PALATINE – Tyson Moorer ran off the bench to line up at wide receiver as Palatine faced a third-and-6 ahead by just six points Aug. 26.
Moorer ran a deep post over the middle and looked up to see the ball headed in his direction.
The junior receiver looked it in and took off for a 54-yard touchdown to seal Palatine’s 26-14 victory over St. Charles North in both team’s season opener.
“He’s coming in off of the bench and he’s not a guy that you may be expecting to make the play in that situation,” Palatine coach Corey Olson said. “He does run deep routes extremely well and, yeah, [quarterback Grant Dersnah] put it on him and he made a play for us.”
Palatine (1-0) used the big play to its advantage a couple of times. Dersnah found Nate Branch on a double move down the right sideline early in the second quarter for an 83-yard catch and score.
Dersnah said he saw the North Stars’ defenders with tight coverage at the line of scrimmage a couple of times and knew if he gave his receivers a good throw that he liked their chances to make big plays.
“Nate and Tyson are just so fast,” said Dersnah, who finished the night completing 12 of 16 passes for 242 yards and two passing touchdowns. “[St. Charles North] was really pressing there on the back side. We truly didn’t know how much depth we would have tonight, especially at [wide receiver], so for those guys to step up and make two big plays like that is huge.”
Dersnah and Branch also had rushing touchdowns to help the Pirates to victory.
Despite falling behind 12-0 early, St. Charles North (0-1) fought back thanks to senior Drew Surges, who finished the night with 12 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. Surges also ran in a touchdown to get the North Stars within a score at 20-14 just before the end of the third quarter.
The score remained the same until Moorer’s big play midway through the final quarter.
North Stars coach Rob Pomazak knows his team needs to clean some things up, but it isn’t far away from being where he wants.
“If you look at it, we have a third-and-2 deep in their territory [in the fourth quarter], get a false start, then turn the ball over on downs,” Pomazak said. “Then, on their ensuing possession, they have a third-and-6 where we need a stop and let them hit it for a long touchdown. You can look at a lot of things that affected the outcome tonight, but those two plays really decided it for me.”
St. Charles North quarterback Ethan Plumb finished the night completing 25-of-39 pass attempts for 257 passing yards. The Palatine defense sacked Plumb four times, including two by senior defensive end Jaylen Williams.
Dersnah said the team always talks about being “Palatine tough,” and Williams echoed that the team did just that Friday night.
“The overall effort was great tonight,” Williams said. “We had a lot of people step up, a lot of people make plays and most importantly, we got the [win]. We had so many guys cramping up, battling injuries and facing adversity, but we powered through it. St. Charles North is a good team and that’s a great start to the season.”