St. Charles North cruises to opening round win
St. Charles North wanted to start fast in its Class 7A playoff opener against Maine West, and the North Stars achieved that goal.
The North Stars scored on their first 4 possessions and led 26-0 after one quarter.
The fourth-seeded North Stars didn't slow down much in rolling to a 47-10 win in St. Charles.
Drew Surges scored 3 times, Will Vaske threw a pair of 10-yard scoring passes, and Anthony Taormina returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown for St. Charles North (9-1).
Tommy Delaney threw for 159 yards and a touchdown for Maine West, but the Warriors' ground game never got untracked.
Using a no-huddle offense, the North Stars took the ball 87 in less than 4 minutes on their opening possession. Vaske found Surges for the score.
After a bad snap on a punt attempt led to a turnover on downs, St. Charles North struck again, with Vaske finding Zach Priami from 10 yards out. Penalties on the first 2 conversion attempts allowed the North Stars to successfully go for 2 each time.
A fumble recovery by Soren Erickson again gave the North Stars great field position at the Warriors' 23, and they needed only one play to convert, with Surges carrying it in.
Hunter Liszka kicked a 38-yard field goal on the next possession and the North Stars led 26-0 after one quarter.
When the Warriors (5-5) finally got on the scoreboard, on Jason Salazar's 23-yard field goal, the North Stars even turned that to their advantage. Taormina took the ensuing kickoff at his 5-yard line, found a lane, hurdled kickoff specialist Gabriel Moreno near midfield, and outraced several pursuers to the end zone.
Surges added his third TD before halftime.
"We knew we wanted the ball to start the game and go down and score and that's exactly what we did," said Surges.
He appreciated the 3 scores but deflected most of the credit to his teammates.
"It's nice," he said of the 3-score game. "But week in and week out my teammates open up holes. Will Vaske was throwing nice balls to me. Credit to them for opening nice holes and getting me the ball."
The Warriors finally found the end zone in the third quarter, with Isaac Pittman taking a short pass from Delaney and breaking several tackles on the way to a 69-yard score, which came on third-and-28. But the Warriors couldn't overcome the slow start.
"I think we had some unforced errors, and sometimes that's part of high school football," said Maine West coach George Klupchak. "When that happens early in a game and you put yourself in a hole like that you get the result that you do tonight. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I'm incredibly proud of our kids. The turnaround that we've seen in our program in the last 3 years has been tremendous. We've been building back and our senior class is a big part of that."
Vaske finished 10 of 16 passing for 163 yards before getting the second half off.
"Our coaches were talking to us about how we're going to hit a lot of brick walls and each one's going to get thicker and thicker," said Vaske. "You've just got to be ready for whatever comes ahead so that we're going to be the one bursting through."
Backup Ethan Plumb led the North Stars' final scoring drive, which covered all of 7 yards after a fumbled second-half kickoff. Joell Holloman scored from one yard out.