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Olles eats up time for Palatine in first-round playoff win
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/30/2011 12:24 AM

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Palatine junior quarterback Ethan Olles was sacked just two times heading into Saturday afternoon's Class 8A state football playoff opener against visiting Proviso West.

The Panthers' front line managed to double that number on Saturday, twice sacking the Pirates' signalcaller.

"We apologized to him (Olles) after both of them," said senior offensive lineman Layne Kirch. "We want to make sure right away that he is settled and ready to go on."

"My linemen are so great," Olles said. "They show so much sympathy to me."

Olles sure didn't show sympathy to the Proviso West secondary.

He threw for 4 touchdown passes (three in the first quarter) two to senior Taylor Hall (6 and 22 yards) and two to classmate Cam Kuksa (21 and 36 yards) in a 28-7 victory.

The No. 3 seeded Pirates (9-1) advance to Saturday's second round and a return visit to No. 11 Glenbard North (7-3), which beat No. 6 Barrington 27-21. Palatine upset Glenbard North 28-14 in the first round last year.

As usual, before that game, there will be a Pirates' cook-out on Tuesday for the offensive line.

Olles' parents Mike and Janet appreciate the protection their son receives in the pocket and they've treated the big guys to some superb dining once a week this season.

"We think of our team as family and we want to protect our brother (Olles)," said Kirch, a two-year starter. "We think he's (Olles) best when he is settled so we work hard to protect him."

Hall now has 6 touchdown catches this season and Kuksa caught 7 passes for 124 yards.

"Ethan put the ball right where it had to be," Hall said. "Our O-line played great and it was a great play-calling."

In addition to his two TD receptions, Kuksa also had 2 interceptions, giving him five for the season. He returned the first one to the Panthers' 36, setting up Olles' first TD pass to Hall with 3:32 left in the first quarter.

"Cam is a competitor," said Pirates coach Tyler Donnelly, whose team has won nine straight games. "His first cousin is the starting right guard for Indianapolis. Cam has grown about six inches from 5-foot-5 to almost 6-foot now."

Kuksa gave credit to the defensive front (Julian Turner, Nick Novelli, Sam Miller, Andrew LaVeau, Cody Oversen and Josh Baldus) for making his job easier.

"It's just fun with everyone up front doing their job," he said. "We can sit back their and have fun. I was just reading their quarterback's eyes. We knew everything revolved around him (senior Quincy Cole) and they wanted the ball in his hands.

"Proviso West (5-5) came out in the second half with its back to the wall and played real hard. We just tried to execute the way we had to."

The Pirates defense, which lost standout linebacker Kurt Becker to a broken ankle in practice Wednesday, also got a big interception from Jessie Bobbit (sixth of the season). Cole threw a 15-yard TD pass to Craig Lottie with 1:29 left in the game.

"It wasn't our day," said Panthers coach Famous Hulbert. "We made a lot of errors. We got out-played. It's as simple as that.

"Palatine is a solid team. We had a rough week of practice and that was disappointing for this time of the season."