Sandburg’s passing game beats Lockport

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Just call them the Killer V’s.

Avery Verble connected with Adam Valiga for a trio of touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, as Sandburg rallied for a 21-10 victory over Lockport Friday night in the SouthWest Suburban Blue opener for both teams in Orland Park.

It was a big game for both teams in terms of postseason hopes and the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) defeated Lockport (0-3, 0-1) for the third straight season.

“No, I wasn’t concerned,” Verble said. “I believed in the coaches and knew we had it. It was huge to keep us in contention for the playoffs.”

Verble was 14-of-23 for 238 yards, 179 of those yards coming on nine receptions by Valiga. The junior didn’t start the season at quarterback for the Eagles, but he entered in the first half of the opening game and certainly looks like he won’t be giving up the position anytime soon.

Lockport led 10-7 until Verble found Valiga on an 18-yard touchdown pass, after rolling out to his right, with 6:34 to play in the game. That put the Eagles ahead for good and capped an 81-yard drive after the Porters were held to one-yard on a fourth-and-two play at the Sandburg 19 with 10:06 remaining in the game.

“It was great,” Verble said. Our offensive line did great and the defense kept up in the game. We just had to maintain our focus (after 3 turnovers in the first 3 quarters).”

The Eagles clinched the win when the V pair connected on a 47-yard TD pass with 2:16 to play. The key play on the 71-yard drive was Verble finding Valiga for a 31-yard gain on third-and-23.

“I’ve got to give it to (assistant) coach (Don) Stramaglia, he called it,” Valiga said of the 31-yard reception on third down. We’ve got so many weapons, it’s just whoever is having the biggest day.”

Lockport scored first when Jeremy Quade found Jon Zapotocny on a 21-yard TD pass on fourth down in the first quarter. Verble hit Valiga for 30-yard TD with 8:14 left in the first half to tie the game at 7-7. A 29-yard field goal by Drevko Martarano on the opening drive of the second half put the Porters in the lead at 10-7. Quade was 8-of-21 for 86 yards and added 71 yards rushing. Cam Credit finished with 11 carries for 115 yards for Lockport.

“It was our most complete game of the year,” Lockport coach Dan Starkey said. “But that’s no moral victory. We have to play better, we just shot ourselves in the foot.”

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