On Staff Appreciation Night, the Panthers came out with a purpose in light of the unexpected passing of science teacher Nicole Larsen. Senior quarterback Noah Parker led the Panthers to a 34-10 victory Friday night over the Plainfield North Tigers. The Panthers also received tons of help from stars seniors Charles Coleman and Jamal Fomby, as well as a new face to the scorebook, junior Jack Lemke.
The Tigers started out with the football, however. Plainfield North’s QB Eben Heine threw an interception to Josh Otten, which got the crowd and the Panther sideline into the game. The Panthers used this momentum to build their first drive inside the Tiger 30.
With the great field position, Parker moved the Panthers to the 15 yard line, where he completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Fomby, who would finish with 80 yards and a receiving touchdown.
The Tigers would answer back, as Heine led the Tigers inside the Panther 30 where he would complete a 27 yard pass to Enyi for a touchdown to tie the score at seven a piece.
The highlight of night belonged to Lemke. From the Panthers’ own 22-yard line, Parker dropped back and delivered a strike to Lemke running over the middle of field on a post route. He would blast past the Plainfield North secondary and waltz into the endzone for a 78-yard touchdown. Lemke would finish with those 78 receiving yards.
Oswego’s secondary forced another turnover, this in a form of an interception from Jett Weaver, a senior defensive back.
Coleman finally punched through into the endzone after a 44-yard run earlier in the drive down to the 18, where he eventually punched it in for an 18 yard score to make it 21-7.
Henie led his team down into field goal range, where Heine himself would convert a field goal opportunity. He would finish 1-3 on the night on FG attempts.
To open up the second half, Parker got another one of his 3 touchdowns on a 42-yard slip screen, making the score 28-10. Parker would finish 7-11 with 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Coleman added the icing on the cake with a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth to make it a 34-10 lead, which would be the final score. He finished with 132 yards and two touchdowns rushing, as well as 42 yards and one touchdown receiving.
Despite the score of the game, it was anything but clean. The Panthers committed 16 penalties for over 100 yards.
“We’ve got to fix this these penalties,” Panther Head Coach Brian Cooney said after the game. “It’s stressing me out.”
Cooney also gave praise to his senior quarterback.
“Noah is executing pretty darn well. He’s not forcing issues, he’s not trying to make plays where there aren’t plays,” Cooney said. “Noah’s doing everything we ask of him, inside the huddle and out…Tonight was his best game by far.”
The players even took notice to Parker’s big night.
“I feel like he did really good, honestly,” sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Emanuel said about Parker’s performance. “He was able to escape the pocket a few times and make some really good passes.”
The Panthers travel to Joliet West on Saturday to take on the Tigers at 1 p.m.
This is my third year as a part of 42Fifty. I have served as Sports Editor and Managing Editor prior to this year. I am the play by play announcer for underclassmen sports here at OHS, and the color commentator for the varsity football and both varsity basketball teams. I also announce for the NFHS Network throughout the football and basketball playoffs.