Ben Andreas made his varsity debut two weeks later than he anticipated, but his presence and his speed certainly was a welcomed sight for Naperville Central.
Andreas, a speedy 5-foot-9 junior receiver, had six receptions for 198 yards with three touchdowns to help lead the Redhawks to a 41-7 victory against Glenbard East in the DuPage Valley opener for both schools Friday night in Lombard.
All three of Andreas’ scoring plays were bubble screens set up by Central quarterback Jake Kolbe, who found Andreas in the flat and the speedster did rest by outmaneuvering and running the Rams’ defense for touchdowns covering 43, 51 and 81 yards.
“I didn’t expect to be able to come out at the varsity level and do that,” said Andreas, who helped Central improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in league play. “My mom told me this morning to do what I do, just catch the ball and be fast.”
Andreas, along with starters Lasoda Thompson and Ryan Avers, returned Friday after sitting out Central’s first games two losses while serving suspensions.
The turning point occurred moments before halftime when the Rams (0-3, 0-1) were poised to cut into Central’s 20-7 lead as they drove to the Naperville 4 with less than 15 seconds remaining, but quarterback Joe Kotch had a pass intercepted at the 1 by Central defensive back Kevin Nowak.
“I just read the play, saw an opportunity and went for it,” Nowak said. “We were just waiting to make a big play and we did there before the half.”
The Rams had the ball inside the Redhawks’ 5 on three separate occasions and came away with no points.
“That is the football game,” Glenbard East coach John Walters said. “At Glenbard East, we have to learn to prevent the big plays and when we have the ball inside the opposition’s 5, we have to find a way to get the ball into the end zone.”
Central running back Nick Thomas added three rushing touchdowns as he carried 18 times for 89 yards.
Kolbe completed 11-of-17 passes for 266 yards with all three touchdown passes to Andreas.
Kotch completed 27-of-47 passes for 268 yards with one touchdown, one interception and one fumble. Kotch added 34 yards on the ground.