By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Things were not going great for the Belvidere North Blue Thunder Friday night, Oct. 11. They trailed the Rockford East E-Rabs 21-17 in the fourth quarter, and the E-Rabs had started a drive at their own 4-yard line and run 5 minutes off the clock, getting down to the North 28.
But when the Belvidere North defense needed to make a play, they did, getting an interception from Mat Guedel. Eight plays later, the Blue Thunder took the lead and never looked back — picking up an important 31-21 victory, moving their record to 4-3.
“Our defense got a stop, we made a score, and the momentum was on our side,” North quarterback Jace Bankford said. “That was huge. That’s a momentum-turner, and that made the game right there.”
As they have been much of the season, North was led by Bankford in the game. The junior quarterback went 17-for-23 for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Following the interception, Bankford found Kevin Tevenbaugh for a 26-yard touchdown to give North the lead.
“Going to Kevin, that’s my man, I guess,” he said. “We came out and scored, and that was awesome.”
The game was not sealed with the 3-point lead, however. It was sealed when running back Scot Hornick raced 70 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
Hornick ran for 127 yards altogether, and two touchdowns, including the clincher.
“I took my time,” Hornick said. “I knew my pulling tackle was going to come around and clobber that guy. I got through, and my wide receiver was blocking the last guy. It was all that blocking, and all I had to do was run.”
The win sets Belvidere North up for a good shot at the playoffs. They need one more win to qualify, and they end the season against Rockford Jefferson, who may not play the rest of the season after forfeiting against Rockford Boylan Catholic.
In between is a big match-up against the Boylan Titans. Historically, during Boylan’s streak, North has always played the Titans tough.
After the game, North Head Coach Jeff Beck urged his team not to care about Boylan’s streak. He told his team this game was about their path to the playoffs, not Boylan’s win streak. And his team knows they have to take this kind of game one play at a time.
“We have to stop their big plays,” Hornick said. “We need to come out and make a big play first, get them on their heels, and see if we can win.”
From the Oct. 16-22, 2013, issue