Heading into Saturday’s Upstate Eight Valley game, Glenbard East’s defense had only given up 98 points, the fewest in the division through six games.
Host South Elgin’s offense, meanwhile, had put up 266 points — the most scored by any division team.
Offense conquered defense as the Storm won 42-36, with quarterback Hayden Nelson throwing for five touchdowns and receivers Derek Kumerow and Nick Menken catching three touchdowns apiece.
As it always does, offensive line play keyed South Elgin’s air attack.
“The challenge was getting pressure on (Nelson),” Glenbard East coach John Walters said. “When you give him four to six seconds to throw the ball downfield, he’s plenty skilled enough to find an open guy down the field.”
Glenbard East (3-4, 1-4) led 36-35 with less than four minutes left but Nelson found Kumerow and Andrew Kamienski on a pair of passes before capping a 64-yard drive with a 29-yard TD pass to Kumerow with little more than a minute to play.
The Rams moved the ball 60 yards in the final minute before Brandon Soto’s second interception secured the win for South Elgin (4-3, 3-2).
“I was so stressed at the end of that game,” Nelson said. “I probably prayed about five times before it ended.
“We just had to keep going, stay positive about the game, and not care about the scoreboard. Who cares about the scoreboard? Just keep playing and playing.”
The Rams led 15-0 after a quarter on touchdown runs from Dominic Wliberton, who finished with three touchdowns and 162 rushing yards.
Nelson and Jacob Amrhein have shared quarterback duties all season, and when Amrhein left the game for good due to injury early in the second quarter, Nelson took over for a Storm offense that stayed in the air for most of the rest of the game.
“I’m really proud of Hayden,” Storm coach Pat Pistorio said. “And we had some receivers playing both ways this week and they got a little banged up, but their timing was still there and Hayden took charge.”
Menken and Kumerow each caught a second-quarter TD pass and Glenbard East quarterback Phil Abruzino found Joey Moore with a 29-yard TD pass to give East a 21-15 halftime lead.
Menken and Kumerow caught another TD apiece in the third quarter and Abruzino found Mitch Luttrell on a pass that tied the game 29-29 in the fourth. A halfback pass from Kamienski to Menken made it 35-29 but East took the lead back 36-35 on a 3-yard run by Wilberton.
That’s when a game-deciding march down the field gave South Elgin its win on Senior Day.
Nelson finished with 380 yards on 21-for-33 passing.
Kumerow caught nine passes for 196 yards and Menken had seven catches for 124 yards. The Storm also got seven tackles from linebacker Soto and an interception apiece from Chase Lazopoulos and Justin Nutof.