Jaden Harmon, St. Charles North pick off seventh straight win, edge Glenbard North

St. Charles North junior Jaden Harmon

CAROL STREAM – Jaden Harmon wanted to quiet the critics.

The St. Charles North junior defensive back entered the Oct. 14 game against Glenbard North with a glaring omission on his resume – no interceptions.

Sporting a big smile, Harmon said his teammates were starting to let him know about the oversight.

“I had no picks going into this [game], even though I’ve had chances before but just didn’t get them,” Harmon said. “Going into this, I needed a pick because my teammates were getting on me about getting a pick.”

Harmon almost doubled his pleasure at Glenbard North.

Led by a strong rushing attack, a big play via the passing game and a stout defensive effort, the North Stars won their seventh straight game with a workmanlike 14-7 triumph over the Panthers.

Harmon stopped a potential scoring threat with an interception in the end zone with 6:29 left in the third quarter. He snared an interception at midfield early in the fourth quarter, but the play was nullified because of a roughing-the-passer penalty on the North Stars (7-1, 6-0 DuKane Conference).

Even so, Harmon was happy with his lone interception, which he returned 12 yards.

“It felt good,” Harmon said. “The first one was right to me. I was very excited about getting a pick. Our defense is really special and it’s great to be a part of it.”

And to be a big-time contributor to the defense, in the case of Harmon.

Because of the efforts of an opportunistic St. Charles North defense and hard running by the North Stars’ Drew Surges to close out the final drive of the game, the Panthers (3-5, 2-4) saw their playoff chances whittle away.

The North Stars’ defense equaled its success from last week’s 38-7 romp over rival St. Charles East. The Panthers’ lone scoring play came on a 15-yard run by do-it-all quarterback Justin Bland in the first quarter.

“Jaden Harmon is a junior who put himself out there and kept his head on and showed what he can do out there,” St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. “The kids are playing extremely hard on defense. They are diligent in their preparation and want to learn.”

The North Stars had a key fourth-down stop to end a Panthers potential scoring drive with seven minutes left at their own 33-yard line. Surges then put the offense on his back, carrying the ball 13 straight times before giving way to quarterback Ethan Plumb ending the game with victory formation on a 14-play, 7-minute drive.

Pomazak has become accustomed to watching Surges perform superhero-like efforts on the gridiron. But Pomazak said Surges’ performance Friday – a grind-it-out rushing display on the final drive that did not include a run of more than eight yards – was an impressive way to seal a victory.

“It’s 30 degrees outside, there’s rain and the ball was slick, so we wanted to ice the clock if we could,” Pomazak said. “Our coaches made a great adjustment at halftime and it worked. You have a great running back like Drew, a true all-state caliber type player. He just took it over from there, but the entire line and tight ends did an amazing job of pushing. We moved the chains.”

Surges made big plays throughout the game. He scored on a 37-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter to give the North Stars a 14-7 lead. The drive started with a successful onside kick by the North Stars to open the half.

Surges’ strong running on the final drive was even more impressive, even leading him to forgo a touchdown. The senior running back broke through the line for an apparent 5-yard touchdown, but he elected to slide before scoring the touchdown to let the clock run on his 13th consecutive rushing attempt. He was ruled down at the 1-yard line to set up Plumb’s victory formation kneel down. Zachary Priami caught a 65-yard touchdown from Plumb for the North Stars’ first touchdown in the opening quarter.

“I was looking at the clock the whole fourth quarter and wanted to run the clock and secure the game,” Surges said. “I wanted that second [touchdown] but I knew the situation, saw the end zone, but I wanted to win more than give them a shot to go down and score. It was a great game. It was a great adversity win that will help us in the playoffs in a close game. We came out firing in the second half. I have to credit my offensive line for opening up those big holes.”