Se­nior quar­ter­back ac­counts for 5 TDs as the Griffins roll

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - Sports - By Pat Dis­abato

The strong right arm of Lin­coln-Way East quar­ter­back Jack Baltz re­ceives plenty of at­ten­tion.

But the 6-foot-5, 190-pound se­nior showed Fri­day night he can wreak some havoc with his legs.

Baltz rushed for 45 yards and a touch­down to lead the sec­ond­seeded Griffins to a 49-0 win over vis­it­ing St. Charles East in a Class 8A first-round mis­match.

Lin­coln-Way East (10-0) will play 18th-seeded Glen­bard West (8-2), a 49-20 win­ner over Bartlett, in the sec­ond round.

Baltz picked up 25 of those rush­ing yards on a TD run that gave the Griffins a 14-0 lead af­ter one quar­ter.

“It’s great for peo­ple to be able to see me run­ning,” Baltz said. “I just keep my eyes down field. I think it’s good to showmy ath­leti- cism.”

The Illi­nois State re­cruit also show­cased his arm, throw­ing for four TDs. Baltz com­pleted 10 of 16 passes for 244 yards. Two of those TDs were to ju­nior A.J. Hen­ning, cov­er­ing 20 and 28 yards.

Hen­ning said teams that ne­glect Baltz’s legs will be in for a sur­prise.

“He’ll showus up some­times in prac­tice,” Hen­ning said of Baltz. “He can run. He’s a great ath­lete.”

Not quite at the level of Hen­ning, though. Baltz de­liv­ered a 20-yard TD pass that the 5-10, 180-pound Hen­ning leapt high to bring down in the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Hen­ning made an even bet­ter catch in the sec­ond quar­ter. With a de­fender in front of him, Hen­ning tipped the ball in the air be­fore catch­ing it while ly­ing flat on his back in the end zone.

That play cov­ered 28 yards and in­creased the lead to 35-0.

Hen­ning said those ac­ro­batic catches aren’t by ac­ci­dent.

“(Re­ceivers) coach (Luke) Lokanc works those drills with us in prac­tice every day,” Hen­ning said. “Catch­ing balls in traf­fic, catch­ing balls in tight spa­ces. It’s all with the eyes. Fo­cus in and tip the foot­ball. It’s justme and the ball in the air and I go up and get it.”

Baltz also hooked up with Chase An­der­son on an 18-yardTD­pass andMatt Judd on a 60-yardTD­pass.

Baltz’s best pass, how­ever, may have been a 34-yard con­nec­tion to Jack­son Rit­ter when the Griffins faced with a third-and-33 in the first quar­ter. It kept the drive alive, which even­tu­ally led to Baltz’s TDrun.

“Rit­ter was able to grind out a cou­ple ex­tra yards to get us the first down,” Lin­coln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. “We have some play­mak­ers on of­fense.”

The de­fense isn’t too shabby, ei­ther. It was the sixth shutout of the sea­son for the Griffins.

Kenny Palmer and Joshua Var­gas had in­ter­cep­tions and Dy­lan Shel­ton was a con­stant force from the de­fen­sive line.

While the shutouts are nice, Shel­ton is more con­cerned with the de­fense play­ing up to its po­ten­tial.

“Ifwe’re all do­ing our job, what’s on the scoreboard won’t mat­ter,” Shel­ton said. “We­may give up six points or 14 points to a re­ally good team, but as long as we’re fly­ing around and help­ing each other out, we’re do­ing our jobs.”


Lin­coln-Way East quar­ter­back Jack Baltz, right, bounces off St. Charles East’s Nick Schu­mann dur­ing a Class 8A first-round playoff game Fri­day. Baltz threw four touch­down passes and ran for a TD.


Lin­coln-Way East’s A.J. Hen­ning catches a pass for a touch­down as St. Charles East’s Nathan Hull defends dur­ing a Class 8A first-round playoff game Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.