Warriors crush Proviso East to move within one win of a conference title
A home win this Friday would give the Warriors their first conference crown since 1982
By Chris Fox LOMBARDIAN-VILLA PARK REVIEW STAFF REPORTER
The Willowbrook football team earned its sixth straight win by pounding Proviso East 57-12 in Friday’s West Suburban Gold Conference game in Villa Park. The Warriors, who held a 44-0 halftime lead over the winless Pirates, improved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play with one game left in the regular season. If Willowbrook beats Downers Grove South (4-4 overall, 4-1 conference) in this Friday’s conference game in Villa Park, it will finish alone atop the conference standings. The Warriors have never won or shared the West Suburban Gold Conference football championship. The team has finished second in the conference standings in four of the last five seasons. The Willowbrook program last won a conference football title 35 years ago, when it won the Des Plaines Valley League crown in 1982. “I think we were a little bit sloppy,” said Willowbrook coach Nick Hildreth after Friday’s victory. “We’re always prepping for who we’re playing, but we’re concentrating on getting better and being sharp. It wasn’t all bad. We did some things well, but we have to do better.” The Warriors drove 62 yards for a touchdown on their first drive of the night. Senior quarterback John Taylor scored on a 10-yard run with 10:40 left in the first quarter. Senior Betty-Ann Garrett, who made seven of eight extra-point attempts on the night, made the ensuing kick to give Willowbrook a 7-0 lead. The Warriors needed only one play to score on their next drive. Senior Chris Diaz busted a 66-yard touchdown run down the sideline to extend Willowbrook’s lead to 13-0 with 8:48 left in the first quarter. Later in the period, Taylor connected with junior Scott Tumilty on a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Warriors held a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The lead grew to 23-0 when the Pirates (0-8 overall, 0-5 in the conference) committed a holding penalty in the end zone, which resulted in a safety. Proviso East then punted to the Warriors, who soon scored their fourth touchdown of the night. A 27-yard pass from Taylor to senior Sikander Zafar moved the ball to the Pirates’ 2-yard-line. Senior Jack Jessen carried the ball over the goal line two plays later. Senior Christian Washington scored the Warriors’ next touchdown on a 2-yard run with less than three minutes to play in the first half. Taylor fired a touchdown pass of about 50 yards to senior Martique Barksdale with about one minute left in the half. That touchdown increased the lead to 43-0 and set up a running clock for the entire second half. Junior D’Onte Gholston returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to account for one of the Warriors’ second-half scores. Junior Franshun Jordan scored Willowbrook’s eighth and final touchdown on an interception return. In addition to giving the Warriors sole possession of the conference title, a win over Downers Grove South this Friday would improve the team’s seeding in the upcoming playoffs. “We really haven’t talked about it much,” said Hildreth of the team’s quest for a conference title. “Everything will kind of take care of itself. Our approach is the same every week. We’re trying to get better.”
Glenbard East earns its second win, outscoring West Chicago 43-22
The Rams earned their second win in three games when they traveled to West Chicago and beat the Wildcats 43-22 in Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference contest. Glenbard East improved to 2-6 overall and 2-2 in conference action. The Rams will complete the 2017 season with this Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley home game against Bartlett (also 2-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference). Glenbard East trailed West Chicago (2-6, 1-4) 16-7 after one quarter, but the Rams proceeded to score 36 straight points to take a 43-16 lead. Glenbard East seized a 29-16 edge by halftime. Junior quarterback Bret Bushka completed nine of 17 pass attempts for 235 yards and three touchdowns. Bushka also ran 13 times for 68 yards and a pair of scores. Senior receiver Kenny Adams made five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Adams scored the game’s opening touchdown on an 85-yard pass play in the first quarter. He scored the Rams’ next touchdown on a 46-yard reception from Bushka in the second quarter. Bushka delivered a short touchdown run in the second quarter. He also fired a 17-yard scoring strike to junior Jeremy Johnson. The Rams’ offense continued to produce points in the second half. Johnson ran 31 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Bushka scored the team’s final touchdown on a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter. Senior Jack Oberli matched Bushka as the team’s rushing leader; both Rams ran for 68 yards. Johnson gained 46 yards on five carries. The Wildcats held a 16-15 lead and had the ball inside the Rams’ 10-yard line in the second quarter, but Glenbard East senior nose tackle KeShawn Spencer forced a fumble. Senior defensive end Patrick Lyons recovered the fumble. The Rams then put together a drive that ended with Bushka’s short touchdown run. Junior linebacker Jack Baka of the Rams forced a fumble on West Chicago’s first possession of the second half. Senior linebacker Patrick Leahy recovered the loose ball at midfield. Glenbard East then drove for a score—Johnson’s 17-yard reception from Bushka.