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Grayslake-10/25/12, Fri./Grayslake North High School #3 Chris James, of Notre Dame with another huge run vs. Grayslake North. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Notre Dame junior running back Chris James had the type of game most football players only dream about during Friday night’s Class 6A first-round matchup at Grayslake North.
James had 47 carries for 323 yards — along with seven rushing touchdowns — as the 14th-seeded Dons stormed past the No. 3 Knights 46-27.
“I haven’t had a game like that in a long time, no ... not since grade school,” James said. “I know I’m capable of a night like this every time I go out on the field. I obviously know what our team’s capable of. I told our offensive line during the week that we were gonna have to lean on them coming into this game, because they (Grayslake North) have a really good defensive line.”
By halftime, James already had run the ball 27 times for 242 yards and five touchdowns, which propelled Notre Dame (6-4) to a 33-7 lead by intermission. The Knights (8-2) cut that advantage to just 12 midway through the fourth quarter, and were driving near midfield, but came no closer following a lost fumble.
Prior to Friday night’s win, the Dons had lost their opening round playoff game seven seasons in a row.
“Yeah, we definitely used that fact as motivation headed into this game,” Notre Dame senior quarterback Dan Nagode said. “I think we caught them off guard. Playing in the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference definitely prepares you for a game like this, too.”
It was the first playoff appearance in school history for Grayslake North, which was led by quarterback A.J. Fish (23-for-36 passing, 200 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown).