Palatine’s offense wasn’t at 100 percent when the 17th-ranked Pirates played host to No. 20 Elk Grove Friday night at Chic Anderson Stadium in Palatine.
But it didn’t seem to matter.
Playing again without star running back Cam Kuksa (broken left ankle in Week 1), the Pirates scored early and often as they cruised to a 42-21 Mid-Suburban League crossover win.
“We came in wanting to pass the ball a lot in the first half,” said Palatine senior quarterback Ethan Olles, who tossed four touchdowns and threw for 335 yards while completing 18 of 27 passes. “Our line blocked great and we just kept passing the ball. Our receivers played great, making me look good.”
The Pirates (2-1) raced out to a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes by Olles. The first one came on Palatine’s first play from scrimmage as Ryan Gronwick hauled in a 45-yard pass with 10:45 remaining in the first.
After an Elk Grove turnover, Olles connected with Eric Theis for a 23-yard score with 9:06 to play in the first.
The Grenadiers (2-1) didn’t pack it in after the slow start. Travon Royal (14 carries, 99 yards) got Elk Grove on the board with a 65-yard touchdown run with 6:29 left in the first.
The Grenadiers tied it up at 14-14 when Adam O’Malley hooked up with Mike Bishoff for a nine-yard pass for a score with 10:31 remaining in the second quarter.
Palatine’s offense found its groove again after that. With 6:26 to play in the second, Olles tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Theis (five catches, 105 yards).
“We noticed we could get a deep pass on them because their safeties were playing inside mostly,” Olles said. “And one of their corners is 5-8 and Eric is 6-3 and he has very long arms. I just love throwing to him.”
The Pirates’ John Serio found pay dirt on a one-yard plunge with just 58.2 seconds left in the first half for a 27-14 halftime lead.
Elk Grove cut the deficit to 27-21 as O’Malley (14-for-24, 118 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions) and Bishoff hooked up for another score, this one from 16 yards out with 7:05 remaining in the third.
Palatine turned to its ground game a little more after that, taking advantage of a tired Grenadiers defense.
Serio ran it in from five yards out with 4:58 left in the third and Lucas Rago added a eight-yard score with 9:58 in the fourth to give the Pirates a 42-21 advantage.
“I just wasn’t doing it,” said O’Malley who took the loss hard. “I put us in a bad position today.”