The Class 8A opening-round football playoff game, which started with a scoreless first half that featured 10 total punts, turned into a track meet in a four-touchdown third quarter. Notre Dame senior Chris James got loose twice, scoring on runs of 56 and 68 yards, and the ninth-seeded Dons (7-3) built a 21-7 lead on No. 8 Fremd (6-4) in Palatine. The Vikings never got closer than two possessions the rest of the way. Notre Dame advanced to play either No. 1 Loyola or No. 16 Lane.
After James’ second touchdown of the third quarter put the Dons ahead 14-7, Fremd fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Notre Dame senior quarterback Ryan Greene hit senior Pat Cravens on the first play for a 24-yard touchdown and a 14-point lead.
After running for 13 yards in the first quarter and 48 in the first half, James finished with 243 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.
BY THE NUMBERS
Greene went 13-for-24 for 156 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers. Cravens caught four balls for 70 yards, and senior Dan Dietz had six catches for 67 yards. Notre Dame senior defensive lineman Chris Bargione had two sacks in the second half. Fremd senior Garrett Groot ran for 125 yards and caught a 51-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings turned over the ball three times.
“We got a feel for them in the first half. We made a lot of adjustments, and we then were able to execute in the second half.” — Greene