won conference this year,” Gary said. “That was one of the team goals we made in the summer. Last year, we didn’t ... win it. So that was big for us this year and we made sure we didn’t look past anybody.”
Now the Raiders are left with one final regular season goal. With a win Saturday over Bloom, the squad would be the only team in program history to go 9-0 (The eight regular season wins are already a first). Additionally, Glenbard South would be rewarded with a high playoff seed.
“We’ve been talking about it [this week],” Gary said. “It’s definitely a special opportunity we have. Our coaches were saying that we will never forget it if it happens, so go out and make it happen.”
The belief that the Raiders could pull off this memorable accomplishment surfaced a while ago.
“Going into the season, that was the expectation for us,” Gary said. “We knew we had a lot of guys coming back. We thought we could go undefeated and we said, ‘Let’s make a run at this thing.’ And we’ve been practicing and playing like we could do that ever since. I hope I’m not sounding cocky, we just thought we had the guys to go undefeated.”
Keeping the undefeated streak intact won’t be easy against a Bloom team whose three losses have come to quality opponents.
“They are really athletic,” Gary said. “They play man coverage and press up on you. They know they are fast and athletic and they use that to their advantage.”
The key for Glenbard South is to do what has gotten the Raiders to this point.
“We’ve got to make sure we are making smart plays,” Gary said. “Just do what we know we can do. We have a lot of power on offense and stoppers on defense.”
Against Ridgewood, Zach Smith and Jake Straza combined for five rushing touchdowns and AJ Gaffney added a 25-yard TD run as the visitors led 41-0 after three quarters.