St. Patrick's runs wild in win over Glenbard South

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St. Patrick's runs wild in win over Glenbard South

By Patrick Z. McGavin
SeasonPass.com

It is not very often a 300-yard rushing game becomes a footnote. Count Jeremy Molina among the skeptics. I didnt think it had a very good chance after seeing it in practice, the star junior Shamrocks running back said.

St. Patrick won its first state playoff game in eight years with a parlor game trick, a visual sleight of hand that turned a tight-game into a convincing 41-15 victory over Glenbard South in a first-round Class 6A state playoff game at Hanson.

St. Patrick (7-3), the eighth-seed, advances to meet top-seed Cary-Grove in second-round play.

With the Shamrocks up 14-9, receiver Steve Galiardo caught the second half kickoff at the 20-yard line, where he was immediately converged upon by five other Shamrock players. They formed a huddle and hid the ball.

As the Raiders return team converged on the bunched up group, St. Patrick broke out of the circle, with John Dabe carrying the ball. Dabe made one move and ran untouched 80-yards for the touchdown. St. Patrick had never attempted the play in a game before. Our special teams coaches came up with it, seeing something on film, St. Patrick coach Dan Galante said.

It really changed the momentum of the game, he said. Dabe scored two touchdowns in a 25-second second stretch dating to the end of the second quarter. His 16-yard touchdown catch from sophomore quarterback Zach Fuller (12 of 20, 169 yards) gave the Shamrocks the five-point halftime edge.

Molina was a force of nature. He gashed the Raiders for 302 yards on 32 carries. He scored touchdown runs of one, 13 and three yards. We really were excited to play, we put the pressure on the offensive line to come out and play today, Molina said. You have to give them credit. They created a lot of big holes. It was fun to run out there.

Glenbard South (6-4) stayed close for two and a half quarters. Following the kickoff return score, quarterback Alex Jeske threw a beautiful 65-yard touchdown pass to Clark Gary that pulled the Raiders within 20-15.

Behind Molina, the Shamrocks threw the hammer down. The kickoff return provided the spark, but Molinas pounding style proved to be the bread and butter. Galante challenged the Shamrocks to play up to their abilities in the second half. Even when teams have stacked the box against us, we have shown the ability to run the ball, he said. Its the straw that stirs the drink. I thought, in the second half, we came out and played our style of football.

After the Raiders score, Molina answered with a 37-yard burst that set up his own 13-yard touchdown run down the right sideline. His 22-yard run keyed his third touchdown.

I think we kind of underestimated Glenbard South in the first half, and thats probably why we were a little sluggish, Molina said.

Running back Matt Loos scored on a five-yard jaunt set up by running back Zach Smiths 43-yard halfback option pass to Justin Gjerazi that knotted the score at 7-7 early in the second quarter. Glenbard South took its only lead, 9-7, on a safety after St. Patrick snapped the ball out of the end zone late in the second quarter.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

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