Saturday, Nov. 7, 2010
By George M. Wilcox
Palatine's last scoring play Saturday is called "midget." The trick play was designed specially for 5-foot-6, 154-pound running back Terry Halloran.
"I'm the smallest guy on the team," said Halloran, who did not seem to mind the lack of political correctness behind the play's name.
But for Halloran, the trick play resembling a fumblerooski turned into an unlikely trip to the end zone. It also placed the final dagger into a Glenbrook South defense, which gave up 28 second-half points in a 42-14 loss Saturday in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Glenview. The matchup featured the state playoffs' only game between four-loss teams.
On fourth-and-1 at the GBS 31, 14th-seeded Palatine packed all of its lineman at the line of scrimmage. Halloran took a handoff to his left and pulled out of the grasp of linebacker John Heles to rumble 31 yards for a touchdown on just his second carry of the game.
Glenbrook South (6-5), a No. 11 seed, scored twice in the second quarter to tie the game at 14 at halftime, but Palatine quarterback Cody Bobbit (28 carries, 199 yards) scored two of his three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to lead the Pirates (7-4). Bobbit suffered a leg cramp on the first play of the fourth quarter and did not return.
"We went back to running the ball," said Bobbit, who completed his only second-half pass attempt of seven yards. "That's our bread and butter."
Running back Jimmy Smearman (19 carries, 91 yards) played quarterback the rest of the game and scored on an 18-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Halloran's trick play ended an eight-play scoring drive with 3:51 remaining in the fourth.
"I was jumping for joy (before the play)," Halloran said. "I had to settle down for us to make sure where the defense was lined up. I had a lot of energy."
Palatine will host 24th-seeded and crosstown rival Fremd (6-4) or second-seeded Loyola (9-1) in the quarterfinals. Fremd defeated Palatine 17-16 on Oct. 8. The Pirates advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997 and for the first time under coach Tyler Donnelly, who is in his sixth season.
"We said, 'Do you want to play next week or not?'" Donnelly said at halftime. "'Do you want to let this team beat you?' It was the seniors and we let No. 11 (Bobbit) take over."
GBS, which was hoping to make back-to-back quarterfinal appearances, had only 28 total yards and three first downs in the second half. Senior Matt Jenkins (4 of 15, 27 yards) threw two interceptions. The first turned into a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by Palatine linebacker Lucas Rago to put the Pirates ahead 14-0. Bobbit ended the game's first possession with a 2-yard TD run to cap an 11-play, 78-yard drive.
"It was a tough act to follow after (quarterback) Mike Pullano last year," Jenkins said. "We had a hell of a year. I'm proud of us. We had a chance to go to the quarterfinals. Palatine played better than us."
Senior John Strickland (17 carries, 114 yards) scored both of the Titans' touchdowns on runs of 7 and 42 yards. He juked past three or four tacklers and then bowled over safety Dan Haze into the end zone to score his final TD with four seconds remaining before the half.
"He loves to play football," GBS coach Mike Noll said of Strickland. "He'll be a good college football player. I think he'll play defense. For us, he did a lot for us. Jeepers."