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Glenview Friday 9-7-12. Glenbrook South's WR #88 Cody Carroll. | Kevin Tanaka~for Sun-Times Media.
Glenbrook South entered this season with several question marks on offense after replacing all 11 offensive starters in the offseason.
The Titans, now 1-2, are still trying to answer some of those questions — why they committed 11 penalties on offense is the most pressing question after Friday’s 21-14 loss to Glenbrook North — but there are no questions about which Glenbrook South players can generate big plays.
Cody Carroll and Ose Ilenikhena, the team’s starting wide receivers, have established themselves as two equally dangerous big-play threats through three games. The pair has combined to score six touchdowns this season, and three of those scores have come on receptions longer than 40 yards.
Carroll made a clutch 43-yard yard touchdown reception against Glenbrook North to tie the game in the fourth quarter. The catch further solidified the junior’s position as the team’s steady, go-to player in tense situations.
“(Carroll) is our go-to guy,” said Glenbrook South coach Mike Noll. “He’s consistent. He makes plays when given the opportunity. He’s doing a really good job at getting better every week.”
Carroll’s emergence isn’t a surprise to the Titans because he played well in 7-on-7s this summer. But the 6-foot-2 junior’s production — he’s averaging 102.3 receiving yards per game — has surpassed expectations.
One of the reasons Carroll has experienced so much success this season is because he’s a precise route runner whose size allows him to attack the ball when it’s in the air. Another reason is because of the attention Ilenikhena draws on the other side of the field.
“Having us on both sides, it makes it easier on the coach because it’s just a hard matchup for any corners playing us,” said Ilenikhena, who scored two touchdowns in each of Glenbrook South’s first two games of the season.
Ilenikhena wasn’t able to replicate the success he experienced in the first two weeks against Glenbrook North. The 6-2 senior only caught one pass on Friday, but Carroll took advantage of the Spartans’ one-on-one coverage and caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to Carroll and Ilenikhena, junior Brett Laurie has become the team’s third big-play threat. Laurie has scored five touchdowns this season — three on offense — and as a cornerback and running back he has a unique perspective on what makes Ilenikhena so dangerous.
“He’s just incredible,” Laurie said of Ilenikhena after the Titans’ Week 2 victory over Metea Valley. “He’s getting a lot more consistent. He’s making a lot more big plays. He’s obviously one of the fastest players on the team and he’s catching the ball really well. He just runs great routes and it’s hard to match up against him. And then Cody’s on the other side. They’re two really good receivers.”
Noll and quarterback Max Cohen will try to get both players going at Maine East at 7:30 p.m. Friday. ~.