Avery Verble shows poise in Sandburg win

SHARE Avery Verble shows poise in Sandburg win
SHARE Avery Verble shows poise in Sandburg win

If Sandburg quarterback Avery Verble earned a shot at a start on opening night, he likely has the job permanently now after leading the Eagles to a 27-14 victory Friday over host Andrew.

The 6-2, 170-pound junior directed the Eagles with authority, completing 13-of-18 passes for 219 yards and one TD each to0 Lavelle Johnson and Adam Valiga.

Jim Robley and Josh Sheldberg had rushing scores for Sandburg, which improved to 1-1.

Bob Kman threw for 182 yards for Andrew (1-1).

Verble, who didn’t get the start in the season-opening loss to Lincoln-Way Central but was solid in a relief role, was told the morning after the 14-7 loss that he would get the nod against Andrew.

“I felt great,” Verble said. “The team played great and the offensive line blocked excellent.”

Verble had a couple of early hiccups, including fumbling after a shaky snap at the T-Bolts 25.

Things started coming together, though, on Sandburg’s third possession, which saw the Eagles go 70 yards in four plays, the big ones a 12-yard completion to Valiga and a 47-yard TD run by Robley (10 carries, 90 yards).

Verble showed his toughness by scrambling before throwing a 43-yard bomb to Johnson, the highlight in a 72-yard drive that culminated on a 1-yard run by Sheldberg.

Andrew, meanwhile, struggled to find an offense.

Running back Ben Devries had no significant rushes in the first half. Kman threw passes of 41 yards to A.J. Malzone and 19 to Kyle Lemonier, but the deepest penetration was the Sandburg 28.

“It was the coaches all week, the scheme they drew up and the way we executed, it all jelled,” Eagles linebacker Graham Hevel said. “It was a great job on defense.”

Verble drew Andrew’s defensive line offsides three times in the first half. He burned the T-Bolts secondary big-time with 6.7 seconds left in the half by spotting Johnson with a pass that he turned into a 48-yard score. Jonathan Milazzo’s third PAT made it 21-0.

Andrew had its first successful drive midway through the third quarter, going 39 yards in five plays, the finale a 25-yard pass from Kman to Malzone.

Sandburg’s response was quick, starting with a long kickoff return by Tamonte Brown and ending with a seven-yard touchdown flip from Verble to Valiga.

Andrew scored again with two minutes left.

“I expected our team not to give up,” Andrew coach David Connell said. “We have a bunch of kids that are going to fight to the end.

“Give Sandburg credit. They did a nice job taking our running back away and we didn’t execute, which hurt us, especially in the first half.”

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