Glenbard North appeared on its way to an easy DuPage Valley victory Friday. Naperville Central had other ideas.
Justin Jackson ran for 405 yards and five touchdowns as the No. 12 Panthers held on for a 40-34 victory over No. 11 Naperville Central in Naperville. The Panthers (6-1, 5-0 DuPage Valley) led 28-0 at halftime before holding on for their 13th consecutive DVC victory.
The Northwestern recruit scored on runs of 51, 6, 70, 78 and 14 as he cracked the 300-yard barrier for the third time this season.
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Glenbard North High School, 990 Kuhn Road, Carol Stream, IL 60188, USA
Naperville Central High School, 440 Aurora Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
"We knew on their home field on senior night, they were going to come out swinging (in the second half)," Jackson said. "But we gathered ourselves, stayed composed. We have a young team, but I'm proud of the way we battled back."
Illinois State-bound quarterback Jake Kolbe did his best to match Jackson's magic, leading the Redhawks' second-half surge. Kolbe threw for 271 yards and one touchdown and ran for three more.
Jackson bolted for a 51-yard touchdown on the Panthers' first play of the game. His last carry turned into a 70-yard score late in the second quarter. In between he added a 6-yard touchdown that gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
The Panthers pushed their lead to 21-0 when Brett Gasiorowski connected with Kevin Kuechler for a 21-yard scoring pass.
That was one of only two first-half plays for the Panthers that didn't involve Jackson. Gasiorowski also completed a 10-yard pass to Kendall Holbert and a 7-yarder to Jackson to finish the half 3-for-4 for 38 yards.
Player of the game: Justin Jackson, Glenbard North, 41 carries, 381 yards, 5 TDs.
Key performers: Naperville Central — Jake Kolbe 23-for-41, 271 yards, 1 TD, 3 rushing TDs; Ben Andreas, 11 catches, 129 yards, 1 TD.