Senior DB returns fumble for TD to spark Lincoln-Way East
Senior defensive back Kenny Palmer sparked a 13-second surge at the end of the first half Saturday that perfectly summed up how dominant Lincoln-Way East was againstGlenbardWest.
Palmer returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown as the visiting Griffins scored14points in the 13-second span to pull away for a 45-0 win in a Class 8A second-round playoff game.
Lincoln-Way East (11-0) will take on West Aurora or Edwardsville in nextweek’s quarterfinals.
Down 24-0, Glenbard West (8-3) had put together its best drive of the game before Dylan Shelton forced a fumble. Palmer recovered and dashed 70 yards for the TD with 18 seconds left in the half.
“I had to make sure I had the ball, and once I did, I just kept thinking to myself, ‘Don’t get caught,’ ” Palmer said. “It was nonstop adrenaline, and as soon as I hit the end zone, itwas insane.”
GlenbardWest mishandled the ensuing kickoff and the Griffins recovered. On the next play, A.J. Henning ran for a 29-yard TD to make it a 38-0 halftime lead.
“We talk about trying to get offense, defense and special teams all playing at an elite level, trying to get to that magic place,” East coach Rob Zvonar said. “For a while at the end of the first half,
we got there, and itwas a lot of fun.”
Devon Williams ran for 146 yards and three TDs for East, while Jack Baltz completed 8 of 15 passes for 115 yards, including a 28-yard TD pass to Jackson Ritter.
Henning said the exclamation point the Griffins delivered at the end of the half sent a message.
“We’re never going to settle or set a limit for ourselves,” Henning said. “We’re going to keep working to be the best we can be and get better every day. I thinkwe showed thatwe keep improving.”
Lincoln-Way East led 3-0 after the first quarter before exploding for 35 points in the second against a Glenbard West defense that entered allowing 13 points per game.
Williams ran for a pair of TDs in the quarter.
“Everything was just together,” Williams said. “Our offensive line, receivers, quarterback, running backs, we were all on. Defense and special teams were on too. We just came out and did our thing.
“We expected to get a lot from (GlenbardWest) in this game. We got a lot, but we obviously showed that we can be better.”
The Griffins outgained Glenbard West 308-140.
“This just shows what we can do,” Palmer said. “It shows our offense is great, our defense is great, and we’re just an all-around phenomenal team.”
Lincoln-Way East quarterback Jack Baltz starts to pass against GlenbardWest on Saturday.
Lincoln-Way East’s Devon Williams (21) sidesteps GlenbardWest’s Nicholas Seifert on his way to a touchdown on Saturday.